How to Boot Toshiba Portege M200 off an SD Memory Card

A long while ago I became the proud owner of one o the best Tablet PCs on the market, the Toshiba Portege M200. Problem is that if something goes awry on the internal hard disk, then you’re in trouble because the M200 is notoriously difficult to boot on external media. This was something I needed to do after trying out Windows 7 on it (which worked extremely well by the way) – but it came at a cost too high – missing features and tools and drivers that the default factory install has.

Things are made complex because while it is technically possible to boot off an external CD/DVD ROM, the number of external drive it will actually boot off are very few. Additionally, the BIOS wont boot off USB thumb drives (at all!) and USB hard disks either. There is one saving grace – you can boot off an SD memory card (as long as it *not* SDHC) from the built-in reader. The trouble with THIS is that it will only boot off an SD card if its been formatted and made bootable ‘just right’. Its so finiky that Toshiba have actually created some tools to aide in the process of making them bootable.

So, if you have a standard SD memory card, you can use the Toshiba SD Memory Format Utility and the Toshiba SD Memory Boot Utility to create a bootable image of the restore CDs. Obviously if the default install is bung, then how can you use these tools?

Well the good news is, I’ve got a copy of them from the Toshiba website. I have hosted them here in case they disappear, here is the Toshiba SD Memory Format Utility and here is the Toshiba SD Memory Boot Utility.

What I did to reinstall the factory image on my Portege M200 Tablet PC:

  1. Download the 2 links above and install them.
  2. Run ‘as administrator’ (if on Vista or Windows 7) the format utility and format the SD card.
  3. Run ‘as administrator’ (if on Vista or Windows 7) the boot utility and select the BOOT.IMG file from the /bin folder on the first restore CD. Here is a copy if you don’t have the disks.
  4. Restart the computer pressing F2 at POST and with the SD card in the reader, and use the arrows keys to select the SD/Floppy boot device.  Press [Enter].

When I booted it still gave me the CD ROM selection screen, which I eventually discovered was actually compatible with the External USB DVD ROM I was using (wouldn’t boot off it – but option ‘9’ worked in DOS) – after this, it just started installing the factory image as normal.

Any problems, drop me a line and I will try to help.  I know how frustrating this can be after spending most of the day trying Linux boot disks and direct copying boot sectors etc.  Ahh! but finally success!


Windows 7 Freezes During Network File Copying

My workstation at work is a great little computer. It’s running Windows 7 and its very reliable and does what I need it to do. However, periodically, usually during periods of large quanities of network traffic, it will freeze. No BSOD, no warning, just frozen.

After some googling, it seems that the on-board Atheros L1 Gigabit Ethernet adpater on the ASUS motherboard has a known issue with Windows Vista, and apparently Windows 7 as well:

Install a new driver The problem may be especially prominent with the Atheros L1 Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000Base-T Controller used on ASUS p5k motherboards. This driver (FTP Link), intended for Windows Vista, has been reported to solve this issue under Windows 7 in a variety of cases.

I downloaded the driver from here, and installed it on top of the generic Windows driver for the NIC and not a single freeze or lock-up since.

If you have an ASUS P5K series motherboard, I highly recommend that you upgrade this driver (even if you’re not having these problems as the performance seems better on these drivers).

How To Install BootCamp 3.0 on Windows 7 x64 (on a 2008 MacBook)

Yes you can – but not directly.  To install boot camp 3.0 on Windows 7 x64 follow these instructions.

  1. open command prompt in administrator mode
  2. type “net user administrator /active:yes” hit enter
  3. log out then log in as “administrator”
  4. then open cd and navigate to “bootcamp/drivers/apple/”
  5. run “bootcampx64”
  6. once done reboot, logback in and turn off administrator account by entering “net user administrator /active:no”

viola! boot camp 3.0 on x64!

This successfully installed on my late 2008 model uni-shell MacBook (the non-pro single cast aluminium one).  Windows 7 managed to get most of the drivers by default, which was a refreshing change from XP and Vista (including the wireless drivers), but once BootCamp had installed the audio was fixed, and everything was great.  I installed the GeForce 9M drivers from and I was in action.

Fixing Audio Problems in Windows 7 x64 on MacBook (Not Pro) and Boot Camp

I was fortunate enough recently to get a license of Windows 7 x64 Home Premium which I promptly installed on my (non-pro) 15″ MacBook.

The install through the OSX Boot Camp wizard went really smoothly and wireless and most other drivers worked out of the box. However, on my early 2008 MacBook, the audio driver did not work (instead only red light constantly came out of the audio jack). Obviously, the driver provided by Boot Camp is not the right one. From my experiences using XP on my Mac, I remembered that the audio card is made by Realtek. After lots of googling, I downloaded the driver directly from Realtek and it worked. Here is the download link. The one I downloaded is Vista Driver (32/64 bits) Driver Version R2.14. Extract the files and run the setup.exe.

BTW, if you are looking for some older versions, you can use this ftp site. This is a mirror site used by Realtek. Note that the download speed is kinda slow, so be patient.