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Toshiba laptop service manuals and the sorry state of copyright law (tim.id.au)
104 points by nkurz 1781 days ago | hide | past | web | 56 comments | favorite

It's not about copyright law, it's about Toshiba:

Toshiba simply doesn't want its service manuals to be distributed by third parties and it might not even want to distribute its service manuals via its own channels. My lesson is to avoid Toshiba and companies with a similar behavior – I take such behavior as a signal.

As a side note on copyright law: In some European countries at least, service manuals don't reach the level of creativity and originality required by copyright law, i.e., hosting the site in such a country could by an option. Switzerland has a certain reputation for a relatively liberal copyright law (although at the price of the world's highest copyright fees on hardware that could be used to copy content).

I think Hanlon's razor should be applied in this instance.

This strikes me as the work of an overzealous legal team more so than a symptom of a broader corporate strategy.

They see copyright infringement, they shut it down. As far as the legal team are concerned, it's that simple. That's their policy, and the protestations of someone who, in their eyes, is breaking the law and harming their business, is not going to change that.

When I buy hardware, I don't buy it from a "team" or a "department". I buy it from a company. It's the company that I deal with. So I don't really care if it is an "overzealous legal team" — the letters were signed by "Toshiba", just as the laptop I was about to buy.

Oh sure, the upshot is a punch in the face for the public relations department, and perhaps a bunch of extra work for customer services, as well as the cost of maintaining a legal department with nothing better to do.

If they conducted an audit of the policy taking into account its effects on all areas of the business, they'd probably determine it was a waste of time and money, and adopt a more laissez-faire attitude as Dell, HP, and even Apple do.

It irks me when people see corporations as these cohesive entities that only ever act with deliberate intent. In reality, if you conducted a survey of Toshiba staff, I'm sure a sizeable number of them would disagree with this policy.

> It irks me when people see corporations as these cohesive entities that only ever act with deliberate intent.

How else should we see it? Corporations are an abstraction layer, they're supposed to hide their inner workings and present one face to the customers. Hell, a corporation is a (legal) person. So I don't see a reason to not treat it as an whole, abstract entity - it's the corporation's job to figure out which internal part is causing them to have a bad name.

> How else should we see it?

I see it as it is; a constantly morphing organism, made up of thousands of people with conflicting interests and ideas, trying but often failing to present a cohesive image of itself to the public.

What, in your opinion, is the whole point behind a brand name?

We see arguments similar to yours when the subject of the Sony rootkit fiasco comes up. "It's not Sony's fault, it was just a rogue actor in a subsidiary." Um, no. The CD says "Sony" on it. That means it's Sony's fault. They spend a lot of money on branding and advertising to make sure that no one ever forgets that.

So let's not forget it.

I don't really buy into brand names, so I'm probably the wrong person to ask.

The way I see it, companies seek to use brands to exploit irrational consumer behavior, to increase their revenue beyond the level that would prevail in the absence of brands.

Yours appears to be the equal and opposite reaction to this; attacking brands and urging boycotts so as to decrease their revenue below this ordinary level.

I am advocating the middle way. Don't pay over the odds for a brand name, but equally don't boycott products or services just because you don't like the brand.

This is all true. But standing out the outside and pretending that they behave 'as intended' that is to say as a monolithic single entity, and then to guess about their behavior is counterproductive, especially if it is known that the company in question -does- deviate significantly from being a monolith.

Basically you kind of have to take both positions. Knowledge that a company is made up of bickering idiots doesn't excuse the company from acting coherently. But ignoring that fact while trying to analyze and predict a company isn't very useful either.

At the end of the day, the only organizations that are allowed to represent the company's intent are the Legal Organization, the Marketing, and, the CEO. All other bodies are required to communicate with those three prior to representing the company's intent.

Those three go to a lot of effort to be consistent, and accurate before issuing public communications.

I am reasonably certain (let's say 90%) - that Toshiba put some effort into deciding that their policy, as a whole, would be to shut down third-party distribution of their service manuals. This is not the case of an overly enthusiastic legal department. This is their company policy. Suggesting otherwise is giving them credit where it is not due.

"Toshiba simply doesn't want its service manuals to be distributed by third parties and it might not even want to distribute its service manuals via its own channels. My lesson is to avoid Toshiba and companies with a similar behavior – I take such behavior as a signal."


