Mostly, the machine is working but when my Windows had a serious error and I tried to reload from the Toshiba supplied Recovery Disks it could not do so. In order to run the recovery, you need to bypass the HDD and boot from the externally attached CD, which is normally accomplished by holding down a hot key at power up. However, that is precisely the feature that the BIOS no longer supports, so I can still boot from the HDD and ONLY from the HDD, even if I change the boot priority.
I think this can be resolved if I can reflash the BIOS. However, the Toshiba provided installer will neither let you install an older version of the BIOS, nor will it permit a reflash the current one. When I try to reflash I get a message to the effect "This is version 1.6, and you already installed 1.6. Exiting." I cannot copy the installer to a CD and do a boottime flash because the corrupt BIOS will not allow a boot from the CD (normally you can hold down the key to the left of the space bar to cause a boot flash, but that is not working).
I am trying to determine the manufacturer of my BIOS at the moment (I will know for sure when I get the machine running well enought to run BIOSAgent), but I think it is an Intel chip with a Toshiba proprietary BIOS and not one of the more common ones. There is definitely no removable chip that I can update with a EEPROM burner as it looks like everything in this computer is surface mounted and soldered into place. So here is the question:
1. The BIOS file is supplied in a ".COM" format, named BIOFCF67.COM, which is normally installed with the Toshiba CHGBIOSA.EXE utility. However, since it won't allow a "reflash" is there another utility I can use to force a reflash using the same COM file, or am I just asking for a brick?
2. I can get this machine running by removing the HDD, installing it into another disk enclosure, and then formatting the drive to a bootable state with WIN98. Then I can copy the I386 install folder and get to a fresh version of XP. Then I need to install the Toshiba drivers one by one, the other utilties on the recovery disk, etc. I am pretty sure that that procedure will work, but albeit tedious as hell, but I still won't have a bootable device other than the HDD so if Windows goes bad again, I still will not be able to run the recovery. So, do I attempt to reflash or do I leave well enough alone and vow never to flash my BIOS again (especially from Windows!!!)? I realize Toshiba can replace the MB but this machine is five years old and it probably isn't a good investment. On the other hand, I cannot afford to brick this machine to an permanently inoperable state either.
Thoughts and advice will be greatly appreciated.