Comments on: What Toshiba Didn't Tell Me
REBOL Technologies

Comments on: What Toshiba Didn't Tell Me

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies

Article #0065
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A few months ago, I finally had to upgrade to a newer laptop. My Gateway Solo was fine for the year 2000, but for many tasks it had become too slow, and I was also nervous about upgrading it to XP, knowing the extra load XP puts on a system and not knowing where I might find the necessary Gateway laptop device drivers.

So, having owned a Toshiba laptop in the past, and having known for many years the good support history and quality of Toshiba products, I decided to go that route. I ended up with a Toshiba Satellite P35, which with its 17 inch display, 3.2 GHz CPU, and fast harddisk is a good choice for computer software professionals such as myself.

Now, I've owned a wide range of laptops since practically the day they were invented (a friend of mine at HP Labs created one of the very first, if not the first, laptop computer), but I've never found laptops to be productive for programming. There is something wrong with the configuration of the keyboard and the limited pointing devices (regardless of pad, stick, or wheel) that create subtle "stresses" that slow me down and interrupt the creative flow of juggling dozens of variables in your head while you write software.

When I got the Toshiba P35 I was pretty happy for the first month or so. It was very fast, the display was fabulous, the second display output was very handy for extending the desktop, and I could easily use my Logitech wireless ergonomic keyboard with it (a must for me).

But, after about a month the problems began. I noticed the machine was starting to slow down for various tasks. It just wasn't as crisp. Booting was taking longer and opening the web browser was taking several seconds rather than the blink of an eye it once did. That kind of thing bugs me for some reason. Maybe it's because I used to write assembly code where you get conditioned to make every cycle count. And, at 3.2 GHz, there should be plenty of cycles to go around. So, being the OS and language guy I am, I did what any good OS and language guy would do, I took a close look at the process list with the intent of doing some pruning.

When I opened the XP task manager, I was immediately horrified! There were 47 processes running before I had even opened an application. That is insane. And, if you think your desktop XP system has a lot of tasks, take a look at a Toshiba laptop. You can add at least a dozen other tasks to the mix.

I should back up a minute to clarify that there is nothing wrong with the concept of tasks running in the background. As the creator of one of the first multitasking operating systems for personal computers, I expect device drivers, file systems, and other important tasks to be running. Back in the 1980's I used to tell people that there should be at least 10-20 tasks running on any good PC OS. And, I also understand the merits of virtual memory demand paging, timeslicing, preemptive tasking, etc., etc.

As I've said, I'm also one of those people who really likes to optimize and tune my computer system's software environment. On prior versions of Windows I would trim down the process list by selectively removing startup and other processes and gain a corresponding boost in boot-time and speedy operation. With XP tuning became a lot more difficult, because XP injects more processes into the mix, but it was still possible.

But now, with the Toshiba laptop, pruning unnecessary processes is beginning to border on the impossible. Or, more accurately stated, become non-productive to those of us who have better things to do and cannot make tuning our PCs a full time job. I've tried removing a number of processes and uninstalling an assortment of packages that came pre-installed (I really wish that they would not do that!), but the system started to become "unstable" with some of those mysterious background processes crashing on startup and other odd behavior. So, I eventually restored the full crowd of processes and have basically given up, at least for now, on the goal of optimizing my environment.

This whole situation leads me to again ask some questions about the state of modern computing. It continues to grow unchecked in the direction of more complex design and overhead, not more intelligent design. For example, what happened to the concept of demand-launched processes (like Unix/Linux inetd servers) or time-launched processes (like Unix/Linux cron jobs)? Yes, I know they are still there under the hood, but why then do Microsoft, Toshiba, Symantec (aka Norton), and other vendors require modules like their update software to be memory resident? Wouldn't it be adequate to check for updates at regular periods? Why can't processes like Toshiba's configuration manager simply launch when I click the icon or other link to the program? There are numerous other examples.

I think the answer is a mixture of both marketing and poor programming. In Toshiba's defense, they are forced to preconfigure their systems to do anything and everything a user could possibly want or imagine; otherwise, many customers would not be happy. So, the second part of the answer becomes more relevant. Why can't the programmers design the software better? I have a hunch that they actually can, if they took a more holistic view of computing, which unfortunately they don't. For example, please don't launch a configuration manager (and all its related sub-tasks) unless I actually ask for it.

Yes, yes... I know I can wipe my disk and use the Toshiba CDROM to reinstall XP and perhaps, if I am very lucky, get a menu of optional software packages just like I might find on any vanilla distribution of Linux. But, again, who has the time? We all have more important things to do, don't we? For now, I'll just let those 47 processes run wild in the background, and I'll continue to be annoyed when the browser takes several seconds to launch on a 3.2 GHz CPU running a fast harddisk. It feels like I'm running on my old Gateway Solo again.



