Summary: 8 Most Asked Questions in Troubleshooting Toshiba Computers

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General Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting problems on your computer is simply a matter of narrowing down the area that may be causing you the trouble. You need to ask yourself some questions about what is happening with the computer. Writing down the answers may help you focus on the problem and can help our technical support specialists if you need to speak to them regarding your problem.

The first question that you should ask yourself is: What is different about my computer now than before I experienced this problem? or put another way, What did I last do to my computer before this happened? The most important thing to remember when narrowing down the trouble area is to remove as many variables from the problem as possible.

Some of your answers might be:
"I installed new software."
"I installed extra memory."
"I installed a new hardware device."

If you installed new software and now the computer isnt working the way it used to, call the manufacture of the software that you installed and explain to them that your computer was working fine until you loaded their software. Most software companies have support lines that will help you with their product. Like other hardware companies, Toshiba maybe unable to assist you with problems caused by software other than those pre-loaded by Toshiba on your computer.

You can often discover if the software is causing the problem by booting up with either a clean system disk or using the "bypass" option of MS-DOS version 6.0 or greater. Press the F8 key when the screen message "Starting MS-DOS" appears and you can bypass configuration files that might have been changed by the software program. You can answer Yes or No to loading up every device listed in your configuration as you are prompted for an answer. We suggest you only load the HIMEM.SYS file required for MS-Windows to run.

You can also boot the machine up in a clean fashion by using your Companion. Place that disk in your floppy drive and reboot the computer and hold down the F5 key. It will boot off of the Companion Diskette. Now see if the computer exhibits the problem. If you discover that the computer no longer exhibits the problem then work your way through the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files looking for the problem line. Contact the manufacture of the software or driver for further information.

If you installed a memory card or hardware device, make sure that it is firmly connected. Many problems are solved by disconnecting the device or memory card and reconnecting it, making sure it is properly installed. If you have installed a memory card, make sure you computer is turned off and remove the card and restart the computer. If the problem no longer exists, the memory card could have been improperly installed or maybe defective.

Some hardware devices are automatically detected by the computer at boot up time and assigned some of the system's resources. Some of these resources cannot be assigned to more than one device at a time and duplicate assignments may cause lockups of the system or other problems. An example is conflict between sound or network interface cards and other system hardware. If you just installed a new hardware device check its operations manual or call the manufacturer for assistance.

One final troubleshooting tip, the reset button. If you are experiencing an error condition and you power off the computer and power back on trying to force the unit out of the error and there appears to be no way to exit, try the reset button. The reset button is generally located near the power button and is inside a small hole. Press the button with a small object like a ball-point pen. Any data not previously saved will be lost. Pressing reset will reboot the system.

PC Card or PCMCIA

Most PCMCIA problems come from the installation of more than one card manager. Your Toshiba computer ships with Toshiba Card Manager preinstalled on the hard drive. This allows most of todays PCMCIA cards to be recognized by your computer without using the card software that may have been included with your PCMCIA card. For example most modem cards are recognized upon insertion. If you mistakenly installed another card manager this maybe causing your problems. You will need to uninstall that second card manager. Refer to the second card manager software documentation or call the card manufacturer on how to do this.

If you haven't installed another card manager and you are having problems recognizing and configuring your PCMCIA card, double click on the PCMWin Icon in the Toshiba Card Manager group within Windows or type PCM at the DOS prompt. The PCMCIA status window will appear. Use the "PgDn" key to locate the card that you have inserted into the computer. If a cards status is Configured, the card is ready to be used. Simply note any COM port, IRQ, or other settings assigned to the card, then proceed to use your application software to access the card. For example, if you are using a PCMCIA modem, your COM port setting will most likely be 2. Then, when using communication software, such as Procomm Plus, Winfax Pro, or EclipseFax, make sure your modem is setup at COM 2.

If your cards status is Unconfigured, configure the card by clicking on Configure at the top of the screen, or hold down the ALT key while pressing C. Select the option to Add the card to your list of available PCMCIA cards. Use the TAB key to adjust the memory and I/O address, and IRQ to your cards desired settings. For recommended settings, please check the documentation supplied with your card. When you are finished press "ENTER" or, in Windows, click on the OK button in the upper right corner.

You will be asked to validate the cards configuration. Press "ENTER" to validate. If an error occurs, the card will need to be reconfigured. The most common error message is, Unable to configure because Requested Memory Unavailable. This means that another device is currently using the memory you've assigned to your new PCMCIA card. Proceed to change the memory requirements for your new PCMCIA card and/or the conflicting device. You may need to contact the manufacture of your PCMCIA card for assistance.

