Very weird problem - not your average black screen


Feb 9, 2013
So, I finally broke down and decided to ask for help on this. I have a good amount of experience and have not been able to get this to work consistently. The laptop is admittedly pretty beat up, but it works without a hitch once it's booted. It seems like complete luck getting it to work as if it starts up when it's done frustrating me. I need it as a node for an Adhoc project and it would be great if it could work normally again.

Toshiba M305 w/ Turion x2 and Radeon graphics.

I don't think it makes a difference but I'm running Debian on it with an SSD. I've also replaced the original keyboard. The problem started months after these changes after the laptop took a hit off the bed (carpet). I get a black screen as soon as I turn it on after shutting it down. The screen won't turn on but I hear the DVD drive make its normal noise and the fan spins. If I'm persistent enough with a combination of below tactics or just plain luck it will start back up and work perfect.

What I've tried to no avail:
-removing the battery and the power and holding down the power to drain the capacitors
-taking out one of both memory modules (i think it does the POST because it beeps when there's no memory)
-removing the hard drive

Things I don't think it is and why:
-don't think it's the screen because when it works it lights up fine, also it has the same issue when plugged into a vga display
-don't think it's the hard drive nor the memory as it has the same problem with either off

I'm inclined to think it's a MoBo problem? But then why would it work perfectly fine when it feels like it... I would think nothing is fried. The next thing I was going to try is removing the CMOS battery to reset the BIOS settings and while it's open check for loose connectors I guess.

Any help is truly appreciated! Let me know if there's any other info I can provide. Thanks.



Jan 13, 2008
Intermittent problems are hell to diagnose. My sympathies.

Could be almost anything. Partially unseated cable or chip, damaged motherboard, damaged CPU, damaged power supply, cold solder joint...the list of possibilities is almost endless.

I don't think you'll find it worthwhile to pay to have it fixed. The best approach to really fix this would be to have a depot of parts available and change out one part at a time until the problem stops.

I think you'll find a new laptop is both cheaper and offers much more bang for your buck.
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