Saturday, April 11, 2015

GSD Crowd Source Troubleshooting Flare: Toshiba Laptop Error


Over the past several weeks I’ve been assisting my uncle with troubleshooting a persistent issue on his laptop.

I’ve covered all the bases that I can think of so far and have arrived at the conclusion that we are facing a laptop system-board that has a failed or failing component. And that (for now) the failure appears to be non-critical.

Options I can think of for permanent repair would be system board replacement ($250 USD + labor) or upgrade to a new/used laptop platform.

But I’d really love to have some additional suggestions or thoughts from the faithful GSD readers to either correct my misdiagnosis and/or point us on the right track for additional troubleshooting.

The system is a Toshiba Satellite A215-S4757 laptop running Windows Vista.

Recently, my uncle reports that when booting, it presents the following error messages in the BIOS as it is coming up:


for the search robots

System Configuration Data updated
Resource Conflict – PCI Serial Bus Controller in slot 01
    Bus:1A, Device:04, Function:01
Resource Conflict – PCI Mass Storage Controller in slot 01
    Bus:1A, Device:04, Function:02
Resource Conflict – PCI Serial Bus Controller in slot 01
    Bus:1A, Device:04, Function:03

A search on the web found more than a few instances of similar issues by Toshiba laptop users but no clear solution:

The BIOS boot process can be resumed and eventually walked though to the desktop Vista loading.

Upon getting Windows loaded, Windows reports a driver issue with the “Memory Module” driver and is unsuccessful with getting one installed. My uncle reports there are also a few other device errors found in the Device Manager view but I’ve not been able to do a remote session to get them noted specifically. I think one he mentioned is for a multi flash-card reader component of the laptop.

We’ve run several memory tests (Windows and via LiveCD) that come back clean. The system has two 2GB DIMMS to bring it to max load of 4 GB. They have been reseated to no effect.

I also had him boot a Linux LiveCD that still saw the same errors during the BIOS boot but otherwise then loaded and operated OK.

The BIOS was flashed to the latest version available on the Toshiba product support page mentioned. No issues were encountered during the BIOS upgrade flash but the errors seen by the BIOS load persist.  The BIOS itself is very simple and a review of the photos he provided of the BIOS options don’t find any advanced options to fiddle with IRQ or PCI settings like the BIOS of my home-brew Shuttle-SFF system has.The settings I observed seem to be stock and normal for such a system.

The system can be booted on past the errors and seems to run “fine” otherwise once Vista loads…except for the device/driver errors that appear to be (for now) non-critical/fatal to system operation.

My uncle also may be having some other startup/autoruns issues due to previous software install issues, but I don’t think that those are related to the BIOS issue. They need to be addressed but are of a secondary level concern IMHO.

I’m pending a remote control session so I can explore his Vista device drivers some more and then assess his system hardware with the following tools to collect more information:

Note: I generally don’t like grant blanket trust to driver-update helper software and prefer to find my driver downloads direct from source. However, these type of tools may be useful for doing system scans for information gathering purposes and to see the possible hardware/drivers that I need to evaluate and then decide to apply on my own. Caution: Here be dragons.

My thoughts:

Since the BIOS was flashed successfully, I don’t believe the issue is with the BIOS/firmware code.

Since the error happens during the BIOS boot load, I believe it is detecting a hardware failure with the system board components.

I’ve not found yet a Toshiba laptop mode diagnostic boot disk like those Dell offers for its systems. Is one out there to test the hardware via Toshiba OEM support tools?

Because we are seeing the core errors before the Vista OS loads, I don’t believe the Vista OS is the problem…and that the driver/device errors are a consequence of the core hardware issue seen at the BIOS boot.

Please let me know if you can recommend any additional troubleshooting or diagnostic tips I can try when we get going on our remote-connect session.

If this was at work I’d be putting in a ticket for a system-board replacement with out vendor.  However the cost of replacing the motherboard outright on a home-user’s system – and the age of the system – it may be cheaper to pick up a new laptop and move on. I’m thinking the price point is going to be very close. But then again, there may be something obvious I am overlooking.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

--Claus Valca


FF Extension Guru said...

"Since the error happens during the BIOS boot load, I believe it is detecting a hardware failure with the system board components."

That would be my thoughts as well, especially when you noted that booting a Linux Live CD produced the same results which tells me it is not software related.

