It can be very frustrating when you encounter a problem with your Toshiba Satellite laptop computer. Unfortunately, these specific Toshiba laptop models have a tendency to run into certain problems because of their design. On the plus side, computer technicians have pinpointed several of these issues, and they have troubleshooting information readily available to assist Toshiba Satellite owners. These are some common issues and solutions.
If the laptop shuts down randomly whenever you attempt to run different programs then it is usually happening due to an overheated laptop. This can occur because your heat sink is filled with dust, which affects the operation of the cooling fan. The heat leaving the processor gets trapped in your laptop resulting in overheating and shuts down. Purchase compressed air in a can and blow it either into the air intakes located on the bottom of the laptop or you can remove the keyboard to get to the cooling fan and blow the dust off. If this doesn't remedy the problem, you may need to replace your cooling fan; you should hear it start working when you boot up your laptop.
This problem is typically recognized upon start-up. If you see strange characters or lines of dots on your screen, this suggests defective on-board memory. To test for this problem you need to remove external RAM modules and download the Memtest 86+ utility and burn it to a disc (see Resources). You can then run the utility from the disc after restarting your computer. Unfortunately, if this is the problem you will have to replace the motherboard.
Power Jack Problem
Power jacks on these laptops have a known history of losing contact between the positive pin and the motherboard. You can diagnose this problem if you notice your laptop using battery power when the power adapter is still plugged in. To fix this problem you have to disassemble the laptop and take out the motherboard. You then have to solder the power jack (this should only be performed by those with laptop repair experience.)
Charging the Battery
If your laptop will not turn on when starting on battery power or the battery charge LED light doesn't light up when you plug it into the power outlet, the battery isn't properly charging. For Toshiba Satellites that only operate when they are plugged in, you need to download the latest BIOS for your Satellite model from the Toshiba website. Toshiba recommends you should use version 1.30 or newer (see Resources).