Listen to the hard drive - with the visual Toshiba BIOS (HSW/AMD-present), No OS and failed hard drive conditions load the BIOS as the fallback. It usually happens under 3 conditions:
- Drive failure (most common)
- No OS (boot file corruption, or the system was erased. More effective than “No boot device found” errors. This can indicate a secondhand unit that was erased by the previous owner too)
- No drive installed/detected (Used laptop where the drive was pulled, or failed and the previous owner sold it with the bad drive installed)
The issue is simple: When Toshiba was making their own laptops, they also used Toshiba branded hard drives. I’ve never tried the Toshiba branded SSDs, but I wouldn’t touch any of the "client" drives with a 100-foot Coronavirus ridden pole if the spinning hard drives are any indication of quality (that said, the SAS/enterprise drives aren't bad but that's because they have to be). I'm not sure about the Kioxia generation yet, as it's based on Toshiba IPs.
When the Toshiba branded laptops were new, many of them had an issue with the original HD within 1.5-2 years, and it was addressed - some with limited use slipped but once they were used consistently, they also died like the rest.
At this point, many of these "no POST" Toshiba laptops have original HDs that are dead or dying in droves with the same symptoms - mainly “no POST (black screen), “No boot device”, or going to BIOS as they age. Sometimes the sellers leave these bad drives in for the new owner to swap out. Yes, I could easily score a unit with top end specs and fix it with an NVMe SSD and a 256GB scratch SSD, but I do not buy Toshiba/Dynabook new OR used out of principle.
A lot of newer laptops - not just Toshiba have moved to the BIOS boot fallback or run diagnostics automatically. This is usually expected behavior. If you have a AMI skin Toshiba, these still use the traditional POST messaging. Dell also does it on the newer more modern machines (which use SupportAssist, not ePSA). In some cases like my 7490, they still show "no boot device" when the SSD is removed, or if you use Dell Data Wipe. They did this because normal users do not understand no boot device means the drive needs to be checked (or if it’s a corporate computer, let IT know it has a hard drive problem), so they moved to providing a visual indicator so the user can see something is wrong.
If anything, this post shows how well using the BIOS as a fallback works to hint that something needs to be checked.