I recently bought a phone from Cricket. A major thing that helped me make that decision was that Cricket provides pdfs of the manuals of all (most?) of their phones online, on the public shopping pages. You don't even have to be a customer. You don't have to be logged in.

"avoid Toshiba and companies with a similar behavior – I take such behavior as a signal."

What specifically is it a signal of though? What is the specific thing you feel you are protecting yourself against by noting this signal?

Here's an example of a "signal" that I just interpreted. I made an inquiry at Rackspace and the sales person was all over me for the transaction. Then I had questions about the AUP. The salesman responded with a 1 sentence answer which basically restated the AUP. I wrote back saying I already knew that and restated the questions. The salesman still hasn't (4 days later) written back. Even though the other questions were answered super promptly. Same day with gusto. (I don't expect I will hear back). But I've received several canned emails pushing me on how easy it is to setup the account and get going!

To me that is a signal. He is all over us when he might get business. But isn't able to answer a few simple questions and he hasn't even closed the sale yet. To me that is a strong reason for me at least to avoid this company. A signal.

This reminds me of recently buying a Samsung dryer. We had to side-vent the dryer, which is atypical, due to space constraints. However, Samsung and Best Buy kept telling us it was no big deal: you can just buy a side venting kit and do it yourself.

The kit's first step is "refer to your service manual" for disassembly. Service manual? We don't have one of those. They don't offer them on Samsung's website. I can't find anywhere to get them. Why are they telling me I can do something myself when they won't give me the information to do it? I started to read blog posts about people who would have to find DIY experts online who would sell them out of date manuals for kind-of-similar dryers in an attempt to fix it. Now that seems like a safety issue.

That's why I've been buying Thinkpads for years and I will probably keep buying them: IBM's (now Lenovo) service manuals are public, and incredibly detailed.

Disassembling a Thinkpad is just a matter of following simple step-by-step instructions on a PDF. Thinkpads are also very well designed, with less screws and more accessible components than most other makers.

They're also made out of better stuff; most laptops are not built from magnesium and carbon fiber.

I don't know about fewer screws though. I've disassembled quite a few laptops and I'd say Thinkpads have above average screw counts. It's part of the reason they don't come apart on their own.

Although I wouldn't generally recommend to a normal person, this being hackernews, I can confidently recommend a Clevo. These laptops come with reference hardware which means that you don't need to wait for your manufacturer to release their versions of the latest drivers. This becomes a problem especially with display cards, with AMD/ATi and Nvidia releasing new drivers quite aggressively while the large companies take their own sweet time to customize the drivers to their hardware. Another thing I'd like to add is that as far as my knowledge goes, these guys use copper heatsinks/heatpipe system. Sure, you pay for it but good hardware makes for a longer lasting laptop.

The service manuals for Clevo are incredibly detailed, possibly almost as much as those Thinkpad ones. Reiterating again, the sheer joy of installing reference drivers over the course of years definitely outshines any advantages that I'd get by saving a few hundred bucks if I'd have gone with a popular laptop brand.

Most laptops can have vanilla OS installations with OEM drivers, unless something changed with laptops in the past couple of years that I didn't notice.

Generally the first thing I do with a new laptop is repave with fresh OS, etc. Weird hardware is relatively rare.

Most may. But there are some laptops which absolutely require the laptop manufacturers drivers for the equipment to work. THAT is very annoying.

Why would companies want you to service your laptop when you should either buy another one ($$) or take it to their own blessed service company to fix ($)?

Oh, well, there was a slim chance of buying Toshiba, but now I'll just have a small mental note to purposefully avoid them.

Precisely the point - we have a choice. Thank you for that reminder. I am looking to buy a laptop and will do likewise.

I evaluated Toshiba laptops during my shopping for personal laptop last year, however the price was not impress (in Singapore) and the build seemed flimsy compared to ThinkPad. So for more high-end options I would go for a ThinkPad or MacBook(with VM), for cheaper alternatives I would go for Dell or Asus. I still don't see much competitiveness for Toshiba laptops (and also Fujitsu, just FYI).

After some considerations, I found myself couldn't be too happy without a decent command line interface, ergo I bought a 15" MacBook Pro and upgraded it to 16GB of memory. The office suite that I use once in a while is taken care by Win7 running in a VM.

