Fixing an over-sleepy Toshiba Portege M400 running Vista

Long-term readers may recall my experiments with Vista on a Toshiba Portege M400 Tablet. Since then I’ve kept the drivers up to date as new versions appeared. The machine is stickered “Windows Vista Capable.”

It’s been OK though the annoying problem with the machine not waking from sleep persisted. Although this may sound a minor issue, it is really not good, as you can lose data. By default the laptop sleeps after a fairly short interval of non-use. I set it to hibernate instead, which works, but waking from hibernation is slower. The symptom of the sleep problem is that when you try to resume, the machine seems to start up but the screen stays blank. It’s a known issue on several Toshiba machines, and sometimes fixable by twisting the display, or toggling the display on and off, but I found that often did not work. On one occasion when trying to resume from sleep, the screen stayed dark but the CPU fan went into overdrive, making such a racket that heads turned at the conference where I was taking notes. Embarrassing.

Of course I wanted to fix the problem. Updating BIOS and drivers didn’t seem to make any difference, but I found this tech note on Toshiba’s US site, which refers to “Blank screen after waking from standby state” and says:

A firmware upgrade for a component on the computer’s main circuit board corrects this problem. This upgrade must be performed by a Toshiba Authorized Service Provider (ASP).

I called support but the UK folk denied all knowledge of the fix, and when I referred to the tech note, said that it probably would not apply to a UK machine (though I’m doubtful that there is much difference). To be fair, my local Toshiba service centre did offer to look at it, but I was busy and didn’t want to hand over the machine immediately.

Two other things happened which forced my hand. First, the FireWire port became unreliable. Second, someone knocked the machine off a coffee table, and when it fell on the carpet part of the base snapped off, leaving a jagged edge. Ouch.

I sent the machine away for a new base, adding that I would also like the FireWire and resume problems fixed under warranty. I paid for the base, of course, but Toshiba honoured the warranty on the FireWire problem, which fortunately I’d reported before the accidental damage.

No word about the resume issue, but the engineer decided that fixing the FireWire port required a new motherboard. Got the machine back, and guess what? No resume problem. So far, it wakes from sleep perfectly. I know this is nothing to do with drivers, because I removed the drive with Vista on it before sending the machine away, and refitted it on return with no changes.

I didn’t enjoy the damage to my expensive laptop, but it’s good to have it working properly with Vista.

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3 thoughts on “Fixing an over-sleepy Toshiba Portege M400 running Vista”

  1. There was a similar problem under XP which turned out to be a display driver. Getting it working under Vista seems even more worrying now that it looks like some motherboard change is required and is work that must be done by a service centre. Not good.

    I’m left wondering if I’m going to suffer the same fate when I eventually upgrade to Vista. Need to be productive at the moment so will stick with XP :-P.

    Tim, how old is your M400?

  2. Tim, how old is your M400?

    I got the M400 in October 2006. However, since the motherboard has been changed, it could now be considered a 2007 model, I guess.


  3. hi…
    my problem is with toshiba portege laptop…its a new device i never seen befor …its have a model (toshiba portege R750) i never find a model like this ..any way the problem is :
    it was work with vista os after a few days a problem happen with vista its cannot botting so this pushed me to try reformat it but there is not cd drive in it and no floppy too ..all i have just usb ports…tried to boot by an external bootable hard drive and tried with bootable flash stick but its cannt find them …tried to inter the biose but its hard press all possible bottoms that can lead me intoe baios system ,,,no one work …even i tried all keyboard bottoms …all i have when i power it on five icons arrangend like:
    hard drive cddrive floppy pc to pc lane card

    thats all i see on screen ….if i never press F2 this icons will disappear then show this:
    Intle(R) Boot Agent Version 4.1.03
    copyright(c) 1997-2002 Intel corporation
    PXE-E61 Media test failure, check cable

    pleas if any device to help can send it on mail

    thanks alot

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