Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Toshiba Portege R100 Upgrade and Reformat

Tales from my first adventure into the ultra-portable computing world.

UPDATED: 4-20-2010 with Ubuntu 10.04 Install Info

This whole thing was sparked by white, dimunutive, sub-laptop I saw on campus called the Asus Eee PC. I immediately knew I wanted one. While doing some research on the Eee PCs I ran into a user review of an 2G Surf Edition. The reviewer was dissatisfied with the speed and screen size, (a minuscule 7" LCD), and gave the suggestion that the Toshiba R100 with a larger 12.1" LCD and more processing power and storage can be had on eBay for about the same price of an Eee PC 4G Surf. I did exactly that.
After reading up on the R100s I picked one up from a seller in Montana for under $400 shipped. Upon receiving it, it sat on my desk taking up only 11.25" by 9" and only 0.65" thick, (take that MacBook Air!) and weighed a tad over 2 pounds. It was the base model with a 1.0GHz processor, 256MB ram, and pokey 4200 RPM 40 GB hard drive. All I received with the laptop was the AC adapter, no optical drives, no second battery or recovery media, which would cause me problems later on. It did however come with enough bloatware to choke a horse, which is a good reason why you should always reformat your computers when you get them, new or used. Fortunately the Windows XP CD key was affixed to the bottom of the unit otherwise I probably wouldn't have received that either.

Upgrade Components Selection
The first step in my refurbishment was replacing the sluggish hard drive because one of the appealing features of the Eee PC was its incredibly low boot times and quick responsiveness of the OS even when Windows XP was installed, mostly due to its flash based mass storage. So the hunt began for a SSD hard drive that could replace the irregular 1.8" 50 pin PATA hard drive. I settled on the Samsung MCBOE32G8APR which ended up costing slightly more than the laptop itself. You might think putting such an expensive hard drive in a cheap laptop is ludicrous, and maybe you're right, but I did this more as a hobby than for profit. Along with the SSD, which was available on newegg.com, I ordered a 1GB SODIMM of Crucial DDR memory, a cheapo USB floppy drive and an IDE / SATA to USB converter, (you'll see why I ordered these in a moment). To complete my assortment of replacement parts: a new LCD from ebay for $200, mine had been badly marred from the keyboard hitting the screen when closed, a screen protector from shaggymac.com to protect the new LCD from the same occurrence, an Intel 2200 802.11b/g wireless Mini PCI card, for a cool twenty bucks, to replace the existing wireless card which was only 802.11b. Finally I also picked up a new battery since the the old one gave me about 10 minutes of power. I did some research and found a BTI 1800mAH battery (old one was 1600mAH), part number TS-P2000L, that was marked as a replacement for the Portege 2000, the predecessor to the R100. With the SSD installed, the wireless on and the screen at 3/4 brightness, the new battery gives me about 2 hours of life.

Hardware Installation
Before pulling the old hard drive I tossed in the the new RAM and booted up windows to verify that it would jive with the laptop. It did and windows reported it as 1.25GB of RAM interestingly enough. Installing the new LCD was just a matter of finding the 10 screws, underneath the stick on pads, around the edge of the screen and removing them with a #0 phillips head screwdriver. Its very easy to strip the screws, and one of mine was already stripped from the previous owner, which I had to drill out, so be careful. Now carefully remove the bezel around the screen. A flat head jewelers screwdriver helps to pop the tabs on the bezel loose from the back cover. Pull the LCD away from the lid, starting from the top revealing two electrical connections at the bottom left and bottom right of the screen. Carefully disconnect these and remove the old LCD, drop in the new LCD, reconnect it and boot up the computer to make sure your connections are good. If it all checks out reverse the instructions above to reinstall the bezel. My new LCD gave a huge increase in brightness, almost too bright, and of course the shadows from where the keyboard rubbed the screen were gone. Install the SSD by simply removing the two screws from the hard drive cover, pull the old hard drive away from the ribbon connector and plug in the SSD.
        Installing the new wireless card involves removing the battery, hard drive cover, and the 14 screws on the back side of the laptop. Then carefully pry off the the power button bezel, remove the two screws for the keyboard and unplug the keyboard ribbon cable, and set aside the keyboard. Remove the 5 screws behind the keyboard. Now the back cover can be removed by unhooking the clip near the battery bay first. We now see the wireless card mounted on a daughter card which we must unplug to remove the wireless card. Release each metal clip on the sides of the wireless card, pull the card out, and finally remove the antenna leads. Reverse these steps with the new wireless card and were set. Now were ready to install our OSs.