I report that I am a happy man now and have no regret. Every cent spent on MBP is worth-while. This post is not meant to hard-sell Apple laptop, just sharing my own shopping experience.

I run iFixit [1]. We started writing our own repair manuals because of this very issue way back in 2003. Apple has been very aggressively protecting their copyright on service manuals pretty much since the dawn of the internet. Here's an example of them going after Something Awful [2]. Many of the sites they've gone after have ceased to exist.

Since then, with the help of tens of thousands of incredible repair technicians around the world, we have built the largest free repair manual [3]. Because we write them ourselves, the manufacturers can't shut us down. The community has written over 6,000 manuals, and you can download and reproduce any of them to your heart's content. We even post all of our manuals on bittorrent [4] and the internet archive so they are guaranteed to be free forever.

Here's our Toshiba laptop service manual: http://www.ifixit.com/Device/Toshiba_Laptop

We've made progress on half a dozen laptops so far, with more on the way. Not nearly as comprehensive as what Tim had, but it's a start.

Toshiba is not an outlier here—they represent the status quo. Many manufacturers haven't gotten around to issuing these C&D letters, but it's perfectly within their right. Any site hosting manufacturer service manuals without permission is at risk of a shutdown like this at any time.

That's why what we do at iFixit is so important. The world needs to know how to fix these products. Repair is critical for the environment [5]. Repair helps bridge the digital divide by keeping the secondhand electronics market alive. [6] And electronics repair represents hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States alone.

We cannot rely on the good will of manufacturers. Yes, many of them have looked the other way and ignored sites like timix's, but that is unlikely to continue. We have three options:

* Create a free and open alternative to the manufacturer's service manuals (that's what we're doing at iFixit).

* Pressure the manufacturers to waive copyright to their manuals so that we can reproduce them. Dell, HP, and Lenovo are the best targets for this because they already provide manuals online. (I am involved in discussions with some OEMs to make this happen. The more public support we have, the more success we'll have.)

* Legislate. The auto manufacturers refused to provide independent shops with the information they needed, so they banded together and just passed Right to Repair legislation in Massachusetts last week.

It's easy to say, "shame on Toshiba" and move on with your life. But this is not unique to Toshiba. No cell phone manufacturer makes their service manuals available. In fact, outside of the heavy equipment industry (where customers demand it) and the automotive industry (where legislation requires it), it's the rare manufacturer that does not use copyright to prevent publication of their service manuals.

I wrote the Self Repair Manifesto:http://ifixit.com/Manifesto

It's time to make the voice of the consumer known. It's time for us to stand up for ourselves. We have the right to repair our things, and to the information required to do it.

We are making some progress. The forthcoming green cell phone standard, UL 110, gives manufacturers environmental points for providing open source service manuals. That gain is tenuous and could be reversed at any time, but it's a foothold.

I've dedicated my life to making this information available, and we can't do it alone. We need to band together as a community and take a stand.

We would love help. Join us over at iFixit! Or, if you want to get involved with advocacy work, email me at kyle at ifixit and I'll happily point you in the right direction.

[1] http://www.ifixit.com/

[2] http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/Apple_Legal_Issues_Ce...

[3] http://www.ifixit.com/Guide

[4] http://www.ifixit.com/blog/2010/12/20/what-if-you-had-a-dvd-...

[5] http://ifixit.com/Info/Environment

[6] http://ifixit.org/2562/computer-repair-is-the-new-lemonade-s...

I would like to point something out here.

Your site says this:

"We admit it — we have to pay the bills. Selling parts is how we do that. We want to be able to afford to write new manuals, and the noncommercial requirement allows us to do that. We frequently grant usage licenses to commercial entities, so contact us with any inquiries."

On this page:


Specifically "We admit it — we have to pay the bills."

I'm not saying in any way this contradicts anything you are saying in particular. You do have to pay the bills. And Toshiba also has to pay the bills as well, even as a billion dollar company.

Is it my understanding that the OP could use your materials since they aren't "commercial"? And if so, what if they sold advertising and used your materials? Where do you draw the line (serious question and not trying to be snarky)?

