I’ll Never Buy Toshiba Again

I’ve just been treated so badly by Toshiba that they’ve lost me as a customer for life. After what I’ve been through, I’d strongly recommend that anyone considering buying a Toshiba product think very seriously about going with another manufacturer.

I recently purchased a Toshiba M200 Tablet PC with Windows XP Tablet PC 2005 Edition and Microsoft OneNote. Upon booting up the machine for the first time, the M200 greeted me with the message “Windows installation incomplete, please run Setup again”. I tried to get the system to boot into both Safe mode and the Recovery Console so I could try and repair the install, but all attempts failed with the same message; Toshiba had somehow managed to ship a machine with a broken Windows XP install.

“OK”, I thought, “I’ll just run the installer again”. Here’s where I ran into my first problem – there were no install CDs. I rang Toshiba Customer Service, and it turns out that while they don’t ship install CDs with the M200, I could have Windows XP re-installed at the local Toshiba Service Centre. “So how do I re-install Microsoft OneNote?”, I asked. The answer? “I’m sorry sir, we can’t help you with that, we can only re-install Windows XP”. I argued that I’d bought a OneNote license from Toshiba, but after about 10 minutes of going round in circles I realized the customer service rep didn’t want to help and simply didn’t care about my problem, so I resolved to sort out the XP install first then tackle the OneNote problem later.

Next, I rang the local Toshiba Service Centre to book-in the laptop for a re-install. The first thing the staff asked me was how I’d like to pay the $80 re-install fee. I argued that the Tablet was under warranty, and that it had come out of the box with a corrupt install. They told me that they were aware of that, and that’s why they were only charging me the “cheap” re-install fee. If the Tablet wasn’t under warranty I’d have to pay even more.

At this point I just could not believe what I was hearing: Toshiba’s software licensing policy is basically “deceive then extort”. Every time you need to re-install your system, you lose any software you’ve purchased that isn’t Windows XP and have to pay to have XP re-installed. Toshiba fools you into thinking you’ve bought software licenses, when all they’re really selling is the privilege of paying them money every time Windows bites the bullet.

After wasting days sorting out this issue, I fell back to my last resort: install Windows XP Tablet 2005 Edition from my MSDN subscription, and download and install the roughly twenty separate M200 drivers from the Toshiba website. With the M200 up and running, I thought the nightmare was over. In reality it was only beginning.

The first thing I did after the manual install was to setup the screen rotation utility so that the M200 would automatically switch between a landscape and portrait display when I put it in tablet mode. I found that the when using the M200 as a tablet, the display mode would randomly switch between landscape and portrait mode. Investigating further, I found that the screen latch wasn’t locking into place correctly, so everytime I moved the M200 the screen latch would move up or down, triggering a display mode switch.

Given this was a reproducible hardware issue, I again called my local Toshiba Service Centre, and they agreed to fix it under warranty. They promised they’d keep me up to date on the progress of the fix, but I didn’t hear anything from them for two weeks. When I went to pick up the “repaired” laptop, I checked the screen latch and discovered it was just as bad as before. I mentioned this to the technician, and he told me “it’s a common problem and we don’t have a fix for it, so I just modified the registry to adjust the tolerance on the screen rotation utility”. I told him that wasn’t anywhere near good enough and that if they couldn’t repair an obvious hardware fault they should replace the laptop. His response? “As far as I’m concerned the problem’s gone mate, case closed”.

In all my dealings with Toshiba customer service, they’ve either given me the runaround (Toshiba Australia phone support), or flat out told me they weren’t interested in helping me anymore (Toshiba Mobile Care Service Centre). In the end, three weeks after I bought my M200, I have a dodgy screen that Toshiba refuses to fix, a completely unacceptable “workaround” that won’t survive a re-install, no way to install the Windows XP Tablet PC 2005 Edition license I own without paying through the nose, and absolutely no way to install the Microsoft OneNote license I own. I’m thousands of dollars out of pocket and my brand new Tablet PC is basically an unusable chunk of broken plastic. I’m absolutely sickened by they way I’ve been treated by Toshiba, and will never buy another Toshiba product.

