Help with Fixing CD Drive and OS Problem - Toshiba 460CDT

edited August 2017 in Hardware
Hi all

I would like to ask for some advice on how to restore a 19 year old Toshiba 460CDT laptop. Although it spins up when I first insert a CD, none of the software recognises that the CD drive hardware is present (or the USB port). The command line says "Not ready reading from drive <letter>". This means I can't install Windows because I only have Windows 95 and 98 on a CD. WinWorld's library files for the floppy versions of these operating systems contain corrupt disks (as of a few months ago). When I copy the installation files from the CD to the hard drive using another computer, Windows 98 and 98SE always freeze at the end of the installation, Windows 95 doesn't include the correct driver for the screen and nor can I find it online. When I first received this laptop, Linux was installed with the Linux CD still in the CD drive. I don't know the login details but I haven't wiped that hard drive. Miraculously, the main battery still works.

I have tried
  • Swapping the CD drive for the identical CD drive from a broken Toshiba 220CDS - same problem.
  • Swapping the internal circuit board that connects to the USB, CD drive etc - the laptop wouldn't start until I swapped it back.
  • Swapping the ribbon cable and plug leading to the CD drive - same problem.
  • Putting the floppy drive into the CD drive's port - the floppy drive worked but it uses less pins. The CD drive doesn't fit into the floppy drive's usual port.
  • Changing some BIOS settings - same problem.
  • Using a hard drive with the 220CDS's original installation of Windows 95 - the screen worked up to the limitations of the 220CDS's inferior screen but the operating system (Windows 95) didn't detect the CD drive at all.
  • Installing Windows 98 on a Toshiba 4000CDS and swapping the hard drive into the 460CDT. The CD drive and USB port aren't recognised (like they don't exist) and the screen still looks terrible without the right driver loaded during the installation.

Even if I sort out the screen driver problem, I would still like to have the CD drive and USB port working too. I'm not interested in any operating systems newer than Windows 98 SE because newer operating systems started to lose the DOS program compatibility and I already have computers running newer operating systems.

If it is any help with this restoration, I have
  • A fully functioning Toshiba 4000CDS running Windows 98 First Edition (not the original installation).
  • A broken Toshiba 220CDS that is beyond repair and I can salvage parts from it. I have its original Windows 95 installation.
  • An IDE hard drive to USB adaptor.
  • Modern Windows computers.

Thanks for the library of software and thanks in advance for any help.

I'm not really sure if this should be in the hardware or software section because the problem might be caused by either. Please move this post if required.


  • Try redownloading WinWorld's floppy images and see what you get.

    You said that the floppy images were corrupt as of a few months ago. Things may have changed since then.
  • Hi Erito17

    I redownloaded the Windows 98 First Edition floppies yesterday. The boot disk and disk 1 are fine. Disks 2 and 3 are both corrupt; Last time I tried two different disk writing programs and neither of them recognised the disk files as valid. I tried DiskWrite this time. That's as far as I went because I'd require the entire set. Are there any disk writing programs that you'd recommend? Note that I don't currently have a USB floppy drive and I was using the Toshiba 4000CDS to write to the floppies. I've also had issues with 7-zip in the past so maybe that is a part of the problem. Thanks for the idea.

    I see minimal need to get the floppy version of Windows 95 working because I successfully installed it by copying the CD files to the hard drive. Please correct me if I'm wrong. The screen driver, USB port and CD drive were the problem.

    If anyone has any other ideas, please tell me even if you think it's unlikely to work. It can't hurt to try and it might happen to be the solution.
  • The floppy disk images after disk 1 are in Microsoft DMF format. Many disk writers do not handle that format. Typically WinImage should be used to write such DMF images. Note that USB floppy drives do not support DMF.