Good question. I'm pretty open on that. The primary reason we did it was that people were taking our (free) manuals and reselling them on eBay. I felt bad for the poor people who were paying money for something that we were giving away. The non-commercial CC license lets us tell them to knock it off.

Tim is absolutely welcome to publish every single iFixit manual on his site. Heck, I'll give him an archive file if he wants.

Bottom-line: We want the manuals to get used. Whatever we can do to help people fix things, we'll get behind. That's why we do the bittorrent download of all our manuals. (Speaking of which, it's a bit out of date. I'll see if we can get updated ISOs pushed out in a few weeks.) We handle sites that run advertising pretty generously—we're happy to share if they're adding value (usually by translating the manuals).

By the way—the license only applies to distribution, not use. Hundreds of thousands of techs use iFixit manuals to sell their repair services and make a living. Many of them do pretty darn well for themselves. They are all awesome.

All of our manuals are available via our JSON API, by the way: http://www.ifixit.com/api/

Toshiba also has to pay the bills as well

Toshiba pays its bills by selling computers, or perhaps by selling preinstallation of mostly-useless trials of software and services on those computers. It does not pay its bills by selling service manuals, and probably wouldn't lose a measurable amount of money by making such manuals freely available.

Behavior like this, on the other hand might cost them a bit. It offends the sort of people other people ask for advice on new technology purchases. Offending me doesn't cost you a sale; it costs you ten sales. Offending this blogger probably cost them thousands of sales worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, though they'll never be able to measure it.

[Unless forced] it's the rare manufacturer that does not use copyright to prevent publication of their service manuals

Why do you think that is? Is it to make sure there are certified repair people who provide a predictable level of service and reduce competition for them? That seems pretty weak as a justification for putting any effort in to enforcement, but I don't have a very good understanding of the collective mind of a large corporation.

I find that sad. I've been able to extend the useful life of many of my older appliances by finding the repair manuals online and doing some simple fixes.

I was even able to reconfigure my old video projector to throw HD video, although the dealer who sold it to me told me it was impossible. The factory service manual had instructions :-)

The website owner is also talking about it on reddit : http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/12ydou/for_three...

The last windows machine I owned was a Toshiba laptop, though it was years ago. The machine had driver problems on OS updates, don't even think about downgrading the OS, linux was a royal PITA as well because of the slightly odd versions of the components, don't ever expect to have audio. The hardware was pushed to it's limit on basic use, it would get hot as hell, and battery life was about 2h.

Out of the box it was a so so machine, but every steps aside from the base install was an additional risk of loosing some functionality.

That's not what I would consider careful engineering nor reliable software, and I don't think they see any upside to people looking close at their hardware and risking bricking it while trying to service it.

My current notebook is a Toshiba Tecra M11-17Z; the first boot and 'Toshiba Setup' nonsense took an hour, it installed Toshiba utilities for just about everything. I was left with a slightly sluggish Windows 7. For a machine with such a high spec I can see why people might be disappointed.

I'm not a Windows guy, so I wiped it and installed Arch Linux. Everything 'just worked' (other than the fingerprint reader which required additional firmware), and I'm thoroughly satisfied with it. I still use it daily and have had no problems at all.

I just wish that hardware companies would stick to hardware.

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

[…] I have personally never been injured or visibly endangered by working on any kind of computer system, much less a consumer notebook computer. I have also never heard of anybody else being injured by working on one.

They do have a point here though; everyone's seen those laptop batteries on fire. That shouldn't stop someone who knows what he's doing from being able to fix things, but having some incompetent "I'm going to save a couple of bucks and do it myself" DIY:er muck about is probably going to lead to disaster sooner or later.

The repair manual probably doesn't cover disassembling the battery. In fact, it likely says not to do so and warns about a risk of fire. There is probably a similar warning printed on the outside of the battery.

Yes, and someone who knows what he's doing will pay attention to that. Then there's the Darwin award candidate who thinks that those warnings are just Toshiba's way of tricking you to pay a hundred bucks for a new battery when all you have to do is… It's probably also possible to make mistakes in other parts of the computer that will be hard for the battery to handle.

I'm not in favor of hiding service manuals, but I will mention that in the days of CRT's, one could fry oneself fairly easily. (CRT's can continue to carry significant charge at high voltage, for varying periods of time after being turned off.)

