Archive for the ‘PC’ Category

Resurrecting a Toshiba Satellite A60-217

About a month ago, my Toshiba Satellite A60-217 notebook had a big problem. When I turned it on, on the screen appeared some vertical gray lines with several flashing dots. I firstly though about a LCD monitor problem, but when I tried to boot in Windows and Linux my opinion changed: something weird happened to its RAM memory.

Firstly I removed the 512MB SODIMM memory expansion; I thought that if that was faulty, maybe the on-board memory could be still in good conditions to make the notebook working. But I was wrong: the gray lines were still be present on display, and so the boot was unsuccessful. My last trying was to remove all of the peripheral except for the DVDRW drive, and booting from a Knoppix DVD executing memtest-x86. It was a not so big surprise when memtest-x86 crashed. I was definitively convinced about on-board memory failure.

Now the question: what to do with a notebook that has on-board memory broken? At that time I had already changed the power supply since about one year (because the previous one died), the internal 2.5″ IDE hard disk (because the original was too small) and the DVDRW drive since a couple of month (also the original drive unexpectedly died). I didn’t want to spend money for a new notebook, as I spent a lot of money on it changing all of those stuff (and surely I won’t be able to use them in a new laptop).

So I Googled around a little bit, and found this web site. It was clearly explained that removing the on-board memory and placing a SODIMM module in the expansion slot will lead to fix the problem.

As I had nothing to loose on trying this solution, I found a way to open my laptop here.

Well, after some time spent opening the case, using a desoldering station at my workplace to remove chips, and some time again to reassemble my notebook, now I have a perfectly working Toshiba Satellite A60-217, with no more on-board defective RAM.

The only issue I found is this one: A60-217 model can only have 1.2GB of RAM; 1GB in the expansion slot and 256MB (fixed) on-board memory. Available memory is reduced by 64MB because that amount is reserved as video memory for the embedded graphic card. As I only had a 512MB memory expansion, before the failure I had 768MB-64MB=704MB of memory available; now I only have 512MB-64MB=448MB of RAM available. I’m thinking about buying a 1GB SODIMM expansion to increase available memory, but I have to look for a DDR PC2700 module, as it is the only kind of expansion supported by this notebook.

Making LightScribe work…

Today a friend of mine was trying to label a disk with LightScribe, but the drive did not show up in LightScribe control panel drive list.

After googling around, i found a couple of articles that reports how to turn LightScribe to work. You have to manually edit your registry, then the device will show up and you will be able to label your disk.

The key you have to modify is located into

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

and is named allocatecdroms. Put its value to 0 and you will see your drive working.

Why do you have to do so? Technical description of the key meaning is available on Microsoft TechNet website. Basically this item controls sharing of CDROM drives between current logged on user and other administrative PC’s users. If the value is 1, CDROMs are allocated privately for currently logged on user, and cannot be shared with other administrative users.As LightScribe runs with a service, logged with another account with administrative privileges, it won’t be able to access your drive. Putting 0 in this key allows LightScribe service to access your drive.

Remember: after changing the key you have to restart your PC (maybe you can also logoff and logon again without having to restart).