Booting a Toshiba Satellite P875 to a disk or CD-ROM (ODD); Or why I now dislike Toshiba.

EDIT: After learning more about modern hardware and Windows 8, you would do well to simply research UEFI and fastboot/secure boot technologies. Windows 8 includes advanced options to boot into BIOS or to a disk from within the OS. While completely asinine, they do work.

Dear friends from Google, the solution is in paragraph 4, in bold print.

Recently we needed a replacement laptop at work quickly. We order from Dell almost exclusively but they couldn’t get one here fast enough, so we went to the local best buy and took a chance on this particular Toshiba Satellite (P875-S7200). It’s a pretty excellent machine spec-wise for the price. $699 for an i5, 6GB RAM, 750GB disk, and 17″ screen.

My first problem started when I needed to put something better than the default OS on it, which is Windows 7 home premium. I popped a Win7 Ultimate x64 disc into the drive and rebooted, only for the ‘fast boot’ technology to completely skip any boot options. Okay, no problem. I checked the manuals and user guide on Toshiba’s website, and it says to hold the F12 key when booting to get boot options. This doesn’t work. The laptop simply screeches at you like a deranged harpy. Let’s talk about this for a moment.

In my career thus far I have never seen a more pointless or obnoxious feature put into a piece of equipment. When you hold down a key while booting this laptop it takes full advantage of the included Harmon/Kardon sound system and blasts long, annoying beeps at full volume. It beeps so loud I couldn’t hear the support technician on the phone. It’s not a single beep, either. It’s a series of 2-3 second long pulses that lasts about 10 seconds. This is probably one of the more annoying things I have ever encountered. WHY!?! What could this possibly be useful for? This thing is louder than our building’s fire alarm.

Anyway, back to the solution. After spending half an hour using Toshiba’s support system, which, by the way, is a pain. Dial in to system 1, punch in options until you get to system 2, hold, punch some options, hold, talk to a tech that can’t help you, redirect to level 2, hold, and finally when level 2 picks p they say they can help you for $59. I said no, all I need is you to tell me how to boot this to a CD-ROM because the user-guide and tech manual on your website are wrong, and I’m not paying for that. After trying holding down random keys during boot (F12, F2, esc, C) he eventually had me boot into Windows and run a program called HWSetup. This allows you to change the boot order of the BIOS from within windows, and disable the fast-boot technology. This finally got me to a point where I could boot to a CD.

What in the hell was Toshiba thinking with this? I understand the default config will be ideal for their target audience, but making it this difficult to install a different OS? Wow.

Hopefully you arrived on this post after searching for how to boot this thing to a CD-ROM, because when I Googled it, I couldn’t find anything helpful.