Windows Installation
I had in mind to dual boot Windows XP Pro and Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope on this machine. So lets get to it. I prepared a nLited Windows install disk, trying to remove as much as possible to make the most of my comparatively small 32GB of storage while keeping functionality for internet browsing, basic networking, watching videos, etc. Make sure you keep the FAT32 to NTFS converter in the installation, we'll need it later. The few things I added to it were Xable's post SP2 lite update pack, Firefox and IE7, AVG free antivirus, Xpize to purdify windows, WMP11, OpenOffice and 7zip. When I was done I had a windows CD that was under 350MB. Now I know what your thinking, we'll just throw that CD in a USB CD-ROM drive, (the R100 has no internal CD-ROM), switch the BIOS to boot from CD and install windows, right? Wrong, the Toshiba R100 with latest BIOS revision 1.6 can only boot directly from a few sources: USB floppy drives, Network PXE, or Toshiba brand PCMCIA / Cardbus CD-ROM drives. PCMCIA CD-ROM drives are very hard to come by and if you do find one it can cost well over $100, so that was out of the question for me. Network booting is a pain to setup for the first time so I settled on USB floppy boot augmented with a USB CD-ROM.

Booting the Unbootable
After some research I found a site that hosted boot disks specifically for the R100. I tried all three but what ended up working for me was the official Portege R100 Recovery Boot Disk v1.1. Its a little executable that will format and place a Windows 98 based boot disk on a floppy for you, with CD-ROM drivers and a few tools. The standard Windows 98 bootdisk would probably work as well. Once it finished making the floppy I added the following utilities from this site: smartdrv, fdisk, and format.com to the tools directory. Using the IDE to USB converter I had bought previously, I connected the oldest CD-ROM drive I could find, (after all were dealing with Windows 98 here). It ended up being a HP CD-Writer Plus 8100 I pilfered from my roommate. I set the BIOS to boot from floppy first and put the Windows install image in the drive. One little snag with the official Toshiba floppy boot disk is that it boots the computer but then immediately looks for the Toshiba Recovery CDs in the CD-ROM not having received media of any kinda you might think I was snookered, however once it realizes you dont have the recovery CD in the drive, doing a ctrl+c dumps you into a basic DOS environment where A: is your USB floppy drive, C: is your hard drive D: is the RAM drive it just created and X: is the USB CD-ROM drive. Using fdisk I set up my partitions. I decided to allocate 23GB for Windows and the rest, 9.7GB, for Ubuntu. So we create a primary DOS partition of size 23GB, and set it to active, leave the rest as free unpartitioned space (If you are doing just a single boot windows install make the partition span the entire drive). Then format it to FAT32, (we have to leave it as FAT32 otherwise the alternate XP install program wont recognize it as a drive). Once thats done run X:\i386\winnt. Now were getting somewhere, we're at the standard blue screen, not of death but of life, (BSOL), that is the Windows install interface we're all used to. Make sure you answer yes when asked to convert from FAT32 to NTFS. From here its a standard Windows install and man does it fly on the SSD, the GUI part of the installation which it estimates to take 34 minutes took less than half that to complete.

Completing Windows Installation
Now its a simple matter of grabbing the drivers from Toshiba's website. A good tip here is when you extract the drivers don't run the setup executable that comes with them, just do an update driver in Device Manager and navigate to where you extracted the driver package, find the INF file and click Ok. This hopefully avoids installing any extraneous bloatware packaged with the drivers. I suggest you disable the page file to avoid using up the limited read-write cycles of the SSD. Wrap it all up by installing the hotkey drivers so you can adjust the brightness of the backlight and polish it off with tweakUI and DriverHeaven TuneXP and you're left with a fresh copy of Windows done our way, just like the BK lounge. You'll immediately see just how much quicker the OS is with our new upgrades. To satisfy your inner geek, the HDTach before and after analyses of the hard drives in the R100 are shown above, (how does a 100x improvement in random seek time suit you!).