P.S. As a specific example, combine this with the original all-in-one-box Macs' shitty power supplies (and co-located video tuning controls, now that I think of it), and you had a not too uncommon reason for people to go poking around the CRT.

The real problem is that HTTP is not an appropriate technology to distribute service manuals or anything else one is likely to get hassled over. It works fine in the short term, but as soon as anything gets a large enough following that it could be feasible to take it for granted (ie becomes part of culture), HTTP shows its fatal weakness. Bittorrent is much closer.

I never bought a Toshiba product before, but this doesn't make me apt to look at them in the future.

Why? Because of this? You would accept an inferior product to there laptops possibly because they do not allow free repro of their manuals? Are you able to investigate every manufacturer before you buy something to make sure they are "open source" with respect to these things?

I'd love to see a company which doesn't copyright repair manuals, doesn't make devices difficult to home-repair on purpose, doesn't do this "planned obsolescence" things or any other assholy tricks to get a short term profit; and then market the shit out of this attitude - explicitly show people the things it doesn't do. I'd be their life-time customer without second thought.

I'm not sure about Lenovo as a whole company, but the Thinkpad line has the characteristics you're asking for. The only characteristic I've encountered that really goes against this is a hardware whitelist for things like wireless cards.

Wonder why they have such a white-list.

At any rate, at least for some models, you can just flash a hacked BIOS with those restrictions removed.

The Wireless card Whitelisting is due to FCC regulation, which states that certain classes of devices must be Certified by the FCC themselves in the "End-Use Configuration" to be legal to sell, use, take on Airplanes etc...

IBM (Now Lenovo) Whitelist Wireless cards to ensure that the device will always conform to the FCC approval that the device was evaluated for.

To be fair, if you buy a Lenovo/IBM Laptop (I've had four in the past twelve years) and ensure that the Wireless card you get it with is the top-spec model at the time, you should never have an issue. My current Laptop, an X200, has an Intel 5300 which is still one of the best wireless adapters I've ever used :)

The Wireless card Whitelisting is due to FCC regulation

Does the regulation require that steps be taken to make it difficult for the end-user to modify the device in to a non-certified configuration? If not, I find this answer inadequate.

The whitelist affects other components as well, such as displays. It seems a little nannyish.

There might be regulatory concerns for wireless cards, but it seems to affect LCD panels and a few other things. It's probably intended to make sure institutional IT departments don't mix parts between models so as to create a configuration Lenovo hasn't tested that might potentially have problems.

Of course, I consider it a problem when I put in hardware I want to use and the computer thinks it knows better. I have a hacked BIOS on my T61/T60p hybrid for exactly that reason.

Interesting to note that this blog has plenty of Apple repair manuals, so Apple is clearly not so precious, despite their renowned secrecy.

Although Apple Computers make products that are purposefully harder to repair. It's possible Apple haven't sued simply because this site is not (was not) yet on their radar.

Your conclusion doesn't follow soundly from the available facts here.

> Although Apple Computers make products that are purposefully harder to repair

I don't know how to take your statement. They don't purposefully make products harder to repair for the sake of it, or just to annoy people, or for some grand strategy of "they'll buy more of it if they can't repair it"[0], they make products harder to repair as a compromise for other features: weight, external dimensions, battery life, appearance, reliability, robustness. So in a sense it's purposeful, but as an unavoidable consequence. You may not need one or more of those features and favor repairability, but others than you may.

[0] People owning Apple products already buy new Apple products even if (and dare I say precisely because) their current device is not broken and has not fallen apart in the meantime. My current machine is a mid-'09 MBP and is going strong, and I bought it after a '07 15" MBP that I sold (for a good price precisely because it looked like new by any measure) to go more mobile and even more robust (this unibody really is strong). Both of them proved easily upgradeable, the newer one even more than the old one. I suspect Thinkpad owners could tell similar stories, whereas I have only horror stories to share about the five other PC laptops I owned before during the three years before I went Apple (FWIW IBM/Lenovo was on my shopping list along with Apple, and I had to choose one)

I don't agree. Pentalobe and tri-wing screws have no practical advantages over torx. The only possible reason I can see for Apple using those is that they're not common, and would discourage users from attempting to open the device.

