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back to article Tech support blog removes Toshiba manuals after legal letter

An Australian blogger whose site offers an archive of service manuals for laptop computers has complied with a request from Toshiba Australia's lawyers to remove the company's documentation from his site. Tim Hicks' Future Proof blog is the field service's engineer's personal project and aims, he told The Reg, to provide a …

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Bronze badge
Holmes

Do I have psychic powers?

I'd like to claim I can see the future, but not really. However, it might be bad karma catching up with Toshiba?

What I can say is that my previous three computers were Toshibas, and one of the reasons was the ease of finding English versions of their manuals on the Web. It didn't bother me too much where I found them, and in general I have not been "amused" with Toshiba's own websites.

About the same time these "valuable" copies of the Toshiba manuals were being disappeared, I was buying a new computer. It was NOT a Toshiba, and this story makes me feel kind of glad that I switched brands. It wasn't the reason, but maybe there was a karmic thing going on there... I certainly looked at Toshibas, and my experiences with the last three had mostly been satisfactory, but something still motivated me to try something different.

I don't want to say what the new one was... I haven't yet decided if I endorse that maker, though most of my impressions of the new machine have been favorable.

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WTF?

Toshiba...

What a bunch of twits!

Honestly how many laymen would actually be interested in something like this? But that blog sounds like an invaluable resource for techies working on older gear.

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Silver badge
FAIL

So post copies on US sites

How about < http://www.scribd.com/ >, < http://leakdirectory.org/index.php/Cryptome.org >.

For a greater selection of 'leak' sites check oout: < http://leakdirectory.org/index.php/Leak_Site_Directory >.

These people eat Toshiba threats as snacks. Toshiba, a computer NOT to buy.

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Silver badge

Thank you Toshiba!

“We are concerned that by providing the manuals to unqualified person [sic] you may be endangering their well-being”.

You have literally saved my life. Until now, I didn't realize that I was taking such a big chance when fixing computers. Perhaps I owe my good luck so far to not having worked with a Toshiba. Had I done that I probably wouldn't be here, and instead this story would have featured a picture of my charred remains as a warning to others.

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Childcatcher

Re: Thank you Toshiba!

While I wouldn't say fixing a computer is dangerous in general, most techs, including myself, could tell stories about those rare occasions when things go tits up. Like the time that PSU literally exploded next to my head... thankfully none of the shrapnel managed to leave the case, but the large bit of metal sticking out the side of the PSU not to mention the noise and smoke nearly gave me a heart attack...

And then there is dealing with older style CRT monitors... death traps that they are. So yes, a laymen could hurt themselves... not that I give any credence to the bollocks Toshiba is peddling.

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Silver badge

Re: Thank you Toshiba!

> So yes, a laymen [sic] could hurt themselves.

More likely by dropping it on their toe than by any inept repair attempt, especially if they had the manual with all the "warning: don't touch this bit" stickers.

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TRT
Silver badge

Re: Thank you Toshiba!

Surely attempting a repair WITHOUT the correct information is more dangerous? I've sometimes had to resort to prying a laptop case open with brute force as there was no clue where to apply the magic touch, resulting in broken plastic shards and insecure cases once reassembled.

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Re: Thank you Toshiba!

I don't agree with you. I have NEVER in my 16 year career had to resort to brute force, even without a service guide. A good careful 10 minute scan of the device usually bears fruit. Under rubber feet, trim covers, even stickers, screws are never really invisible if you're eagle eyed enough. Even plastic clips like the tough ones holding TFT fascias together can be released gently with enough care. If you break it you're probably in a rush and need to slow down. Customers would rather you take time to get it right rather than the laptop looking worse coming out than it did going in!!

It's probably your shop that's causing the influx of damaged laptops with broken cases and long screws in short holes or missing screws that have been coming in my shop lately. Are you PC World, by any chance??

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Silver badge
Go

"…Toshiba (Australia) … does not make its service manuals available to the general public.”

And this member of the general public has just made it personal policy, as well as the policy of the company he works for, to not buy laptops from Toshiba.

Yes, I can play that game too.

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Streisand

I did not know that the maintenance manual for my old laptop was available for free download all over the internet. Thankyou Toshiba for pointing it out.

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FAIL

'ello tosh.... no more Toshibas...

Having cleaned up several bodged laptop repair jobs by local shops, Im slightly amazed at the arrogance of Toshibe - whose products will now no longer be given a favourable opinion by myself when I am consulted by froiends looking to buy - nor will this current satellite - one of several I have had through my hands - be replaced with another Toshiba product - ending a relationship that gopes all the way back to the MSX machine they marketed in the mid 80's. Professional repair shops often drop the ball and it falls to guys like me to pick up the pieces, yes we know Toshiba et al would rather we all just lobbed broken kit into landfill and procured new stuff - but in real life - and this economy - it doesnt work that way. Im also certain that rival forms wouldnt be stymied without a manual when they tear down Toshibas products to see what makes them tick, which makes the stance of Toshiba in this respect seem very petty and imature.

Modern business really doesnt understand customer relations does it?

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from a one time tosh engineer

What a load of cobblers . The service manuals for older out of warranty machines do no harm at all . At worst they help people take old kit apart to service and fix without breaking them further . As for propriety information .... Like what how many gazillion screws hold it together . Theres no trade secrets in them that couldnt be had by say your competitor and a screwdriver .