Ubuntu Installation
Now were just left to install Ubuntu, which actually is a simpler process. First download and burn the Ubuntu 9.04 Alternate CD image. Were going to be following the directions on this page, the section titled The CD approach, but I'll give the gist of what were doing here. Copy and paste the entire CD contents to C:\ubuntu and download GRUB for DOS. Extract just grldr to C:\ the rest of the files in the archive are unnecessary. Append c:\grldr="Install Ubuntu" to c:\boot.ini and create a file called c:\menu.lst with the following lines in it:
title Install Ubuntu
kernel (hd0,0)/ubuntu/install/vmlinuz root=/dev/ram0 devfs=mount,dall ramdisk_size=17000
initrd (hd0,0)/ubuntu/install/initrd.gz

Now simply reboot with the Ubuntu Alternate installer CD in the drive, and select "Install Ubuntu" twice. Now that the CD installer is going we can setup our partitions. I created an 8.7GB ext4 partition and a 1.25GB swap partition. Based on research here I set the noatime mount option as well. When prompted make sure you mark the Ubuntu Desktop Environment for installation. Step through the installation, its pretty self explanatory and eventually you'll be presented with the Ubuntu desktop.

The first problem I had to solve was setting the display to the native resolution of 1024x768. The old /etc/X11/xorg.conf file is deprecated and wont exist on most systems, including the R100. Based on the output from Xorg -configure I settled on the following xorg.conf file:
Section "Module"
Load "GLcore"
Section "Monitor"

Identifier   "Monitor0"
VendorName   "Generic LCD Display"
ModelName    "LCD Panel 1024x768"
Horizsync    31.5-48.0
Vertrefresh  56.0-65.0
modeline     "1024x768" 65.0 1024 1048 1184 1344 768 771 777 806 -vsync -hsync
Section "Device"

Identifier  "Card0"
Driver      "trident"
VendorName  "Trident Microsystems"
BoardName   "CyberBlade XP4m32"
BusID       "PCI:1:0:0"
Section "Screen"

Identifier "Screen0"
Device     "Card0"
Monitor    "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 16
SubSection "Display"
Virtual 1024 768 
Modes  "1024x768"

Next I set out to solve the problem where brightness changes to the LCD backlight, from unplugging AC power for example, would cause the display to zoom into the upper left quarter of the screen. Ctrl+alt+f1 followed by ctrl+alt+f7 would get the screen back to normal but I needed it to work correctly. The solution was to force the VESA BIOS Extension (VBE) Mode to 1024x768 resolution as well. For Ubuntu 9.04 this was accomplished by editing the /boot/grub/menu.lst file by uncommenting the defoptions line and changing it to defoptions=quiet splash vga=791. Ubuntu 9.10 and above are a bit different as they use Grub 2, instead edit /etc/default/grub and change the line to: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="vga=791". For Ubuntu 10.04 instead leave GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX blank and set GRUB_GFXMODE=1024x768 and GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=1024x768. Then a sudo update-grub updates all active kernels with the options we just specified.

With our display now perfect we can focus on getting the function hotkeys working.

The easiest way I found was to install an app made specifically for Toshiba laptop hotkeys called fnfx. Installing it was a snap with the command sudo apt-get install fnfxd. Then edit /etc/fnfxd/fnfxd.conf and uncomment the lines for backlight brightness. Reboot and now our function hotkeys are working as well.

Ubuntu Upgrade - Clean Install
To perform a clean install of Ubuntu, as I did when v9.04 came out. First remove the Ubuntu and linux swap partitions. I happened to have Partition magic, which I used to delete and secure erase the Ubuntu and swap partitions. With the boot floppy we created above, boot to the DOS environment and run fdisk /mbr, to restore the default Windows bootloader. Now we're back to a Windows only system from which we can follow the directions above to do a fresh install of Ubunutu.

Well I hope you've all enjoyed the tale of my struggle with the R100 and my eventual victory. I hope the information compiled here will be helpful to someone else working with an R100 or any other laptop with a severe lack of bootable devices.


  1. Nice write-up! I went through a similar experience refurbishing an R100. It's a great little machine. I can't understand why netbooks are so great when there are alternatives like this.

    I think you've convinced me to upgrade it to a solid-state drive. Fortunately, they've gotten a bit cheaper, although PATA drives are getting harder to find.

  2. Good very Good ! Now my r100 work's well !
    Thank you !

  3. Since this site seems to be THE place for R100 boot and reformat information, I'll add my own experiences with booting the R100, below.

    With the free tools "Plop Boot Manager" and "PEtoUSB", the R100 CAN boot from most USB mass storage devices like USB Sticks etc.!

