Toshiba Tecra M4 Laptop showing Special Charactor

April 2, 2012 at 03:34:20
Specs: Windows 7
My Toshiba Tecra M4 laptop displays garbage letters upon boot up. Usually, most of the screen should be blank. But in place of the blank "spaces", there are a bunch of "a" characters, each with a "^" on top, all lined up, row by row, column by column. Where there should be normal text (information about the boot up process, POST stuff?), there is instead other garbage characters.
Then, for a few seconds, it shows the Toshiba logo splash screen just fine. That is, color and icons and everything. So I think the graphics card itself is fine.

Then, it reverts back to the funny characters.

I tried booting from a WinME boot CD. And it seems to be booting to DOS, because I can tell based on the color of highlighted text in the selection menu (Help file, Safe mode, Without networking, etc) that DOS is loading and running. But it has the same problem, where all the characters are mapped to funny symbols.

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April 3, 2012 at 01:20:36
I have seen this a lot with bad video chips or bad video ram on toshibas. I just had a protege m200 with this problem. I reflowed the nvidia chip and it fixed this. I couldn't see the characters on the LCD, I had to hook it up to an external monitor as the LCD had no video.

The VRAM was located on the chip so I don't know if it was the gpu bga or the VRAM. Most likely the VRAM.

Hope this helps

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