I'm a IT consultant, and until recently used my Satellite A-45 on the job. Then, when the CD-ROM failed a few months ago, Toshiba refused to sell me a replacement CD drive. Their Tech Support reported, "It's against our policy to sell replacement parts to consumers - you are required to bring it to an authorized repair center". The A-45's CD drive is proprietary, so even after exhaustive research, I couldn't find a generic replacement.
I went back to Toshiba and pointed out that a) the drive is a simple swap, b) I was willing to pay for it and release them from any warranty obligation, and c) my pc was full of secure data and applications; I could not do without it, and certainly could not hand it over to anyone else.
I also pointed out that, as a former coordinator of tech support for a chain of 13 pc/electronic stores, I was certainly capable of removing the failed drive and plugging in the new one. All to no avail. I had to remove all the secure data and applications from the pc, install them all on another pc, drive the Satellite to a repair center, and wait several days for it's return.
Had I known in advance of Toshiba's policy, I would NEVER have purchased a pc from them. I wouldn't buy so much as a toaster from someone who won't provide parts.
After hearing about this experience, several heads of desktop support at medium-sized companies have dropped any consideration of Toshiba laptops, and another medium-sized company that used Toshibas for their entire national sales force will now start moving to Dell. And I have advised my current employer (with more than 25,000 consultants, worldwide) to continue to rely on Dell laptops.
I have managed desktop support for both Dell and IBM laptops in the past, with users scattered all over North and South America, and both companies have jumped through hoops repeatedly to keep my users up and running when I was in a bind.
I really had no particular complaint with the A-45 - CD drives can and do fail on every brand - but Toshiba's parts policy turned this into a disaster. Their policy suggests that they intend their products only for household, entertainment, or light academic use. That given, it would appear that using Toshibas in a business environment, where security or deadline issues exist, poses a significant (and avoidable) risk.