    With Plop Boot Manager, a Boot Floppy Disk is created (or the Boot Manager is installed to the Portege's internal hard drive). After this, it is possible to boot the Portege R100 from an external USB hard drive, or even from an USB Stick.

    With PEtoUSB, almost any USB stick or USB hard drive can be made bootable, e.g using BartPE and/or the files from your Windows XP Product CD.

    This way, I booted my Portege R100 using an external SD card reader and BartPE with no problem. The Portege beautifully boots in about 20 seconds into a nice Windows XP desktop.


    Cheers David.P

  4. ...btw, I've installed Windows on a 32GB PhotoFast GMonster SSD on this little Portege beast.

    After removing a couple of surplus things from XP using XPLite, this has become THE ULTIMATE Notebook and Netbook Killer. Cold boots in 15 (!) seconds to the Windows desktop, is snappier than any PC I've ever seen or owned, and stays cool and absolutely quiet all the time.

    It even runs the very heavy NaturallySpeaking dictation software like a charm -- yet only uses about 20 Watts of power.

    Cheers David.P

  5. I'm a little confused. (OK... I'm a lot confused.) I'm fairly technical, but this may be over my head.

    I have 8 R100s with no operating system on them, and I want to install Ubuntu. Do I need to install XP first, or can I just install Ubuntu?

    Also, can I use any PCMCIA CD drive, or is there a specific one that I need?



  6. You can install just Ubuntu no problem. But the floppy boot disk will be a bit different.

    A third party PCMCIA CD drive may work, but if you don't already own one I wouldn't suggest buying one as they can be quite expensive. A network PXE boot requires no additional hardware but can be difficult to set up. Doing the two step boot from USB floppy and then external CD drive I believe is the easiest.

    Instead of the win98 recovery boot floppy you'll need a linux one like SmartBootManager. Boot to the SBM floppy and in SBMs boot menu select the CD-ROM drive and you should now have the Ubuntu installation going.

  7. Hi,

    anyone reading my findings at all? :(

    With Plop Boot Manager on the USB floppy, the R100 can be booted beautifully from any USB stick (to diverse flavours of BartPE as well as to Knoppix or Linux of course.

    Cheers David.P

  8. Hi

    After the r100 get up and run, I have a problem with battery indictor keep blinking every 5 secs and it does not work with the battery every time i pull of the adapter


  9. David.P,
    unfortunately your tip did not work on my R100 :/

    I tried to load the USB drive (with XP install on it) with the both boot methods "Plop boot manager" offered (from floppy and from disk). It just "loads the EHCI driver" and starts searching for the USB-stick and freezes.

    I know the USB stick works correctly since i've tried to boot it up on another machine.

    I tried this method with both firmware 1.50 and 1.60.

  10. Ulf,

    I remember having a similar problem at first.

    This however could be resolved by some BIOS settings. I think it was on BIOS page 2, under Configuration -> Device Config: "All Devices", possibly also USB KB/Mouse Emulation: "Disabled" and USB FDD Legacy Emulation "Enabled".

    Cheers David.P

  11. Will the xorg file be any different if I am running Xubuntu 9.04?

  12. Nice write-up Eric!

    I have 2 issues. 1 is trying to enable the desktop effects for that 3d look, and the other is getting the fnfx keys to work.

    I've read and read and read all over several forums for a dozen hours on both issues. I'm somewhat new to linux so running anything via terminal with command lines is hard for me to comprehend. I followed your directions for fnfx fix to a "T" several times but it still does not work.

    Thanks in advance!


  13. Well, after an hour or so messing around, I was able to get the fn keys to work WOOHOO! I think what ended up fixing the problem was an uninstall/ reinstall of fnfxd.

    I still would like to have COMPIZ FUSION aka: Desktop Effects to work if at all possible?
    Is there a specific driver someone knows about that I could install over the settings of what Eric explained to do?

    Thanks for the help...

  14. As far as I'm aware it's not possible, as there is no driver for the Trident card that allows 3D to work properly. I could absolutely be wrong though!

  15. Glad you got fnfx to work. I just wish changing brightness with fnfx would show those nice notifications at the top right of the desktop like you get with native support on other laptops.

    Yeah I haven't had any luck getting Compiz to work with the Trident graphics driver, but I didn't mess with it for very long. If you could get it to work, I would imagine that Compiz would bring your system to its knees and you would probably end up turning Compiz off anyways.