$250 + labor and tax to replace the component I suppose isn't too bad...provided nothing else goes (or is) wrong with the laptop. Toshiba makes a quality product, which is evident here being the system is 7-8 years old. Not knowing what he uses it for makes it difficult to judge if your better off getting an new laptop. Sounds like he doesn't do much if it is running Vista with 4 GB of RAM. I do know that 4 GB of RAM with Windows 7 as well Windows 8 works much better than 4 GB of RAM with Vista (having suffered with Vista for about 3 1/2 years).

Miles Wolbe said...

Hi Claus,

This question by ghostmut looks promising:

Hi all, my Acer Aspire 5570Z Laptop displays the following error at startup.
PhoenixBIOS 4.0 Release 6.1
Copyright 1985-2004 Phoenix Technologies Ltd.
All Rights Reserved
Resource Conflict - PCI on Motherboard
Bus:0A, Device:09, Function:00
Resource Conflict - PCI on Motherboard
Bus:0A, Device:09, Function:01
Resource Conflict - PCI on Mass Storage Controller on Motherboard
Bus:0A, Device:09, Function:02
Resource Conflict - PCI on Motherboard
Bus:0A, Device:09, Function:03
Press to resume, to Setup
Pressing F1 allows Windows to load fine. Device Manager reports that the CARDREADER is at Bus10 (which is 0A in hexadecimal) so maybe the cardreader has some damage. I'd like to know if I can fix this, by opening the laptop, pulling out the cardreader and seeing if there's any bent or broken wires or metal. Otherwise I'd like to remove the cardreader altogether in the hope that the "press f1" page doesn't keep appearing every time I turn on the computer or restart.

Check the Device Manager for what device is on (in your case) Bus 1A (26 in decimal).

Vinas de Andrade's reply to ghostmut may also contain a useful clue:

... I think that the problem is that the cardreader chip is not well glued to the motherboard, that's why it gives you that error. If you try pressing certain points of the computer while booting, it miraculously stops giving that conflict error. ...

Please let us know how you make out!



Claus said...

@ FF Guru - Thanks for the vote of confidence in the system! You are correct that the system seems to meet his needs (which aren't too demanding). I'm hoping that I can get some more detailed data on the motherboard itself with some of the tools I outlined. He is pretty confident might be able to trade out systemboards with a good guide. I need to be sure I get an exact match and try to get the part/serial # of the board itself for maximum compatibility.

I agree that we need to move up to Win 7 or 8.1 if possible. My bother and I are having that same exact battle with our father who is on an HP desktop system running Vista. He used Win 7 on a work laptop and is quite familiar with it, but as an ex-engineer...if Vista is stable and works...why go though the pain of an upgrade! I think we are going to plan a trip to visit him at the same time and just lock him out of his study and upgrade the system anyway.

Back to the Toshiba.

If we can get the system issue resolved, then I will be working with my uncle for at least a Win 7 upgrade as that would be more familiar...and set the stage for a Win 10 upgrade.

Thanks for the confirmation!

--Claus V.

Claus said...

@ Miles W. -- Brilliant find and suggestion.

My uncle had shared with me this observation during our troubleshooting via email that could align with that finding:

"Although I am able do most of the stuff on my computer. As indicated by Device Manager, the built in memory card reader (TI OHCI IEEE 1394 Controller) does no show up. Also even after using the manual option in Windows Defender to load "traybar" I get an error message that the built in web camera in not turned on but I do not know what to try to turn in on. There are probably other issues (as indicated in Device Manager) but not as obvious."

He goes on to note that while he cannot seem to manually get the web-cam hardware to launch, it will work when he launches Skype.

The Vista memory module driver reload action was distracting me...leading to the MemTest work that came back fine on the system DIMMS. However, if the memory card reader itself is being identified by Vista as a "memory module" hardware, that could also fit the problem root.

I'm going to need to see if I can locate a technician's service guide for the Toshiba system. I've had luck in the past for Compaq and Dell systems. Having that level of detailed info would help greatly.

We've been slowly working on this via email for almost two weeks and I now feel a renewed confidence heading into the remote session. I've got something specific to target.

I'll keep the post updated as we move forward!


--Claus V.

Attila-Mihaly Balazs said...

Just an observation: the error message talks about different PCI devices (serial bus and mass storage - this could the the SD/CF card reader), so I don't think it's a memory issue but rather an issue with those devices. Is the BIOS failing to detect them properly? Have some of the connectors on the motherboard been moved / oxidized? - just some wild thoughts.