    If you REALLY can't get the CD drive to work, then it might be less of a headache to attach a serial nullmodem cable and transfer them over with something like Laplink.
  • Thanks SomeGuy

    Unfortunately, my USB to IDE adaptor seems to be mostly dead. Four out of five hard drives didn't show up as removable disks. I think I killed it by inserting IDE hard drives with bent pins. The hard drive that worked is one that had some slightly bent pins. I then straightened its pins and now it intermittently works. I think I was using this adaptor to do similar tasks to Laplink (haven't heard of Laplink so I quickly looked it up). I used this adaptor for cloning, quickly managing partitions, wiping hard drives and transferring files to the 460CDT. It was a very useful thing to have. While this is a pain, I'm glad I damaged the adaptor and not a laptop!

    Ultimately, I want to have the CD drive working but any workarounds to get Windows 98 installed are a step in the right direction. Once I have it up and running again, I might buy myself a USB PC card to replace the non-working built-in USB port.

    I'll order myself a new adaptor and continue troubleshooting when it arrives. I'll post here when that happens and try out any ideas that come up including SomeGuy's WinImage suggestion.
  • While waiting for the new adaptor to arrive, I went ahead and tried WinImage. It did the job nicely, thanks SomeGuy! Are there any free disk writers that support Microsoft DMF format? WinImage has a trial that will expire in 30 days. I inserted a hard drive that already had Windows 98 installed in order to do this. The screen was still terrible but the USB is working. I think the USB might have been fine all along but it is difficult to insert some USB devices due to the USB port being positioned so far behind the laptop's outer casing.

    That's where my luck ran out. The Windows 98 installation using floppy disks hung at the same point as when I tried to install it by copying the CD files to the hard drive. It's right at the end of the installation after the laptop has restarted. The screen says:
    TOSHIBA Video Bios V2.00
    Copyright (C) 1996 Chips and Technologies.Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    Please wait while Setup updates your configuration files.
    This may take a few minutes...

    Completed updating files, continuing to load Windows...
    <end of the text on the screen>

    I left it for an hour and nothing happened.

    I happened to run into a work colleague who is happy to help me with this restoration. He thinks the CD drive problem might be due to some sort of missing driver that needs to be loaded before the operating system so that the CD drive will work. The fact that the laptop was running Linux made him think this was even more likely, combined with the fact that a second identical CD drive did the same thing. Could the inability to install Windows 98 be related to drivers too?
  • When setup 1st starts, it asks if you want CD-Rom Support. As your CD drive isn't working, have you tried to install w98 without CD-Rom support so the setup doesn't look for it and hang-up?
  • I tried to install with CD support.
  • Following some advice from BigCJ here
    I ran sysedit and found that the 460CDT's CONFIG.SYS file is empty. I then checked the CONFIG.SYS file on the working 4000CDS and it seems to be empty too.

    I will continue to do my research because I am young and I haven't had the exposure to older systems. I am fascinated by them and I get the sense that I missed out on seeing a time when technology was evolving much more rapidly.
  • edited February 2018

    I have been meaning to update this thread because the 460CDT restoration was eventually successful. This is my favourite laptop that I've restored so far.

    I had someone else offer to help me so I brought this laptop and a few other parts around to his house and we set to work. My modern CD drive that I use for writing CDs started malfunctioning and it no longer writes to rewritable CDs so I had to use a single-write CD. I also only brought a limited number of hard drives with me and we had to use the 4000CDS's original hard drive. Miraculously, I was able to successfully install Windows 98SE. When I brought the laptop back home, I tried again with a quieter hard drive and the installation hung again as usual. I used a USB to IDE adaptor and realised that the laptop had only formatted 7.87 GB of the 20 GB hard drive despite me telling it to format the whole thing. That's when it occurred to me that the hanging might be due to the hard drive capacity being too large.

    Final diagnosis for the 460CDT's problems:

    • The C drive partition can't be larger than 7.87 GB
    • The total hard drive capacity can't be too large. 20 GB works but 40 GB doesn't.
    • The CD drive can't read rewritable CDs. The BIOS was correctly set up the whole time.