  16. Trident driver has no 3D. 2D acceleration works well though and fullscreen movies do not look like slideshow as with VESA driver. I suppose there is UXA by default, as far as EXA setting slows performance down dramatically. To enable software like AWN or Gnome-Do/Docky, you have to enable Metacity manually via gconf-editor. At least some effects can be used.

    As for the PLoP bootmanager, I was not successful using my external CD-ROM with R100. Neither native bios usb-cdrom support, nor PLoP recognizes the hardware. Later, I found out that PLoP doesnt work with USB-CD at all. But as far as I want to do a fresh install of 9.10 when it comes out, I'll give PLoP a chance with external USB disk.

    This little machine made me love Ubuntu. My new, fast, feature-packed Lenovo is eats dust in the drawer :D There is nothing I couldn't do on this little machine- regarding my business work. And it looks awesome - both my desktop and the hardware!

  17. Trying to do something similar. The PLOPmanager works from FDD but when trying to boot same thing happens as with ulf and Davids remarks didn't help sadly enough. Maybe I'm still forgetting something else?

    if anyone else got it to work please tell me.


  18. Ok I discovered the reason why it didn't work.

    The reason was the USB key I was using. It seems not all USB key's can be used for this. The USB boot did work on my desktop but not with the tosh.

    Running into another problem. I'm installing XP on the tosh via USB key and everything works fine untill the first reboot during installation. The I get the message "Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
    Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware. Please check the Windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information."

    Found some solution googling but none of them work yet. Somebody knows something more specific for the R100?


  19. The fdisk tool won't work with toshiba boot disk. Aftre dumping toget into dos mode and switching from d: to A:

    it just won't work.

  20. I know this is an old documment, but it helped me to get Ubuntu working on my R100. However Ive had two issues, one of which i resolved.

    Im running Ubuntu , which has GRUB2 as default (1.97beta). As such menu.lst was depreciated. Im trying to find another way of getting defoptions to work. I tried adding it to the grub.cfg and also using startup manager. Using the startup manager seemed to break everything, and as i started fixing the grub.cfg using the safe mode, it had vga=769. Changed this to 791 and the machine behaves correctly when the power is unplugged.
    However on boot, after grub, it gives a
    vga=791 is depreciated. use set gfxpayload=1024x768x16,1024x768 before linux command instead.

    The other one is fnfxd. It installs ok, but it then gives the following error when i try to start the service:
    Could not open /proc/acpi/oshiba/keys.
    Please make sure that your kernel has enabled the Toshiba option in the ACPI section.
    For more information read... (link doesnt work)
    I manually loaded with "modprobe toshiba_acpi" and then "sudo service fnfxd start". The service starts. However i cannot use any of the Fn keys. If i use
    sudo echo "brigntness:4" > /proc/acpi/toshiba/lcd it gives permission denied error.

    Im not sure where to go with this from here....

  21. Sorry for my spelling mistakes in that - i actually have the machine at work with me today, and as such cant plug it into the work network.

  22. he great tutorial but i get to run the i386/winnt and the blue screen loads for win setup but when i point the setup to the X:/ for the windows files it freezes on loadinig .ini file. any suggestions?

  23. Hi there. I've had the same idea and already purchased an R100. I want to go down the route of ssd, battery and ubuntu. My aim is to use the machine for surfing and for coding. How have you found the performance. Does it just bring it upto netbook level or a upto laptop standard. I guess I'm trying to gauge will it meet my needs when its done.

  24. Hey,
    I've got my Dad's old R100 and I've been using it for a bit now with Windows, but I've been wanting to give Linux a try.

    Now, when my Dad got his new laptop and gave me this one, I of course reformatted it, and had no issue. I used an external USB CD drive with the recovery disks that came with the laptop.

    Now that I've decided to give Linux a try, it is, of course not working. So, I am using the Targus external USB CD drive, which has been used by both myself and my father to reformat this computer in the past, and I am able to select the CD to boot from, but it displays on the screen:

    "Starting Windows 98
    Microsoft RAMDrive version 3.06 virtual disk D:
    Disk size: 16,384k
    Sector size: 512 bytes
    Allocation unit: 16 sectors
    Directory entries: 64

    PC Card driver for external ATAPI-IDE Drives Rev: 2204

    ERROR: There is no PCCARD in socket A and B

    PCCARD not initialized

    ATAPI-CD: ATAPI IDE CD-ROM Device Driver
    ATAPI-CD: Copyright (C) Freecom Technologies 1995-2001

    NO CD/NET" (the NO CD/NET is in huge letters made up of x's)

    Anyway I've been trying for a bit now, and I can't seem to get it to work. I'm just confused as to why it always worked in the past, but now it won't! Any help anyone could have would be greatly appreciated!

