Moved here by moderator. Reason: not specifically Linux Mint.
Black screen after boot is quite common with discrete graphics cards, like those from Nvidia and AMD (due to still poor Linux support from those manufacturers). You have to go through some hoops to get it booting successfully the first time, then install the proper graphics card driver or update your software packages, and then it should be fine.
As Toshiba is one of the manufacturers that has about a million different sub-models of each model laptop (gee, let me pick and choose my own components already if you want to carry that many different models
), can you specify your laptop's hardware or include the sub-model number? Like Toshiba Satellite L750D-BT5N22
To be clear, when you state that you have tried Linux from your hard disk--does that mean you were able to install it successfully?
If you want to try Linux Mint 12 (downloads here: http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php;
if you have a slower CPU I'd go for the LXDE version perhaps, as that is somewhat more lightweight), you should get a countdown timer during the booting from the USB. Press a key during the countdown, then in the menu that follows highlight the second option (compatibility mode) with the arrow keys and press the Tab key to edit the boot parameters. Before the final double-dash (--) on that line, insert "nomodeset acpi=off" (without the quotes). See if this allows you to boot successfully. If so, go ahead and install it. After installation, and rebooting, you should get a GRUB boot menu (if not, hold shift during boot), and then press the 'e' key to edit the boot parameters. Now scroll down to the line starting with 'linux' and again add "nomodeset acpi=off" (without the quotes) to that line and continue the boot. Next step depends on what graphics card you have.
Other Linux distros should work similarly and offer you the same chance to edit your boot parameters to forcefully boot with some options to get the graphics card to work until the proper driver can be installed.