Last week, a co-worker of mine asked me to fix her little son’s laptop. It’s a pretty basic Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056, one of those common models you can find at Walmart for less than 400 bucks.
The problem was not that complicated – the Hard Drive was about to die, so she bought a brand-new Hard Drive online, and asked me to install it, and then re-install Windows 7. If you know what you’re doing, it’s pretty simple. You open the laptop, take out the old Hard Drive, install the new Hard Drive, Access the BIOS (or access the boot menu), set the BIOS to boot from the DVD drive, install Windows and you’re done.
So that’s exactly what I was about to do, but as soon as I installed the new Hard Drive and turned the laptop on, all I got was a black screen and a blinking cursor. There was nothing else on the screen, no “Access BIOS” option or Boot Menu. That’s weird. I tried to reset the BIOS by pulling out the CMOS battery, but it didn’t change a thing.
I then decided to plug in the old Hard Drive, and everything was perfect. I reset the computer, in order to access the BIOS, but I noticed that there is no option to access the BIOS (by pressing ESC, F2, F10, F12 whatever) even with the old Hard Drive connected.
After researching the web, I identified the problem: Toshiba, for some stupid reason, decided to allow access to the BIOS only from Windows (and from Windows you can set it to have regular access to the BIOS).
How to access The BIOS in Toshiba Satellite
Assuming you have Windows installed, run the Toshiba HWSetup (Stands for Toshiba Hardware Setup). This software comes pre-installed on Toshiba Satellite models. Finding this piece of tiny-yet-super-important software was so complicated in Toshiba’s support website, so I made your life easier and uploaded it to my server. You can download Toshiba HW Setup Utility here.
HWSetup provides a graphical front end for modifying BIOS settings within Windows, but also – contains the option to disable access to the BIOS (they call it fast boot). Once you install Toshiba HW Setup Utility on Windows, you can run the program, go to the “Boot Priority” Tab, Choose “Normal” in the “Boot” section, restart your computer and you’ll have an option to access the BIOS. Remember – if it’s set to “Fast” you have no option to access the BIOS.
Now I assume you have access to Windows. Otherwise, I don’t see any way you can change this setting outside Windows, but if you do, let me know and I’ll update the post.