  25. This is such a great resource!
    It's helped me so much in installing ubuntu on my R100.
    However, I'm having the problem where it zooms in on the upper left corner of the screen when the brightness changes.
    I cant seem to find the file "/boot/grub/menu.lst". It does not seem to be on my computer. I am using ubuntu 9.10, and not 9.04 like used here, but I'm wondering if anyone could help me out with this!

  26. Unfortunately, Ubuntu 9.10 is using Grub 2, which no longer uses menu.lst file. (It is also the reason why it is far slower to boot up).

    For the moment, I have not found anything to fix the problem with 9.10

  27. I'm installing Ubuntu 9.10 as well. You have to put the kernel boot parameter in:

    /etc/default/grub. add to the line:


    this adds that parameter to all linux kernels that Grub2 detects when it starts up. You will need to run:

    sudu update-grub2

    once you are done.

  28. As of Ubuntu 10.04, the toshiba_acpi doesn't load by default so add it to /etc/modules.
    Additionally the fnfx package is split into fnfxd and fnfx-client.

  29. For Ubuntu 10.04 it looks like the cleanest and best way to specify the VBE mode on the R100 is in /etc/default/grub with:

    and then update your grub config with:
    sudo update-grub

  30. Hi!

    This page helped me a lot, but I'm still experiencing problems using hotkeys (it doesn't work at all :/)

    I've read that there are problems with the ACPI support under the 10.04 and I am lost.

    This issue is the reason why I'm forced to use WinXP on my Portege.

    Any suggestions?

  31. And I've got new issue - I've edited the /etc/default/grub file. I've left the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="" untouched and edited GRUB_GFXMODE=1024x768 (and uncommented it) and added the line GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=1024x768 (without the # symbol, updated the grub (sudo update-grub and sudo update-grub2 which ran correctly) and than I've restarted my machine with no effect.

    Weird and making me sad :(

    Any suggestions?

  32. That's me again - sorry for spamming yours comments-feed.

    I was just stupid - i've downloaded, installed and configured fnfxd, but I forgot to start it O:-)

    The problem with the screen (when changing brightness and so on) remains. But I found interesting turn-around. I start Ubuntu, log-in, then press fn-f5, the screen is now corrupted, then press ctrl-alt-f1 and ctrl-alt-f7 and the problem is gone till next restart (or pressing fn-f5)

  33. Hi,

    I have installed Ubuntu 9.10 and have some problems compared to my previous 8.04 install.

    Thanks to your tips, I succeeded in fixing the display issues, but I have more trouble with fnfx.
    I manually started the toshiba acpi support, and then succeded in lauching fnfx.

    My concern is : How do I do to make the acpi launch automatic?

    Then, are there any tips for the energy management (I know that the R100 processor has a stepspeed function which allows to save energy, how can we take advantage of this under Unbuntu?)?

  34. Eric,

    Thanks a lot for the guidelines. I went through just a very similar experience. I've had a Toshiba Portègè R100 for some years now, always running the original Windows XP in it. It went through the SP2 and SP3 upgrades and all was fine, until recently some of the latest Microsoft upgrades brought the Toshiba to its knees: it would consistently suffer from a BSOD upon rebooting.

    I thought at first it might be some infection (even though I do maintain up-to-date virus and malware scanners), and to be sure I re-installed Windows XP three times, always with the same results even from a clean installation, as soon as I allowed the latest package of upgrades to install. Unfortunately, I have not been able to determine exactly which upgrade is causing the problem.

    At any rate, I decided the R100 had already done a good job, so I profited from a recent business trip to the US to purchase a brand new Toshiba NB305 netbook, which is also an amazing machine, especially for its battery life: on the flight back, I used the laptop for all of its 9 hours, and still had battery power to spare. Amazing.

    Nevertheless, I wouldn't give the R100 up completely, because for quick web surfing and some other tasks its light weight and huge screen (for a netbook) are unbeatable. So, I decided to install Ubuntu 10.04, and ended up on your blog.

