Sadly, it seems the laptop I was so enthusiastically trying to keep going has now passed on. Died in its sleep. I tried booting up as normal this morning, but was not greeted by the red Toshiba logo. Uh oh, no bios.
I tried removing the peripherals, and even the hard drive. When you remove the hard drive, you should get a message from the bios that goes something like this: “no disk”. But now, I get nothing. It is clinically braindead. You need the bios to be able to boot. And if something is very wrong with the bios, then I think it will (in this case) probably be a hardware related problem.
Unfortunately, replacing this old motherboard is just a bridge too far. Too expensive and too much trouble. I doubt flashing the bios is going to do anything, but that is the last thing I can try. After that, I will officially pronounce it dead.
The laptop suddenly works again, much to my surprise. I am still worried, because I have absolutely no idea whatsoever *why* it is now working again. Problems never fix themselves, and I certainly didn’t fix anything. So as far as I know, it could refuse to work again at any time. And the only thing worse than when something does not work, is when something doesn’t work reliably. I can rely on a broken laptop, to remain broken and useless, so I know where I stand. But I cannot rely on this thing. I’ll try using it for a few more days, to see how it goes. But if it stops working at any time, it will be as good as completely broken to me.