R Kirpalani
9-Sep-2006 15:27:56
I second this aritcle. Having same problems with Toshiba laptop with poor performance. I did complain to Toshiba (USA) about all the pre-installed applications, many of which were demonstration programs. They would not supply me with a virgin Windows XP disk - they told me that a this is a CUSTOM option - well how are customers supposed to know that??. I know Toshiba must make a lot of money to pre-install all these demonstration software - but they have gone too far. Stay away from Toshina. Oh and my sister bougth an IBM laptop, but it did not come with too many pre-installed software, but I was annoyed that they did not give her the Recovery disk! These companies get on my nerves!
Mark Bloom
16-Sep-2006 22:32:32
I purchased my Toshiba Satellite P35S629 in March 2005. I noticed that there was no recovery disk like on my earlier Sat. 2805.. So now I need to find the disk image from where they HID it and can't! I'd like to dump it out to dvd but am up sh*t creek w/o paddles. Help???
6-Oct-2006 15:06:15
You are so right, I had a Gateway and constantly was ending processes (very few in comparison to my Toshiba), I did not know how good I had it. My new Toshiba satellite is running many more processes way more than my gateway. In the interest of time I let them run too, but I am frustrated and constantly checking task manager. I appreciate your post at least now I know I am not the only one paying attention. One process in particular is svchost when I end one of the "system" processes it says NT Authority shut down in 59 seconds, it counts down. Do you know what this process is? One last point, when we consumers purchase these products and the corporations impose services or processes that violate our privacy we (meaning me too) should take a stand. They get away with this bull because we let them!
19-Nov-2006 11:51:47
I just bought a Toshiba Satellite M115. The laptop is good, but I have the same *&#(at) problem with the processes. There are 76 of them running already without me even having opened a single program. That has taken up more than the 512MB of RAM that I have. What a pain?

David Lloyd-Jones
31-Dec-2006 10:06:11
I'm pretty happy with my Satellite A-100, but am puzzled by the way it occasionally slows to a crawl for up to several minutes. Whassup?
3-Feb-2007 8:56:05
I think this problem is common to all computers... Including Mac at some level.. Let's hope vista resolves this (ya! right! Hard to believe, why improve now?) It's just a damn shame, that it's 2007 now, and we are dealing with this type of crap...and the systems are not getting any less complex. somebody (apple and micro crap) are not listening to their end users. Cuz if you surf the net, just like this article, the answers are here.. Anyway, that was a great article... now back to youtube to watch adds trashing all OS's.
26-Feb-2007 13:29:04
The first thing I discovered was that Toshiba had set the variable speed dual core processor speed to a max of 50% on my new A135-xxxx. Once I fixed that things seemed much faster.

Under Vista the Intel shared memory video screen winks at me occasionally. Has anyone else run into this issue?

9-Apr-2007 10:06
Wow. This sucks.
16-Aug-2007 12:28:16
My Toshiba is technically sound, but the software handling is slow and often programs bomb out. It's a real pisser ... I'm looking to upgrade.
Harshad Mark
3-Jan-2008 7:40:46
I'll never buy any Toshiba porduct!! I'm really fed up with the unncessary processes running on my machine and it requires lot of efforts to identify and remove the processes. It sucks :(.
10-Mar-2008 21:31:29
I suggest going back to XP. I'm pretty sure all of you who have new systems got them with Vista installed. The toughest part is finding drivers to go downward compatability to XP. I too went to Toshiba last year with a A135 566bus 1 Gig ram and of course Vista. Yes I called and made a request to have a restoration disk with XP instead of Vista and no such luck. They did say I could run XP but I need to get factory drivers for XP.

I'm not geeky but been computing for quite a few years now and have gone through all Windows opperating systems accept NT, 2000 and ME. Everytime computers get faster he writes (Uncle Bill that is) another OS, then he gives you more stuff with it so it's pretty much self sufficiant. Problem is I get faster computer with a more demanding OS and this makes no improvement in speed.

As for Toshiba and recovery disks. My A135 came with a set and I crashed my system to test a restore and had no problem.

JIM: I only get winked at during the startup screens. once I get the desktop and all tray items loaded I have no winks. Unless I run a program that requests a security acknowledment. I would love to know how you found that 50% CPU setting and changed it. That would be really nice.

As for running backgrounds. I did a search for speed up tricks and some places tell you in detail what and why you can stop running some of these processes or should I say services at boot time.

Thanks for listening.

Mr Bean
29-Jul-2008 7:18:38
I have several Toshiba products including TV's and a laptop computer and have always find there products well prices and to be good quality.

Toshiba W42WL58P is perfect for a HD ready TV and has a clear picture with quality sound and all the inputs you will need plus a easy to use remote control with cool looks

Unfortunately after 16 months of service my Toshiba went bang but I would still recommend the product and will get myself a new Toshiba HD TV in a few years time.

Warning about MediaMarkt & E-Care scam.

E-Care ref 538008

I Purchased the 42 inch Toshiba TV from MediaMarkt in Belgium and it went wrong so under the guarantee I asked for the TV to repaired and contacted E-Care in Antwerp who then picked the TV up some two weeks later.

After several more weeks I contacted E-Care who said they could not get the parts to repair the TV and would send a credit note to MediaMarkt so that I could go and get myself a new TV and since the credit note was ‘In the post’ and I had been without a TV for two months I paid a deposit for a new TV.

Day after day I contacted MediaMarkt to ask if the credit note had arrived so that I could pick my new TV up only to be told the credit note had not arrived and that they were chasing it up.

Today some ten weeks later I am still without a TV and have been told that the parts to fix the TV have arrived and I will be getting my old TV returned some time later this week.

Clearly E-Care and MediaMarkt have been telling Lies and using me as pig in the middle and have failed to provide a reasonable service in taking far too long to fix and return my TV and using deceit as a delaying tactic.

Does anyone know the legal position on this ?

I would avoid both companies unless you like being scammed like me.

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