PLEASE HELP toshiba a30 questions

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okay, I recently acquired a toshiba a30 USED laptop as per link here:

I would like to ask a few questions.

the machine comes with a unique XP license under it (on a sticker).   does
this mean when the previous owner bought it brand new, he also got some
installation XP cds with it?  if not, how does one go about reinstalling
winxp on this machine?   I Assume it is completely different from a regular
desktop, given maybe the need for specific drivers, etc.   I was only given
the 3 toshiba recovery CDs, but I do not think one can reinstall windows
with them.

also, I just cannot figure out whether this laptop has a built in wireless
card/capability or is this laptop UPGRADABLE to wireless.  if upgradable, is
it through some external pcmci card, or do I have other options?  the link I
gave seems to say it has factory built in wifi capability and is ready for
wireless internet without upgrades.

also, this laptop has I assume a fan for the cpu working all the time, which
is not too noisy, so its all good. then, every now and then, a few times
each minute, at what appears to be random instances, another fan turns
itself on, fairly noisy!  is this normal?  does it need so much cooling?  do
these overheat more than other laptops?  and can I expect any problems like
machine going off due to overheating with this specific model.

the machine appears fairly slow.  how much of an improvement would I see in
yoru view upgrading to more than 256mb ram I currently have?  if worthwhile,
what would be a good amount of ram for this type of machine.  I don't play
games, nothing much fancier than maybe a few windows of internet explorer,
and windows media player.  I have a swap file set to custom around 750mb
right now.

lastly, this machine is used in good shape. however, I am noticing a few
cloudy spots on the scree, most visibile when screen is black.  they ALMOST
look like maybe a sharp pointed object impacting the screen, but when I
touch the surface, it is smooth, so there is no dents etc.  any idea what
this could be? it does not go away with water/kleenex.    what is even more
strange, 1-3 of these clouded spots, in the center of them, when computer is
on, there appears to be a different colored pixel.   I do not want to call
it dead pixel before I'm sure.   for one thing, I did not necessarily think
dead pixels would show any clouded spots around them on black screens.   I
am not sure what to call it.

I appreciate anyone's time trying to answer my questions.

thank you.

please remove spam if emailing me.

Re: PLEASE HELP toshiba a30 questions

The presence of an XP sticker does not imply that CDs were supplied (but
they were, and you have them).  Microsoft requires OEMs to provide a way
for the customer to reinstall Windows, but the OEM is allowed to do that
with either CDs or with a hard drive partition (no CDs).  And even if
CDs are supplied, there are at least 3 different ways that CDs are
commonly used, only one of which is approximately the equivalent of
getting what you think of as a "retail" CD.

Most Toshiba laptops do come with a restore CD (actually today it's
usually a DVD and/or a set of CDs), but in most cases these can only do
a full system restore that totally destroys all existing contents of the
hard drive and resets the machine to the way it was when it left the
factory.  In many cases they actually overwrite the first cylinder of
the hard drive with binary zeros, blowing away even the partition table
and master boot record, so while using the restore CDs will work (and
will reinstall windows), it's totally destructive to the pre-restore
contents of the hard drive, which not only gets reformatted but even

[Note1:  There is a way, however, to make a "near retail equivalent"
from many of the restore CDs or the restoration that they do, by
extracting the "I386" folder.]

[Note2:  The Windows product key of the copy of windows installed on the
laptop the day it left the factory may not [probably does not] match the
product key on the label on the bottom of the laptop.  The CDs shipped
from the factory are mass duplicated with imaging software.]

Some Toshiba models have built-in WiFi, some have provisions for it but
don't have actual card installed, and some have no provisions at all.
By "provisions", I mean that the antenna, power wiring, on-off switch
and indicator light are present.  If you have a wifi card actually
installed, it will show up in device manager.  If you have the
provisions but not the card, you can probably add the card for about $40
.... it's a "mini-PCI" card, and there is a compartment for it on the
bottom of the laptop (usually) or under the keyboard (sometimes).
Obviously, if you look in that compartment, you can also tell if the
card is present or not, just be sure that you are looking in the right
compartment (the wired Ethernet port and/or modem may also be mini-PCI
cards).  If the antenna is not present, forget about adding an internal
wifi card, but you can always get a WiFi PC card that plugs into a PC
Card slot.

The fan normally only comes on when the CPU reaches a temperature
threshold.  I suspect that the noise that you hear constantly is the
hard drive motor.  The CPU fan will usually "cycle".

The A30 is a budget laptop and is no speed demon.  Adding ram may help,
it depends on what you are doing.  256 is ok, but it's the minimum ok,
384 or 512 megs may provide a significant benefit.  More than 512 megs
probably won't do much for you unless your use of the laptop is unusual.
  Your swap file setting is fine unless you go to 512 megs, in which
case I'd bump the swap file to a gigabyte.

I cannot answer your questions about the screen without seeing it.

tiktak wrote:

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Re: PLEASE HELP toshiba a30 questions

On Sat, 17 Sep 2005 14:47:19 -0400, "tiktak"

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toshiba laptops comes only with restore cd's. so if you need to
re-install, use the restore cd. you can use a windows xp cd but very
time consuming and you also need to download all the drivers that you
need first before starting the installation.
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it has an antenna so you just need to put in a wireless card - means
it is wireless ready. just buy a usb wireless card if it doesn't have
a wireless card to save you the trouble of opening up the unit.
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fan is more likely dirty and need to be cleaned up. you have to
disassemble the unit if you want to clean the fan.
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a total of 512 megs will be good.
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your lcd screen have burnt spots. dead pixel is a bit different, you
usually see a very small spot or a dot  that is green or red in color.
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