    The only things I did differently from your account were:

    - I did not want to have dual-boot, only pure Ubuntu 10.04;
    - I also did not need additional disk space, so I left the original 40 GB disk as it was;
    - I did, however, install 1 GB of RAM, and the machine's performance is significantly better with a very small investment;
    - I was able to boot the Ubuntu installation disk directly by the use of the Toshiba USB DVD drive that came with the NB305 ;-))
    - I also tried the Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook version (which worked like a charm), but in the end I prefer the workstation version.

    Your help with the display reconfiguration for 1024x768 resolution and the ability to use the Toshiba hotkeys were the clincher that allowed me to continue to use the R100 as a valuable little workhorse.

    Best regards from the Alps,


  35. Thanks mate, you convinced me to do the same with my old R100 ;)

  36. Just wanted to make people aware that the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive (which is external USB) works perfectly with my toshiba R100 and have been able to install any OS I've thrown at it...

    So forget the expensive PCMCIA drives or complex ways around it. Pick up an HD DVD drive on ebay for pretty much nothing.

  37. Thank you very much for this tutorial!
    Now I'm happy with my Portege r100 and Ubuntu 10.04

  38. Great post. I'm inspired!

    However, I can't seem to find the Samsung MCBOE32G8APR anywhere online. Could you recommend alternative SSDs that would be compatible? Or tell me what specs i should be looking for?

    This is my first time tinkering with internal parts so I don't know exactly what I should be looking for.


  39. never mind. i found a site that had a compatibility list for SSDs and computers

  40. About SSD : It seems that this one is ok :
    KingSpec 1.8" 50pin IDE 64GB SSD, 50 pin P7230/ TX16

  41. Anybody still have the recovery disks for the r100? I can no longer get them at the link?

  42. Great post...
    I've problem with my Portege R100 running Ubuntu 10.4: every time I switch on the laptop, (every 1-2 days) the battery is off. Sometime ago I read there was a bug in linux kernel and when you switch off your Toshiba 'something' is still running. Has anybody the same problem?? Thanks,

  43. I'm upgrading a R100 in a similar manner and have an odd problem with the BTI battery. When I boot up (in Windows) the system does not recognize that the battery is there. It says it's running on AC power, even though the notebook is not plugged in. Even the battery LED does not light up (so it seems to be a lower than OS level of problem). I returned the battery and got another one, but I'm still having the same problem. The old original Toshiba battery works fine in this respect. Have you had this problem with the BTI batter? Any thoughts? Thanks.

  44. Have just installed the latest version of Ubuntu 11.04 using the PLOP Boot Manager. While it doesn't have the graphical grunt to power the new launcher I was pleasantly surprised to find that the resolution problem I have always run into when installing a new Ubuntu OS is gone (not stuck at 800x400). It also feels even faster than 10.04 and everything runs allot smoother, I heard that there was work done on the kernel to improve speeds and what ever was done seems to benefit the little laptop greatly.

    This Blog was a godsend btw when I was first setting up this great little lappy which now has a KingSpec 1.8" 50pin IDE 16GB SSD; the full 1.25G of memory; new battery and a PA3155U-1BAl 2nd battery extension on its way.

    God these little laptops are fun thank you to all of the people who have contributed the information it has been invaluable.

  45. I've had the asme experience after upgrading to 11.04. Overall just works so much better, and no need to tinker with the settings anymore.

    But does anyone know if there is a way to upgrade the graphics card so I can run the new Unity launcher? Also the laptop doesn't handle streaming videos in full screen too well. I hear the audio but the video shows 1 frame every 10 seconds or so. I upgraded my memory to 1.25G and put a new 64GB SSD, so I'm guessing the problem lies with the obsolete video card.

  46. Does anybody have a solution for this problem when installing WinXP using Plop Manager

    "Ok I discovered the reason why it didn't work.

    The reason was the USB key I was using. It seems not all USB key's can be used for this. The USB boot did work on my desktop but not with the tosh.

    Running into another problem. I'm installing XP on the tosh via USB key and everything works fine untill the first reboot during installation. The I get the message "Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
    Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware. Please check the Windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information."

    Found some solution googling but none of them work yet. Somebody knows something more specific for the R100?