    My next question:

    How do I get the sound working with DOS games? Windows 98 has loaded a "YAMAHA OPL3-SAx WDM Driver" sound driver and the sound works from within Windows. I believe the OPL3 is ad-lib compatible but I can't get it working with DOS programs. I've tried using two drivers that were available online along with the Tetris Classic DOS game because it supports so many different sound cards. The game is (and has always been) able to use the speakers to produce the single-tone PC speaker sounds using the first sound card option that it lists. I think it should be able to recognise the ad-lib sound card and produce much better sound than that. Lemmings is silent on the 4000CDS on which Windows loaded the same YAMAHA sound driver. One driver that I downloaded caused the game to recognise that there was no sound card present unless I chose the first option so it didn't help at all. The other driver messed up the Windows installation, causing several errors during startup. I've reinstalled Windows now.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas on how to get the sound working in DOS.

  • The DOS sound is definitely a software problem. I had someone else try a few things and he found that if you press F8 while the system is booting, it is possible to start with the command prompt only. The sound worked when launching the DOS programs this way but the mouse doesn't work.

    I then continued investigating and found that the DOS sound works when I start Windows in safe mode. The mouse works in safe mode so this isn't a bad solution. Correct me if I am wrong but it seems that the DOS programs don't rely on the Windows drivers for the hardware. They seem to run the screen without safe mode's 16 colour limitation and the sound works despite there being no Windows sound in safe mode. I don't understand how the DOS programs use the mouse though. It's a PS2 mouse but I don't have an old and simple USB mouse to try at the moment to see if it works too.

    For testing purposes, I tried more DOS games and found that the bahaviour varies from one to another. Tetris Classic and Atomino only have sound when I use safe mode or the command prompt although I can use Tetris Classic's PC speaker setting to produce single tones even when starting Windows normally. Skyroads and ZZT have sound regardless of whether I start Windows normally. Doom II has sound effects but no music when I start Windows normally and it has music but no sound effects when I use safe mode. I haven't tried changing its settings.

  • At this point you should just try OS/2...

  • edited April 2018

    It seems that the cooling fan has stopped working. A few weeks ago, I was running this in safe mode and it was getting warm (as usual) but the fan didn't come on and it continued to get really hot. I decided to restart the laptop in normal Windows mode in case the fan just doesn't work in safe mode. I could faintly smell ozone (ozone is the smell of a photocopier in a small room). It shut down normally but wouldn't turn on again. The charging light flashed which should mean the charger is bad. It continued flashing when I removed the charger so I removed the main battery to make it stop. I let the laptop cool down for 30 minutes and then it turned on normally again (phew). Since then, I think I have heard the cooling fan turn on once but the speakers were making sound at the time so I am not 100% sure. Now the laptop just seems to warm up without the fan coming on. I always turn the laptop off before it gets as hot as when it wouldn't turn on. The ambient temperature in the room has been much lower since then too.

    Any ideas why the cooling fan seems to have stopped coming on? It hasn't jammed because it spins when I blow into it.

    I'm not sure what to do about this. If it is as simple as a dud fan then I can pull the 460CDT apart and check if the spare in the 220CDS is compatible. Is it likely to be a dud fan? I don't really want to pull it apart unless the repair is likely to work because I risk damaging something. Another possibility is that it can no longer detect its own temperature. In that case, I don't want to tamper with it and I'll get it professionally repaired. It's worth it when you consider how much use I get out of this. If it can't be repaired then I'll figure out my own way of mounting an additional fan to the outside of the case to create the required airflow.

    If you know of any common cooling faults then please post them here.


  • edited April 2018

    I have found and fixed the cooling fan problem. I made a mistake when I previously disassembled this laptop and put it back together. The screws that hold down the circuit boards screw down onto copper contacts. I assume this is to keep them at a constant voltage or something. When I previously put this laptop back together, I jammed one of the fan's wires under the head of one of these screws, causing it to strip the insulation off the wire which then contacted the screw.

    I'm really pleased to have this laptop working again because it is my favourite.

    The 460CDT is only one of three successful restorations that I have done. There is also the 4000CDS and a 4030CDT. Would you be interested if I started a thread for the purpose of documenting the details of the past (and future) restorations that I did without WinWorld's help?

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