If you’re thinking about buying Toshiba, I’d urge you to think again. Once they have your money, you mean nothing to them. Toshiba simply doesn’t care about supporting its customers.

Update, 02 June 2006: Toshiba US contacted me offering to send me replacement recovery disks, but after 1.5 months I still haven’t received anything, nor have they responded to any emails I’ve sent. Toshiba Australia responded with a “commerical in confidence” email, so I’d rather not repeat their reponse, save to say that they won’t be offering me any kind of help or support.

28 Responses to “I’ll Never Buy Toshiba Again”

  1. Did the unit ship with Recovery CD/DVD? The OEM has to provide you with some form of recovery option.

  2. It didn’t ship with a recovery CD (or any CDs at all). From what Toshiba customer “support” has told me, their policy is that they don’t ship recovery CDs with the M200, all re-installs have to be done by Toshiba themselves, and regardless of whether the unit is under warranty or not there is a fee associated with the re-install. Basically, if (e.g. when) anything ever goes wrong with your Windows installation you have to pay Toshiba a fee to get your system back up and running.

    I find it very hard to believe that a company can operate like that, but I’ve rang Toshiba support multiple times about this and have been put through to someone different each time, and every support person has told me the same thing.

  3. Tracy Hooten says:

    What a bunch of bull. Gosh, I like my tablet, but I’m with you, I HATE toshiba. Both my M200′s came with a Recovery DVD and that was only a few months ago. Did that contact I gave you help any?

    $80 for something that’s THEIR problem, plus a loss in software?!? Holy cow! It’s a wonder they stay in business, really.

    I have many theories about Toshiba repair support techs. One is that when you call, they put down in some file exactly what they told you so that other techs (because they know you’re gonna call again) can repeat the same thing and make you feel stupid/frustrated.

    Another is that it’s not really humans on the other line (it can’t be possible to train humans to be so in-compassionate and unresponsive), it’s just an automated response phone system like the credit card companies use. Every voice has a thick accent so you can’t tell it’s a computer voice.

  4. Hi Tracy,

    The guy’s on holiday until next Monday, so hopefully I’ll get a response next week.

    If you received a recovery DVD then I don’t know why Toshiba support is telling me they don’t bundle them. I think the call centre probably gets paid by the call, so the emphasis is on getting the customer off the phone as quickly as possible. Some bright spark must have figured out that telling a customer that Toshiba won’t help them is the fastest way to get them off the phone.

    I just can’t understand why they won’t just give me a recovery CD; it’d save a lot of hassle. If they’re bundling them with some M200s they obviously don’t mind some customers having them. The local service centre must have a recovery CD of some sort (they’ve got to do the re-install somehow), so I don’t see why they can’t burn a copy for a customer who’s just spend thousands of dollars on their product. I’ve also asked about ordering a recovery CD, but have been told that that’s not possible. Doing a bit of googling I found that you can in Europe though, so I don’t know if the local support guys are just giving me the run-around.

    What frustrates me most is that I can’t get a straight answer out of them; what they’re telling me and what I’m reading on the web sometimes don’t match up. I think you’re right: they simply don’t care. They either try to get me off the phone as quickly as possible, or they just make up a “you can’t do that” excuse to whatever question I’m asking and then repeat it over and over until I give up in frustration.

  5. André says:

    Hi for all..

    i’m using toshba M200-170 till now it’s ok…

    i found the recover DVD with the tablet PC.. so no problemes of this kind… all the drivers on other CD..

    the onley problem is that windows is in french… and i could’nt find a mui to change to french…

    and it’s not necessary to use Norton Anti virus.. or Norton internet security…

    because the securty of windows tablet … is better..;(that if u r not looking for or programing virusus)

  6. Eddy says:

    Toshiba, i will never ever buy another product of yours. I hate you so much it makes my brain bleed

  7. Jason Kaiser says:

    I just bought an M400, and it seems fine so far. I haven’t yet had to deal with their customer support yet, so here’s hoping they don’t treat me like they did you.