When using PCMCIA cards that require memory, you should make sure that the memory range being used is excluded from use by other programs. This is done with the memory manager contained in your CONFIG.SYS file. To edit the CONFIG.SYS, simply type EDIT CONFIG.SYS and press "ENTER" at the C prompt. Within CONFIG.SYS is a line containing the memory manager, EMM386. At the end of this line, exclusions are made for areas of memory used by devices such as PCMCIA cards. For example, if you are using a PCMCIA network adapter that uses memory address D400 through D7FF, you would add X=D400-D7FF to the end of your EMM386 line. For further information on EMM386, see your MS-DOS manual or type HELP EMM386.EXE at the C prompt. Also, any changes that you make to your CONFIG.SYS file will not take effect until you save the changes and reboot the system.

If you are unable to configure your PCMCIA card, check the CARDS.TXT file located in the PCMPLUS3 directory, for a list of cards that are compatible with Toshiba Card Manager 3. If your card is not on the list, you may need to use the enabler software that came from the cards manufacturer. Before doing so, follow the directions in the REMOVE.TXT file in the PCMPLUS3 directory to remove Toshiba Card Manager from the computers current configuration. Then follow the directions included with your card soft-ware for installing the manufacturers enabler.

If you continue to have problems using your PCMCIA card, make sure the card has been properly inserted into the PCMCIA slot. Check your documentation for detailed instructions on inserting PCMCIA cards into your system.

Battery Usage And Tips

Your battery-operated Toshiba computer has a removable rechargeable battery pack. Before inserting or removing a battery pack, always turn the PC off and unplug it from the AC wall outlet.

Here are some tips on using and charging the battery pack in your Toshiba computer that will eliminate most battery problems.

Your computers battery can be charged in three ways:
First, to charge the battery in the computer, plug the computer into an AC wall outlet with the computer turned off. The battery status light or icon will glow orange while the battery is charging and green when the battery is fully charged. This method is called quick charge.

Second, many Toshiba PC models will also charge the battery while the PC is plugged into an AC wall outlet and turned on. You can then work on the computer while the battery charges. This charge method is slower because the primary power usage is for operating the PC, rather than for charging the battery. Check you computers Reference Manual to see if your PC model can charge this way.

Third, the battery pack can also be charged using an optional battery charger. This method charges the battery while it is not in the computer.

For optimal use, let the battery fully discharge before plugging the computer into an AC wall outlet and recharging the battery.

How long a battery charge lasts in your PC depends on how your PC is accessorized, your software usage, and whether or not you have enabled the power-saving features. For details on conserving battery power, refer to the chapter entitled POWER in your computers Reference Manual.

Your PCs battery gauge or audible battery alarm can tell you when your battery power is running low. Save your work at that time. When the battery completely discharges, the system automatically enables resume mode and powers off.

Your PCs main battery pack automatically charges the backup battery. As a result of this procedure, the backup battery draws about 10% - 15% of battery power from the main battery per day when the computer is left unplugged and not in use. Thus it is normal for a fully charged battery to discharge when not plugged into AC.

If you do experience difficulty in charging the battery, or if the battery capacity has decreased over time, try the following procedure which can re-condition the battery:
1. Unplug the computer from the AC adapter and turn it on. Let the computer run under battery power until the computer turns off, indicating that the battery is fully discharged.
2. Remove the battery pack.
3. Using a soft cloth, wipe off the battery packs connectors and the AC adapters connectors.
4. Re-insert the battery pack.
5. Plug the computer into the AC adapter and check the wall outlet, making sure the connection is firm.
6. With the PC turned off, let the battery charge until the battery status light or icon glows green.
7. Unplug the AC adapter.
8. Remove the battery.
9. Wait 30 seconds and re-insert the battery.
10. Plug the AC adapter back in.
11. Let the battery recharge until the battery status light turns green or the icon displays 100%.
12. Now your battery should be fully charged. Unplug the computer from the AC wall outlet and turn on the PC. You should notice longer battery life.

All batteries hold less charge as they age. Over time, if you attempt to charge a battery and the battery charge indicator does not show a full charge, you may need to purchase a new battery.

For more information on using your PCs battery, refer to the chapter entitled POWER in your computers Reference Manual.

If you would like to purchase an additional battery pack for a current PC model, call Toshiba Accessories at 800-959-4100 to order batteries for current or no longer manufactured PC models.

