Decent Toshiba CPU Speed!

I have a Toshiba Tecra M2 laptop that normally runs Ubuntu.  It used to run Windows a while back, and after that Gentoo.  One thing I noticed while running Linux on it was that I could never get the CPU speed to go above 598 Mhz, or if was lucky 600 Mhz.  I thought for the longest time that this was a software issue, with the operating system itself.  And then I tried Windows again.

I have the original hard disk, with Windows, just in case.  (I used a new disk for my Linux install, rather than dual-booting.)  So, I stuck it in, and took a look at the speed reported in My Computer.  I was surprised to see that it too reported the speed as 598 Mhz.  Shocked, I hunted around on the Web.

It turns out that if you replace the processor or motherboard on a Tecra or similar laptop, it can mess up the CPU speed table.  The speed getting stuck at 598 Mhz is a common problem.  There is a fix for this, however.  Basically, you need a Toshiba utility which creates a boot floppy.  You boot the computer to the floppy, which runs a simple program that updates the BIOS.

You can find some details here.  Now, the link to the utility doesn’t work, so there is a mirror here.  If that mirror is down, I have it mirrored on my own server: pom200t1-v15.  Note that if you don’t have a floppy drive on my laptop (mine didn’t), you’ll need a USB floppy drive — I was able to use one with no trouble.  Note also that though this worked for me, I am not responsible for any damage to your system if it does not work.  You have been warned.

Well, I still use CPU speed scaling on Ubuntu, but now the speed does go up to 1.4 Ghz.  Note that this will probably reduce your battery life.  But, it’s still nice having this power.  Hopefully, this will help some of you struggling with this.

7 thoughts on “Decent Toshiba CPU Speed!”

  1. I had the same problem with my Toshiba Tecra M1 after replacing the motherboard. Stuck at 598 Mhz. First I made the bootfloppy and with that floppy i made a bootable cd (i dont have a built-in floppy drive). After running my M1 is working great again! Thanks!

  2. Yeah, that problem was bothering me for a long time, glad you were able to get your’s working too. It would have been nice if there were more documentation, but I guess it might not have been a very common problem.

    1. That’s awesome, glad it worked for you. My Tecra has since kicked the bucket, but back when I got the CPU speed working again it was a nice machine.

  3. Thanks Ben for keeping this blog post around. I have two Tecra M2s – started with one, bought a second for parts to resolve this exact problem.
    I did change CPU beforehand, but didn’t notice the throttling issue until much later.
    Five years I have been tinkering with this. Tonight – lucked on the right search terms and bam, found this.
    Dusted off the USB floppy drive – both laptops fixed in under five minutes.

    Legend!

  4. Hi,

    I’ve tried your solution but failed so far. I downloaded the exe you provided under the link, then I downloaded Virtual Floppy Drive and ran the your exe. It extracted itself into the virtual floppy, then I burned a boot CD using the content of the floppy (I don’t have a floppy in my Tecra M1). The CD burner software requested to specify which file should be loaded at boot, which I set to boot.com. After restart the computer booted from the CD and loaded a program that had something like “Intel …” written in the first line. Below it, it displayed the mac address of the laptop, and it went on to look for DHCP, which failed. Here I stopped. Any recommendations?

    Thanks,
    Arpad

    1. Arpad,

      My Tecra died a long time ago, something with the motherboard I believe, and I haven’t tried to resurrect it. Your problem, though, is that your laptop is trying to boot via PXE – that is, the BIOS is looking on the network for a DHCP server that can also serve it an image to boot from, instead of trying to boot from the CD. First, I would go into the BIOS and make sure the CD is selected as the first boot device. You might also try bringing up a bootable devices menu and selecting the CD (I don’t remember if you can do this on the Tecra).

      If all else fails, I would recommend trying to track down a USB floppy drive and disk. It’s not the most convenient, seeing as usage of that media is dwindling, but from what I can remember I would say that this is the best advice I can give.

      Good luck,
      Ben

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