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I suspect the point is that to go on official repair course costs many £100's so having manuals available online would reduce their income stream.

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Also if you could repair your old laptop you might not bother buying a new one.

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I'll have a p please Bob

Well at two of them in support.

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Meh

Yawn.....

freely available from your favourite torrent site, just use the google torrent search engine to find them.

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Re: Yawn.....

What!!! 2 downvotes for stating the obvious!! Once something like that is available free of DRM, well, it's just free.

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I like to RTFM

I repaired a dead Toshiba Tecra M9 recently using a downloaded service manual - which I found invaluable, even though I'm very experienced with PC hardware.

Preventing access to the manuals is just plain anti-social. I hope it costs them a small reduction in residual values and hence a few or more new product sales.

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Go

Re: I like to RTFM

I heartily agree with this, well said. Even though we're experienced (I have 17 years exp) it's good to research how new machines come apart, plus I like to have schematics for board repair. I'm a big technical bookworm, so whether it's an instruction leaflet for a calculator or a MASSIVE maintenance manual for a Boeing 737 (I have one, courtesy of WikiLeaks!), I love reading it! I wish I had a scrap 737 to pull to bits.....!

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FAIL

Toshiba has a long history

Toshiba has had this attitude for decades. A long time ago I was doing something on a 486 Toshiba laptop and emailed them for some simple info, which given my knowledge at the time may have related more to software and boot issues. The reply was to take it in for authorized service. Over the years I found that Toshiba is the least helpful OEM when it comes to online support. For example, they are the only hard drive manufacturer I'm aware of that has no diagnostic utility available.

At Hardware Central Forums, the post that I think holds their record for views at 1,022,195 is one for XP drivers for Toshiba laptops, back in 2007 when many people were wiping Vista and installing XP. While most, if not all other OEM's had XP drivers available, Toshiba's attitude was seemingly, "We sold it with VIsta, if you don't like it, fuck off." There are two other Toshiba XP driver related HWC posts from that same time with over 100,000 views.

I had a Toshiba Satellite Cel 2G laptop, bought used with a dead hard drive, that I took apart a year or so ago to clean the cpu hsf radiator and reoil the fan and it was the easiest to work on ever. Kudos to the actual manufacturer. But Toshiba? I'd never buy one if I were buying new, because of their woeful support.

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Meh

It should be noted that it can cost a manufacturer up to $75,000 to start a lawsuit of this nature. They don't want to do it anymore than you do.

PK

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FAIL

Ah, yes, Toshiba laptops

and the two hour 4-DVD ROM " Back-up/Restore Disc " creation process at install. Good reason to remember that well. They never worked.

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FAIL

Toshiba just does not get it. Arrogant!

Here is yet another reason not to ever use Toshiba kit ever again. I refurbish a lot of laptops, and the Toshiba brand has long been last on my list of recommendations to buyers. Even with the service manuals, Toshiba laptops have a downright kinky design and they are extremely difficult to service. It's almost as though they are designed that way so people will simply throw them away and buy another when they break.

I have long been critical of Toshiba as the only hard drive manufacturer that does not provide its own hard drive diagnostics to be used to test and field-recertify hard drives. Toshiba hard drives seem to have a worse than average failure rate. Coincidence? Maybe.

Toshiba continues to insult and disrespect customers and independent service providers. Seems like the company does not have any marketing or public relations people to temper its corporate arrogance... Ben Myers

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Mushroom

I see their point!

I have used Tim's site many times, as I repair anything from computers to lawnmowers, so any service literature I can get I tend to download and keep for my staff to use internally. I see where Toshiba is coming from, as inexperienced customers tend to try doing it themselves and end up causing more damage, the amount of times I've put DIY work right, even on cars, in my company is astounding. Laptops, cars, tellies, lawnmowers, it doesn't matter, even a mains pylon at 33,000V AC, some gullible stupid people WILL try fixing it blindly, causing themselves more cost!

At least Tim has the decency to offer them for free when he finds them. Arseholes on TradeBit just find them free and then sell them for an extortionate price, it is THOSE people the lawyers should be going after as they're reselling copyrighted intellectual property without obtaining the copyright owner's permission. Tim is only keeping free what he finds free in the wild and I salute him for it.

There are sites out there like me that have actually cloned Tim's site and still host the manuals. I don't offer what I find to the public as I'm a company that repairs the stuff, I need to make money, and for the fact of inexperienced DIY'ers, see above. I also don't want to be sued just because I want the literature to be able to do my job to a professional factory standard, which I take VERY high pride in. Customers and professionalism are my two priorities.

Tim, thankyou! I couldn't have serviced all the Toshiba laptops that I have so efficiently if it wasn't for you. I'm just glad I saved the manuals before the inevitable happened. Knowing things like screw tightening torques, voltages and resistances makes my job so much easier because I actually repair to board level unlike 95% of companies. Mitac's manuals are awesome for the schematics and detail, even if they are Chinglish! They don't seem to mind their manuals floating around either, I have collected many from various sources, both free and paid.

A little "hint-hint-wink-wink" to my fellow engineers: www.manual-archives.com - $8 a month and unlimited access to 100,000 manuals for allsorts of electrical goodnesss! It's an electronics engineer's heaven, and much cheaper than £10 per manual on TradeBit!

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