BallPoint Mouse Problems

The most common problem with this type of pointing device is dirty rollers. Dirty rollers will cause the mouse pointer on screen to behave erratically. The most common symptom of this condition is when the mouse ball is rolled in a particular direction the pointer or cursor on the screen doesnt move or moves to a point on the screen but no further. It often looks like the pointer hits an invisible wall. Although the pointer could and has gone past this wall it is now impossible or at least very hard to make the pointer go any further in that direction.

To correct this type of problem the BallPoint mouse itself needs to be cleaned. To do this you will need a lint free cotton cloth and some cleaning solution like isopropyl alcohol diluted with water or a glass cleaner.

First disconnect the mouse from the computer. Clean the contacts on both the computer and the mouse. To do this, use the cloth and carefully rub the gold contacts on the computer and the mouse which are little spring loaded gold pins.

Next, with your fingers, turn the ring around the ball counter clockwise to the left about a quarter of a turn. The ring will lift up as it is turned. Take the ring off and clean the underside of the ring with the cloth and set aside. Remove the ball by turning the mouse upside-down with your hand over the ball. Once the ball is out rub it clean with the cloth and set aside. Next hold the mouse upside-down in your hand and using the cloth wipe out the bowl shaped area that the ball came out of and you may also want to blow in that area after wiping clean. Now turn it right side up and look inside the bowl shaped area. You should see two small black rubber rollers on tiny black shafts. Gently scrape these rollers using your fingernail. Both rollers need to be gently scraped then turned then scraped all the way around each roller. From usage a crust develops on these rollers and causes the problems, so the cleaner they are the better the mouse ball can track or adhere to them. After cleaning the rollers turn the mouse upside-down and blow inside. Inspect the bowl shaped area for any other debris and clean as necessary. Once satisfied it is clean put the ball back in the mouse and place the ring around the ball and turn clockwise to the right until it fits back in place.

Cleaning the mouse will solve most problems, but there can be other sources of problems as well, such as bad, missing, corrupted, or incorrect mouse software drivers. Your computer was shipped with drivers installed. Drivers are needed to allow the programs you use, that can use a mouse, to be able to communicate with the mouse. If the driver is bad, missing, or corrupt generally the mouse cursor on the screen will not move at all. If the driver is incorrect the cursor on the screen may behave very erratically and jump all over the screen when the mouse ball is rolled. To fix any of these problems the correct mouse driver needs to be re-installed. To do this refer to the documentation that came with your computer.

If you perform these procedures and the mouse is still not functioning it may be a bad mouse and you should contact a Toshiba Authorized Service Provider.

DOS Upgrades

Your Toshiba computer came with MS-DOS 6.0, 6.2, 6.21, or 6.22 pre-installed. We recommend that for most uses the version of DOS on you system will work fine and that you do not change your version of DOS. If you want to purchase and install another version of DOS on your Toshiba computer you will need the Special Toshiba Enhancements for that DOS to operate properly. These special Toshiba enhancements allow Toshiba features such as resume, and battery power management to work. Currently we have Special Enhancements available for MS-DOS 6.0, 6.2, 6.21, and 6.22. You can acquire them through the Toshiba Electronic Bulletin Board System, CompuServe, or Toshiba Accessories. The Toshiba BBS phone number is (714) 837-4408. On CompuServe, type GO Toshiba. To order them through Toshiba Accessories, call (800) 959-4100.

To install a full version of MS-DOS 6.0, 6.2, 6.21, or 6.22 on your Toshiba system, follow the installation instructions provided by Microsoft, then install the corresponding Toshiba Special Enhancements.

To Upgrade from MS-DOS 6.0, 6.2, or 6.21 to a newer version, you must first remove the current Toshiba Special Enhancements from the system. Then perform the upgrade, following the directions given by Microsoft. Then install the corresponding Toshiba Special Enhancements.

To remove the Special Enhancements, install the Special Enhancements disk for that version of DOS, type A:SETUP at a DOS prompt, then press "ENTER" selecting Un-install Toshiba Special Enhancements.

To install Special Enhancements, insert the Toshiba Special Enhancements disk for the desired version of DOS, type A:SETUP at a DOS prompt, then press "ENTER" selecting Install Toshiba Special Enhancements.

Problems Connecting To Networks

The most common problem is the configuration of the network card. If you are using a PCMCIA card please also listen to the selection on this system for PCMCIA. Regarding specific network PCMCIA cards, check the CARDS.TXT file in the PCMPLUS3 subdirectory. This will give you the appropriate memory addresses, interrupts, and I/O address for your card. If your card is not on the list, check the documentation that shipped with the network card for information. Verify that you have added the memory exclusion to the EMM386 line in the CONFIG.SYS file. The next step would be to configure the network in the PCM setup. To do this type PCM at the DOS prompt. hold down the ALT key and press the letter C, then choose EDIT CONFIG PARAMETERS. Fill in the information you found in the CARDS.TXT file. When you are done press "ENTER", answer YES to validate and answer YES to save.

