So with the amount of side work I do fixing computers, it beneficial to start a new category here that I am going to call Workbench.
To kick this off, I had someone bring me a laptop that would not boot. A Toshiba Satellite P75-A7200. I started by observing its characteristics. A reboot loop after the Toshiba startup screen. This Toshiba screen tells me the hardware more or less is fine, however, after some plucking around with the Windows 10 recovery options, it became clear it wasn’t. The hard drive is failing.
This isn’t the first time I have seen. Toshiba have Hard Drive problems either. Last year I had two come to me with similar issues. Upon futher investigation they had the EXACT same hard drive.. Toshiba 750GB drives. Same model number too, however, who knows what it was, because I chucked those things as far as I could.
So what is it with these hard drives? They’re weird. As a matter of fact, I have noticed most ‘weird’ hard drives, or hard drives that do not double in size, typically have more issues than those who don’t, with few exceptions. 80GB drives are stable, 500GB drives are stable, but 750GB drives and 1.5TB/3TB/6TB drives, I personally wouldn’t touch them with a 10-foot pole. They scare me.
So the plan of attack to get this laptop back up and operational is this:
Get a new and better drive.
A lot of my hard drive stats come from Backblaze, who kindly enough share their data on failures and other info from brands such as HGST, Seagate and Western Digital. By having this data, I can usually identify the latest trends into which brands are more reliable. Based on the 2016 Q1 Data, I can put my money on HGST, which as a brand, had a single type of drive fail over 1.75% of the time, in contrast to Seagate at 9.63%, Toshiba at 8.63% and Western Digital Company at 12.57%. Thats pretty damn good if you ask me.
As a result, I will pick up a 1TB HGST 7200RPM 2.5″ SATA drive to replace the junk in there now.
Get repair media
Toshiba is really good about their recovery media. Its easy, and only costs about $40 for a USB drive with recovery software on it. If you don’t have one, I would go order one, just in case you ever need it. Mainly because if you own a computer at all, you should always have the software to start over from square one, within arms reach, at all times.
Reinstall Windows 8, and Upgrade
This laptop came with Windows 8, which like oddly jumping hard drive capacities, I hate it. Therefore, we will get this thing back on Windows 10 in no time at all.
Backup whats left of the hard drive
Any good PC Tech has a hard drive bay (like mine) to pop drives into after they have been removed. Simply plug the USB into the computer you are restoring, and start the copy. Chances are because of the dead sectors, or spots on the drive that are unable to hold data anymore, you may not get a complete restore. There really isn’t any kind of economical way to remedy this, so if it is important, give the owner the option to drop the bookoo bucks on restoring it from a place like Data Doctors, if its even possible.
Ideally this is the best and most affordable option to fix this laptop, and is pretty routine for someone like me. Hopefully this article helps you on your journey of working on the Workbench.