The Nightmare Of The IDE #1 Error

January 3, 2013
I recently replaced the DVD-ROM drive on a Toshiba laptop.  What should have been one of the easiest repairs on a computer imaginable ended up with me actually doing this:

For some reason, known only to Toshiba (I would guess it relates to their profits), some of their laptops will not accept any slimline DVD drive that fits.  I tried several spare drives and none of them were accepted by the Toshiba BIOS.  They all gave what I now know as one of the most dreaded errors that can appear on your screen; "IDE #1 Error".

A little bit of research reveals that most DVD drives have firmware which sets them to Cable Select.  When you plug them in the BIOS tells them how to behave on the IDE channel they are on. Toshiba have decided that some of their laptops will only accept drives set to Inverse Cable Select. 

Unfortunately, there are no physical jumpers on slimline drives so there are 3 options:

1)  Find an Inverse Cable Select (Inv CSEL) firmware for your new drive, if it exists. Then flash the drive and hope you don't brick it.

2)  Open up the drive and solder a connection between pins 47 and 45 on the IDE connector.

3)  Source exactly the same drive as the one you are replacing and make sure the firmware is already known to be Inv CSEL.

I went for option 3.  The drive ended up costing £15 more than a drive without known Inv CSEL firmware but if you want to guarantee it will work that is the only option.

I hope Toshiba have stopped, or will stop, doing this.  It is a nightmare for repair guys to sort out so the general public really will struggle. Is it so that people will only buy drives from Toshiba?  I suspect it is.

Windows 8 Upgrade Far More Difficult Than It Should Be

December 13, 2012
The current Windows 8 upgrade offer from Microsoft is incredibly good value for money, especially as you can use the upgrade ISO to do a clean install if you wish.  The upgrade costs only £24.99 for anyone who currently has xp, Vista or Windows 7.

However, the upgrade in some cases is far more difficult than it should be.  If, say, you have a 32-bit version of windows and want to upgrade to 64-bit then your only option is to download the upgrade on a PC that currently has a 64-bit operating s...
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Bolton Sky Ride

September 14, 2012
Excellent idea, this.

Bolton Council has teamed up with British Cycling and Sky to bring free, led rides to the town centre and across the borough.

 Over the summer a series of Sky Ride Local rides have taken place, delivering free community bike rides that explore the local area, led by British Cycling trained Ride Leaders. The rides are at four different levels and cater for all ages and abilities. On September 16th, Bolton will host the largest of these events, Sky Ride City, where over 100...
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About Me

I run Farnworth Computer Repair and enjoy the challenge of solving computer problems for other people.