It's obvious that most of Apple's decisions that make their devices less repairable come with aesthetic and practical gains, but the use of uncommon screws is not in that category. The most favorable explanation I can think of is that it was intended to signal to a certain class of users who were used to being able to partially disassemble laptops to make certain kinds of repairs and upgrades that it was no longer practical to do so.

> Pentalobe and tri-wing screws have no practical advantages over torx. The only possible reason I can see for Apple using those is that they're not common, and would discourage users from attempting to open the device.

I only partly agree on that one either. Torx is easy to manufacture at big sizes but its thin-winged star shape is brittle and harder to produce at smaller sizes. Comparatively, pentalobe screws are trivial to machine. Also, it's quite easy with a little tooling to create your own pentalobe (some Torx actually just work) or tri-wing screwdriver, and I bet Apple had no doubt someone would come up with a manufactured one in a very short timespan. That was exactly the case with Torx some years ago, then TorxSec then TorxPlus.

> it was intended to signal to a certain class of users who were used to being able to partially disassemble laptops to make certain kinds of repairs and upgrades that it was no longer practical to do so.

The class of users that routinely open devices to upgrade them knows to use appropriate tooling, and that if different, they will be available shortly for a ridiculously low price. If anything, it signals Joe Random that he's not to open this with the point of a knife (especially near a LiPo battery).

From iFixIt, re MBA 11" [0]:

> Once you manage to take off the bottom cover, all the parts are pretty easily replaceable. (i.e for a laptop that's RAM and mass storage, plus soldered CPU, but I did not hear about someone swapping CPUs in any laptop lately)

They rated it 4 because the parts are non-standard, and because of pentalobe on the case. They even laud some design choices specifically for repairability like the heat sink.

Again iFixIt, from the MBP r15" display teardown[1], regarding hinge+cable assembly:

> Don't think that the guys (and gals) who designed this machine are just out to get you. Routing the cables through the hinge is a way to save space and weight in the laptop.

If you want a real point of concern, the strongly glued batteries over the trackpad cable thing[2] is absolutely bewildering (while the whole device is supposed to last forever, batteries are not, so how are Geniuses supposed to fix those?) and really does not fit in the picture. I loathe glue.

[0]: http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Air+11-Inch+Late+2010...

[1]: http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+Retina+Display+Te...

[2]: http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Retina+Di...

Comparatively, pentalobe screws are trivial to machine

I'll have to take your word for that, because I don't know enough about screw and driver manufacturing to comment. Tri-wing looks less likely to have any advantage other than discouraging disassembly.

I'm sure Apple knew this wouldn't stop anybody very determined from working on a Mac, but it still causes a problem for someone like me. I don't fix hardware professionally, but I'm the person my friends usually come to when they have issues. I don't have a pentalobe or tri-wing screwdriver; I'd have to order them, and I would, but it would be a significant inconvenience.

It's the attitude that bothers me. It feels as if Apple is trying to retain control over the device after the customer buys it. I'm your Joe Random, and I'm offended.

I did not hear about someone swapping CPUs in any laptop lately

The Thinkpad T530, to give an example still uses a ZIF socket. CPU replacement is on page 93 of the Hardware Maintenance Manual, which Lenovo makes freely available on its website. This should be a shining example to all.

> I did not hear about someone swapping CPUs in any laptop lately

To be clear I didn't mean that non-soldered CPU, ZIF equipped laptops don't exist anymore, but that people actually upgrading/fixing their CPU is by and large an extremely rare occurrence, while RAM and mass storage are much, much more prone to upgrade/fixing. I would personally not consider a soldered CPU a problem, especially given that most of the time if anything goes wrong in such areas, it's a blown capacitor or a bad plug assembly/soldering on the motherboard that gives in.

Years ago finding the service manual of my Toshiba laptop helped me disassembled it to fix the broken power socket (it was non-standard and I ultimately had to find a workaround, but still).

I'm sad to see on OP's site that ASUS is not cooperative either, as I currently have one.

Then Toshiba will not be bought by me for myself or my customers. Happy to reduce the selection process with another brand. Actually I by Mac for myself and Fujitsu Siemens for customers.

There are better options in the laptop market than Toshiba

Even crappy OEM vendors have their manuals online, why would I go for Toshiba?

Apparently Toshiba thinks ignorance = safety.

Do Toshiba stil make laptops?

Sadly, yes.

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