Partitioning or restoring Toshiba A100 laptop

  Nosmas 21:25 09 Jul 2006

My wife has decided she would like a laptop, so after some research I have ordered a Toshiba Satellite Pro A100 Series, which is shortly due for delivery. During my research I discovered that like so many of today’s computers this system comes without a proper XP Home CD but instead has a Toshiba Recovery CD (to restore it to ‘factory condition’) which as well as the OS also includes a lot of drivers, utilities and other software.

I believe the A100 Series is a fairly recent addition to the Toshiba range, and this may explain why there seems to be a scarcity of technical information or questions from users. (I have Googled and searched Toshiba’s own support and forums web pages without success.) To ensure the safety of the data entered into the system, I would prefer to have a separate partition specifically to hold that data in the same way as I have organised my own desktop PC. My main concern is to find out whether the A100’s 60GB HDD is formatted as one large drive or if it is partitioned into two (or more) drives. Articles I have come across on the Internet indicate that in the past Toshiba’s Recovery CD’s have provided a means of creating a partition, but I have been unable to find out if this is the case with the A100 Series.

I do have a copy of Partition Magic v8.0 that I could use to achieve my objective, but this raises two queries: -

1. Would the use of this program have any effect upon the validity of the warranty?
2. If I did partition the HDD using PM would any subsequent need to use the Recovery CD cause any problems? I have read that some recovery CD’s perform a check to ensure that the HDD is ‘as it left the factory’ and refuse to function if that is not the case.

When the system arrives my wife will obviously be keen to use it, so I would like to sort out the above situation before the system is used. Does any reader have any first hand experience of the matters I have mentioned or can someone point me in the right direction to find the answers?

  ade.h 21:31 09 Jul 2006

If it is indeed a Recovery CD, then it will not contain the OS; it will instead access a hidden partition on which system installation files are stored. Personally, I would never buy a PC - particularly a laptop - without a full OEM copy of the OS.

To answer your questions:

1. Possibly.
2. Possibly.

  Nosmas 11:46 10 Jul 2006

Thanks for your reply. Whilst I agree with you that ideally a proper copy of the OS CD would be much better, I feel you will find it very difficult to find a manufacturer who does supply these. None of the advertisements for systems that I have read even mention whether the system comes with an OS CD or a recovery CD. I would be interested to know why you say "...particularly a laptop"

I have made some further enquiries and have now been told that the situation is as you describe - i.e. a hidden partition - but apparently it is possible to partition the HDD after burning to CD a copy of the hidden partition.

I have also discovered what appears to be a useful bit of information - click here - although the two links near the bottom do not appear to work.

Would appreciate advice, ideas or suggestions from other readers who may have had experience of using these recovery procedures.

  ade.h 14:18 10 Jul 2006

HP to name but one. My nx8220 has a full OEM copy of XP Pro, which has already been used for a clean installation.

I'd be cautious about burning a copy of that hidden partition to CD; we all know the potential for unreliability with CD-Rs, and with image backups also. Just a thought. Could you clone it to another hard-disk as well or instead?

  Spark6 14:34 10 Jul 2006

Nosmas, your questions are of interest to me because I purchased a Satellite Pro A100 last month. Mine came with XP Pro preinstalled and a Product Recovery CD and a User's Manual was provided. Needless to say I have not had reason to use, or even open, the recovery CD.

The following instructions, copied from the Manual, may be of interest to you:

Restoring the preinstalled software from the Product Recovery Media

If preinstalled files are damaged, use the Product Recovery Media to restore them. To restore the operating system and all preinstalled software, follow the steps below.

<When you reinstall the Windows operating system, the hard disk will be reformatted and all data will be lost.>

1. Load the Recovery Media in the optional optical media drive and turn off the computer's power.

2. Hold down the F12 key and turn on the power. When 'In Touch with Tomorrow TOSHIBA' appears, release the F12 key.

3. Use the cursor key to select the CD/DVD icon in the display menu. For details, refer to the Boot Priority section in chapter 7, HW Setup and Passwords of your online manual.

4. Follow the on-screen instructions.

5. If your computer came with additional software installed, this software can not be recovered from the Product Recovery Disk. Re-install these applications (e.g. Works Suite, DVD Player, Games, etc) separately from other media.

Restoring TOSHIBA utilities and drivers

If Windows is working properly, individual drivers or applications can be separately restored. The TOSHIBA Tools & Utilities folder (C:\TOOLSCD) contains drivers and applications, which are included with your computer system. If your system drivers or applications have become damaged in some way, you can reinstall most of the components from this folder.

Create a copy of this folder to an external media for more convenience.

Hope this helps!

P.S. No complaints to date. I have used Acronis True Image 9.0 to create an image of the current setup on an external USB2 disc.

  Nosmas 18:55 10 Jul 2006

Thanks for the warning and your good alternative suggestion. I am probably going to network the laptop with my desktop (in order to share printer, scanner and Internet access), so could clone the hidden partition to my desktop HDD. I also have an external HDD tho which I could also clone.

  Nosmas 19:05 10 Jul 2006

Many thanks for that helpful extract from the manual for your system. It rather looks though that Toshiba have changed the method of restoration. The method given in the link I posted this morning mentions two options "Recovery entire hard disk" or "Expert Recovery mode". The former seems to be the same as the quote from your manual, which doesn't mention the "Expert mode" which would enable creation of a partition.

Makes me wonder if Toshiba have done something similar to Dell as indicated in this article click here Do any other readers know if this is the case please?

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