Toshiba Satellite A305-S6898 - Shuts off during OS install after drive failure

By sethbest
Jun 16, 2013
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  1. I got this laptop in for repairs recently, and it has been a very tricky one. I already told the client that I don't think it can be fixed, but my curiosity has driven me to keep working on it.

    This system came in unable to startup (freezes during startup or said no boot device present). I pulled the HDD out and scanned it from another computer. Sure enough every error check would freeze around 80%. Note that I said freeze, not display an error. I would have to end task to close the windows drive check. Chkdsk /r from command prompt resulted in the same, freezing partway through.

    Disk copy and clone software would also freeze partway. So I copied the users' files off manually and went to load a new HDD in the laptop. Every time the OS install disk would load there would be problems. Sometimes it would freeze during the "loading windows" screen of the windows 7 install. Sometimes it would get to the install process and freeze right after selecting the disk to use. Lately the most common problem is at variable points in the initial install loading process the system will just power cycle and restart.

    At this point I ran memtest and found no errors. Just the same I switched out the RAM and still it had problems. I tried multiple different OS install disks and set bios back to defaults. The problem persisted, never being able to install a new OS. I tried different hard drives, external dvd drive, and installing from a USB stick.

    Oddly enough half of my repair utilities simply won't load (things like seagate disk utilities, paragon, and acronis disk directors, either freezing or giving weird errors like "cd drive not present" or "memory not found".)

    The only thing that will run without freezing or restarting seems to be memtest 86 which makes me think it's not an overheating issue since this can run for hours.

    Frankly I'm stumped. It seems odd that the hard drive failed at the same time as whatever component is causing this problem, so I assume either coincidence or some sort of drive controller failure that caused damage to the drive as well as making the system freeze while loading most any volume.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

    Yeah, it may be a motherboard issue... Have you tried removing or resetting the CMOS battery?
  3. sethbest

    sethbest TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 167

    Have not yet tried that Tmagic, maybe I'll give it a whirl but I've pretty much given up on the system. I ran into the clients who dropped it off and asked the guy about the systems history and he went into some long explanation of how he had to short the battery (the power battery, not cmos) and disassemble it to do something. I figure he must have messed something up since I had no idea what he was talking about and I've been working on laptops for a decade.


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