    I didn’t receive any cd’s whatsoever from toshiba, I had a recovery partition on my hard disk, and I just burned my own recovery CD’s from an application they included on the desktop. I then did a reinstall of the OS and had no problems with the discs I burned. I actually had a onenote license with my tablet and it inlcluded the key code, so it was no problem to reinstall. I will keep in mind though the many complaints I’ve heard about Toshiba support the next time I’m in the market.

  8. Mathias says:

    I made the same experience with Toshiba. No reply on email-support questions. After having bought the computer we seem to be only annoying to them.
    I`ll Never buy a Toshiba again !!!

  9. Jim says:

    UK experience.
    If you want terrible support go for Toshiba. Personally I will never buy from Toshiba again. I got a Toshiba Tecra M4 and within a few months the display failed due to a motherboard flaw. The runaround and phone calls required to get it repaired was ridiculous. AND they bodged the repair (replaced motherboard) first time so I had to send it back again. Stay Away From Toshiba, I know I will in the future.

  10. Duckz says:

    Got m200 and r100

    R100 -> throw away the windows and go for linux! recovery cd is JUNK! doesnt even boot without pcmcia cdrom (guess what? have to be toshiba pcmcia!)

    m200 -> got recovery cd, uses them flawlessly,8 month = broken keyboard, 1 year = broken charger-> hahahha a laptop that wont even power up.

    conclusion?. Older toshiba model is much better than newer (china made) model. not really reliable and its a laugh to purchase ORIGINAL windows XP license but unable to reinstall them.

  11. Sam says:

    Why don’t you just contact consumer affairs in your state and complain – they’re selling you a defective product and you should be entitled to a refund at least.


  12. Sam: Unfortunately I’ve been there, done that, and there’s not much chance of a refund: their advice was that since Toshiba won’t admit there’s something wrong with the laptop I’d have to prove otherwise. I don’t want to get involved in any kind of prolonged argument with Toshiba over this, since they’ve repeatedly shown that they simply don’t care about customers or their problems and they’ve already taken up far too much of my time.

    At this point, while the Tablet PC isn’t perfect, it is usable. I’ve overcome the OS issue by installing an MSDN copy of Windows XP Tablet PC Edition (and about 20 different drivers from the Toshiba website), and I’ve managed to hack together a fix for the screen issue by taking the unit apart and adjusting the latching mechanism. I’m still not happy, and it’s cost me a lot of time and grief, but at the moment I can get by with what I’ve got.

  13. Phoenix says:

    I have my own share of experience too. Brand new notebook, plugged into the outlet and didnt work, send it back to toshiba and they have the nerf to tell me that the power surge kill the power pack and it is not under warranty (till i bug them for days). Its been there for a month and they still hasnt got it back to me yet. I’d buy a dell anytime, but never again a toshiba.

  14. Not Happy says:

    I have a new M70 – 3rd motherboard failure in 3 months, and I am just about ready to shove it up someone’s date.

    First (and last) Toshiba ever. Ever. Period.

  15. Michael Ly says:

    Hi all,

    Does anyone have an extra or copy of recovery CD for Toshiba M4, I will pay for it. I am having trouble reaching and understanding Toshiba’s rep. and Technical Support, it is totally a nightmare – You know how it is to talk to someone in India and they are follow the book…..
    I would appreciate if someone can send me one, I will compensate for the cost.
    Thank you very much.

  16. Sorry Michael, I don’t have one, the recovery disk Toshiba promised to send me never arrived. You’re right about Toshiba support, I think it’s pointless wasting your time with them. Probably your best bet would be to try and find the recovery disk on eBay.

  17. Fred Liu says:

    I agree. I bought a Satellite a100, and The Product Recovery DVD does not work. It says hard drive is corrupt, but that was the same error message with my other laptop, which was the same one.

  18. rasas says:

    Hi all,

    Does anyone have an extra or copy of recovery CD for Toshiba m200, I will pay for it. I am having trouble reaching and understanding Toshiba’s rep. and Technical Support, it is totally a nightmare -
    I would appreciate if someone can send me one, I will compensate for the cost.
    Thank you very much.



  19. Chemist says:

    IF anyone needs a copy of the M200 recovery disk(s), I got them. My tablet runs perfect, all these problems I have never had. Well maybe the OS reinstall, but wtf why give it to Toshiba to do, when you can just do it yourself for free and quicker.

