Short version for people just googling for the answer:

TrueCrypt doesn’t like the Satellite’s AHCI mode for the SATA hard drive. I fixed my issue by removing the HDD, booting to BIOS, and turning off AHCI.

AS ALWAYS: This is what worked for me. Your mileage may vary. This may void your warranty. Side effects may include swelling, drymouth, constipation, and a broken computer. Do this at your own risk, etc etc.

Okay, so I’m a huge fan of Toshiba’s Satellite series of laptops. My latest machine is one of their A505s, and so far I’m a fan. One of the few drawbacks of the Satellite series line is that the boot mechanism in them is somewhat . . . finicky. They tend not to like certain peripherals connected via USB on boot (cf. my earlier article on my Android phone freezing my older Satellite) and, apparently, their AHCI doesn’t play nice with TrueCrypt.

So. Long story short. Get the shiny new laptop, load up TrueCrypt, encrypt the system disc. Bootloader check runs fine, encryption goes off without a hitch. I futz around for awhile and head to bed. In the morning, the machine is stuck at the Toshiba splash screen.

Thinking (correctly) that the system had rebooted for updates and (incorrectly) that some USB device was causing the Toshiba to choke on boot, I unplugged my external hard drive and my headphone amp and restarted.

No luck.

At this point I turned the machine off, went off to work, then out of town for the weekend. On returning, I futzed around a bit with it. The machine refused to boot from any media, but if I removed the hard drive (thankfully much easier to do in the 505s than in some earlier models), it would boot fine from a CD. So it looked like the HDD was the problem. I thought TrueCrypt a likely culprit. After Googling a bit, I found a reference to TrueCrypt not liking AHCI on some platforms. Turns out that the A505s are one of them. So, quick fix, turn off AHCI.

To do this, I had to remove the harddrive (since the machine wouldn’t load the BIOS menu with it in), and go to one of the submenus under (I think) the advanced tab. From there, I set the SATA mode from “AHCI” to IDE (which this BIOS flavor calls “Compatibility”). Save and exit, and sure enough, the machine booted and kicked me to the TrueCrypt password screen.

Logged in, Windows finished installing updates, and I was good to go.