  47. Really i am very impressed from this post.. just awesome...i haven’t any word to appreciate this post. Computer Reformat

  48. Hi all. Inspired by this post I've just bought a r100 from ebay and have installed xp and lucid puppy linux without problem. The hardware error installing xp was solved by using "winsetupfromusb" a freeware program that let me use a CF card in a pcmcia adapter to install xp. Puppy installed once I found an old dvdrw drive from my box of bits and housed it in a cheapo usb external enclosure (again from ebay)They now dual boot happily using grub4dos. I've upped the memory to 1.25gb and am now fighting the urge to buy an ssd....

  49. For my 2cent the SSD is worth every dollar I just got the 16G for one of mine and use an external 320g drive for when its downloading torrents etc.

    The SSD transforms the laptop and makes it so much snappier I find, especially with Ubuntu.

    My next thing will be to find a slighly less demanding GUI than the current Unity used by Ubuntu.

  50. But that is no fun, where is the adventure?

  51. Thanks for the interesting post. Just to let people know, I had success installing JoliOS over Win7 without a USB CD or FD drive. Used Plop Boot Manager (installed from within Windows, using Boot Menu option), to load USB drivers and JoliOS via 2Gb Kingston DataTraveller. Whole process took 20-30mins. Means my R100 can live on as a little netbook!

  52. After trying to install the latest version of Ubuntu 11.10 with the live CD with the original PCMCIA CD-ROM failed I managed to install it in any case with a different method.

    As for myself, before this I had zero experience with Linux. To start I still had an external enclosurer for a 1.8" disk to USB. I removed the HDD from the laptop and put it in the encloser. After this I formatted the entire disk. I do not want to have Dual boot, just linux. After that I followed the guide on http://www.linuxbsdos.com/2011/05/23/install-ubuntu-11-04-on-external-hard-disk/ . Quite easy. The only thing I did do was manually disconnected my second HDD aka the slave. For the rest just follow the instructions on the link above. Boot from the life CD, format the disk properly and install it on the disk. Restart the computer and put the HDD back in the laptop.

    Linux is running fine, a bit slow for my taste though. Might be my hardware? I have 512mb memory. I might try an older version of Ubuntu.

    Any other performance details from people?

    1. Off course for the installation I used my Desktop computer and in that computer I recommend to only have one HDD, if you have more, AKA a slave; disable it.

  53. Successfully installed Lubuntu 11.1 with method from above. Its running like a tit!

  54. I'm running Xubuntu without a problem, but I cannot get external video to work (essential for presentations). Has anyone been able to get this to work? No one has mentioned it!

  55. I'd love to get Ubuntu on my r100, but I'm dead in the water!

    To install it, I took out the HD, put it in a USB enclosure, and connected it to a Mac running Ubuntu off a DVD. On startup, I get the (dreaded) "Low-Graphics Mode" condition described here: http://askubuntu.com/questions/141606/how-to-fix-the-system-is-running-in-low-graphics-mode-error/141607#141607

    Now, the only thing I can do is boot into Recovery Mode from GRUB, but this sets up the disk as read-only, so I can't try any fixes.

    I tried

    # mount -o rw,remount /

    But that just results in a new prompt, as if I entered a return, and the system remains read-only.

    I also tried "Enable Networking" from the Recovery Mode main screen (another way to set the system as read-write), but this returns one line, with a blinking cursor below it, and no options but to power off the machine:

    fsck from util-linux 2.20.1 /dev/sda1: clean, 166400/2444624 files, 906859/9765755 blocks

    Oh and when I do power off and start up again after that, the system is read-only.

    Any ideas?

    1. Ok, I'm up! Turns out Ubuntu 12.10 is not compatible with the R100's Cyberblade driver. But 12.04 works. Of course I had to download and update the driver, and write a config file for it, described here: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Trident, but I'm up!

  56. Nice post! Glad that you like their service. I believe that treating the customer so politely makes them so comfortable with your services. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Keep posting.

  57. If just put Xubuntu 12.04 LTS on my Toshiba Portege R100,described here

    If anyone knows how to get Redshift of f.lux working, please comment over there

  58. Some weeks ago refurbished my R100.
    I set up a 128GB SSD, wifi-n, and was able to transplant a Windows 7 virtual machine (virtualbox).
    R100 flies with such config.
    Thanks for the help

    I have been told that W10 is also possible, will try later.

    How move virtualbox to the SSD?

    With Acronis True Image instaled on the virtual machine, I built an image of the VM.
    Then I used Acronis Universal Restore to move the image to the SSD using a USB/50pin adaptor.
    Windows 7 had no issue in booting and working properly