Next check the NET.CFG or PROTOCOL.INI and verify that the information matches the PCM information and reboot. Once your card is configured check the network software documentation for the appropriate drivers for your type of network. If you are setting up Windows for Workgroups network please refer to our Autofax document # 98000.

Resume Mode

If your computer is experiencing resume mode problems here are some tips:
If your computer was in the Resume Mode and is now not responding to keyboard input. You will have to reset the computer. Any data not previously saved will be lost. The reset button is generally located near the power button and in a small hole. Access the inside of the hole with a ballpoint pen. Resetting fully reboots the system.

Make sure the back up battery is charged. Do this by plugging in the AC Adapter, turning off the computer and charging the main battery to 100%. The main battery will now charge the backup battery. This can be done by turning the computer on with the AC/Adapter and the main battery installed and leaving it on and plugged in for 24 hours. Make sure the computer is in the boot mode. You may use the computer during this time, but do not turn off the computer.

If you upgraded your DOS version and do not use the Toshiba Enhancement you will have resume problems. You can check to see if you are presently using Toshibas Enhancements by: Typing in CD\DOS and pressing "ENTER". Then type in EMM386.EXE and "ENTER". If Toshiba enhancements are installed the display will read, Toshiba Extended Memory Manager 386 with a version number. If you need to obtain the Enhancement disk contact Toshiba Accessories at (800) 959-4100. You may also download this file from Toshibas BBS (714) 837-4408.

Verify that you are using the Toshiba memory manager. You can check this by editing your CONFIG.SYS and checking to see if the DEVICE=C:\DOS\EMM386.EXE is installed. See your RECONFIGURATION manual to see how to edit your CONFIG.SYS. Using a third party memory manager, such as Qemm, 386MAX may cause resume problems.

If you are experiencing RESUME problems with a PCMCIA card, verify that DEVICE=C:\DOS\POWER.EXE is in the CONFIG.SYS file. If you have a T1900, T4500 or a T4600 you will also have to add DEVICE =C:\DOS\APM.SYS as the first line. If your computer does not contain the APM.SYS file you may copy it from your Companion disk or Download it from our BBS at (714) 837-4408. See your reconfiguration Guide on how to modify your CONFIG.SYS.

Verify that you have the computer set for MS-DOS System with APM in the Windows environment. To check this completely exit Windows and run setup from the Windows sub-directory.

If you have an extra memory card installed, place the machine in the Boot mode, turn the computer off and remove the card. Test resume.

If you are experiencing mouse problems in the resume mode reinstall the mouse driver.

Making or Acquiring Backups of Pre-Loaded Software

To make an original copy of the software shipped with your Toshiba computer use the Master Diskette Creator utility supplied with your computer. This utility makes actual program disks of the software. Information on this program is located in the documentation provided with your computer.

Here are some common questions regarding diskettes:
I did not make my program disks, can I still run the Master Disk Creator?
   Yes, refer to your Reference manual and or Getting Started manual.

I formatted my drive before making my program disks.
   You can order the program disks for a nominal charge through Toshibas disk fulfillment center at (800) 276-3238.

Id rather order the program disks for my computer instead of using the Master Disk Creator.
   You can order the program disks for a nominal charge through Toshibas disk fulfillment center at (800) 276-3238.

I am having problems or error messages appear while running the Master Disk Creator.

To verify that the Master Disk Creator program is working properly try running from DOS these steps:
   Re-boot your computer and immediately press and hold the left-shift key.
   At the C:\ DOS prompt type CD\IMG then press "ENTER".
   Once the computer is in the IMG directory type MDC then press "ENTER". You now can run the Master Disk Creator program from DOS instead of Windows.

If you are still having problems boot your system clean by using the companion disk which came with your computer. To do this place the Companion Disk in your floppy drive and then re-boot your computer. Log onto drive C: by pressing C: then "ENTER". Type CD\IMG then press "ENTER".

Once the computer is in the IMG directory type MDC then press "ENTER". Now run the Master Disk Creator program.

The Master Disk Creator program seems to be working, but I am getting error messages in reference to my floppy drive. Some things to check are:
1. Check that the write protect switch on the diskette is in the closed position.
2. The floppy diskette that you are using may be bad or has bad sectors. Try a new diskette.
3. The diskettes you are using should be 1.44MB diskettes not 720k.