  20. John says:

    I bought a Tecra A6. After 3 months it stopped suddenly. I took it back to the Toshiba reseller who told me that they couldn’t fix it but to take it back to Toshiba Mobile Care. I left it with Mobile Care after they informed me that it would take between 3 and 5 days to repair. I contacted them after day 2 and was told that they had ordered a Main Board and a CPU, that the Main Board had arrived but not the CPU. I contacted again after day 4 and was told that the replacement Main Board didn’t fix the problem but they would try a replacement VGA card (?). I contacted on day 5 and was told that the replacement VGA card didn’t fix the problem so they would have to try the CPU which hadn’t arrived. Mobile Care called me back later that day to advise that Toshiba had no CPUs and that they were on back-order for another 3 weeks. To summarise, it took Mobile Care 5 working days to interchange two parts and order a 3rd and it may be fixed 1 month after the problem. I have used Toshiba Notebooks extensively for a number of years and never had a problem but now I have had a problem I find that the service support is terrible…..how can one of world’s largest notebook manufacturers not have a spare CPU?

  21. jesse says:

    I bought an M400 and the screen was on crooked. It took many calls before they would replace it. The next one had a broken pen. I took it in for repair (yes repair, because they would not replace the pen without inspection), and 2 weeks later I was told nothing was wrong and that they had done nothing. I’ve already registered a BBB complaint, and I urge anyone else with similar problems to do the same. I have dealt with Dell tech support, MS, Bell, etc, and while they are all annoying they usually do solve the problem. Toshiba does not care beyond the original sale.

  22. Lewis says:


    Please e-mail with a price for a copy of the recovery disk, My tablet PC has been great up until now when I need to reinstall the operating system, no chance of getting them from Toshiba


    e-mail: lewis.hall@inbox.com

  23. rutabega says:

    I bought an m200, but the xp on it is not great. Can someone send a copy of the recovery disc to me?

  24. Raphael Salgado says:

    I too need the M200 Recovery disc. My M200 is totally hosed and I don’t have any other method of getting it restored back to specs. Please help! Thanks!

    raphael143 AT -msn.com

  25. Lars says:

    I just got me a used M200 but were struck by a virus that killed my windows… :( and NOW i find out that my recovery discs are faulty :( And toshiba those idiots say that they dont have them anymore because of a agreement with microsoft. Microsoft dont wanted them to have any discs with XP SP1.. and guess what.. the recovery discs are SP1 and therefore destructed.. Do you have a replacement for them then.. noooo why should they.. its discontinued.. in other words “screw you silly customer”…

    in short.. Does anyone have a M200 recovery disc they could send to me eventually ?.. (email, ftp, letter (will pay the costs), ect.)

    Greetings from denmark

    Larskolind -AT- msn.com

  26. francis m says:

    I too have felt Toshiba’s sting. I bought a Notebook from them some years back in the Windows ME stage. The cpu was a piece of crap the screen had problems fromthe get go, was hard to see would fade out by itself during typing etc, the unit itself would overheat to dangerous proportions duting normal operation, and even when just in screen saver mode. I called Toshiba and I went threw the same isses expressed here but I refused to give them any money, I just bought a new one. The gresat part was the jolk was on Toshiba. I paid with a cheque and couldn’t make it to the bank to transfer the funds to cover it, thus when my laptop screwed up and Toshiba refused to help I didn’t transfer any cash so the store called and wanted the crappy laptop back whic hI gladly gave them. Then I bought a MAC, nothing but hapinesss.

  27. John P says:

    Believe it or not (and it does sound far fetched) the problem with the Recovery DVD not working can be caused by the hard-drive label including one or more spaces!

    e.g Label= ‘BigDisk’ – Recovery DVD works
    but Label=’Big Disk’ – no joy

    Toshiba ‘support’ totally ignorant of this issue

  28. DOn says:

    Just the fact that the m200 external USB Drive costs that much and is intended to be the only one properly working is deep shit from toshiba.
    I´ll never buy Toshiba again >:|
    Had no Recovery CD with my M200 and had quite some work to get it run.