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enggarmin asked on

Dell D630 issues with docking (resolution, usb ports, etc)

My company deploys many dell laptops (mostly D620s and D630s).  Our most common setup is to deploy a docking station (port replicator) and two LCD monitors (one VGA, one DVI).  We are currently running Windows XP SP2.  I am one of the Desktop Support technicians for my company.

Here is the issue:  We are experiencing a lot of issues with docking and undocking.   Users are able to undock just fine (they either go to start > Undock Computer or press the undock button on the docking station and wait for the little confirmation that windows has undocked successfully) and then go to a meeting or where ever and use the laptops internal monitor just fine.  The problems occur when they attempt to redock.  Several issues occur once it is on the dock. Sometimes none of the issues, sometimes two or more at the same time:  
-      anything plugged into the USB ports on the docking station are not recognized after redocking (mouse/keyboard)
-      the monitors configuration and resolution will not be remembered and will screw up (monitor position [which one is one the left and which one is one the right], the resolution for the monitors, or even forgetting that the desktop was extended to the 2nd monitor at all.
-      the laptop locks up and will not respond requiring a reboot.  Removing the laptop from the dock doesnt help (even the internal screen will not come back on after pulling it back out of the dock...)

These issues are causing great frustration and difficulty for our managers who dock and undock almost hourly throughout the day.  The issues can be resolved by rebooting but this is not an acceptable resolution (who wants to shut down and boot up every time they dock and undock?).  I've seen the problem on the D630s, D620s and our D430s.  

Has anyone else seen this problem?  Is there a way to reduce or prevent these problems?  Any help you could offer would be most greatly appreciated.
Laptops NotebooksWindows XP

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8/22/2022 - Mon
Dhiraj Mutha

Update the BIOS.

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I upgraded the bios but it did not seem to change the problem in the least.  I thought I had tried your solution of removing the profiles, but now sitting down to report back I notice I didn't follow them exactly.  I will try removing the profiles again and see if that makes a difference.  

Unfortunatly, turning the laptops off every time they need to dock and undock is not an option.   If we can't find a solution we may have to stop buying Dells and switch to another maker.  Does everyone experience this problem when using the Dell Latitude D series with a docking station and external monitors?  I find it hard to believe that Dell would include a button for hot docking but then not make it work!  I have to assume that the problem is with my setup or configuration.  Any other thoughts while I schedule another appointment with the user to try removing the profiles?

okay, if they are absolutely opposed to shutting their PCs off when they need to re-dock, then you could set it up where the laptop is open on their desk.  This would remove one monitor and the laptop would act as one monitor and the actual monitor would act as the second one, they would still have 2 screens.

We have a couple of users who do this and are able to dock and undock as needed (just tested at office).  It does mess with the screen resolution from time to time, but for the most part it works okay.

If you do go this route keep in mind they MAY be able to use 3 monitors (with the extra one not in use), don't know personally, never tried.  

You can always give some lame excuse as to why you can't do the 3 monitor thing, like... "Windows doesn't support that ability...." to avoid the hassle.

let us know
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Dhiraj Mutha

Eggarmin: Is this problem with all the Laptops?

The problem has occured with users of D430s, D620s, and D630s.  While the base image is the same for all the users, the problem has occured in groups having very different software sets.

Not all users have the same docking station setup (some have one external LCD monitor, some use one external LCD monitor with the laptop screen as a second, and a majority have 2 LCD monitors and keep the laptops closed in the dock).  Not everyone is having these problems because not everyone hot docks and undocks their laptop.  A good portion only have laptops because they take them home in the evening or for taking on business trips.  They don't take them to meetings. The users who have the most problems are the managers as they dock and undock several times a day.  Unfortunatly they also have more pull and more influence; therefore telling them these problems are just how it is or that there isn't a solution, isn't a possibility for me (unless someone can actually confirm that this is a problem with Dells docking software or with Windows), in which case I go to those companies and insist that they find a solution or admit the problem.  Blaming the software [which software?] or blowing off the user isn't a solution.  

Until someone can confirm that this is a bug in either Dell or Microsoft's software, then I have to assume it is related to some configuration or environment setup that I am doing that should have a fix/resolution.

So to answer pspglb's question more directly, I don't know if all laptops have this problem because not everyone I give a laptop to attempts to hot dock.  I have encountered this problem on every laptop (in the models listed as those are all that we deploy or have access to test with) that I have attempted to hot dock with.

Thank you all for your continued help!
Dhiraj Mutha

As per the question is going... i assume the porblem with the docking station, because even we use docking stations and dell laptops with Win XP, but never faced a issue like this. Is it possible to try these laptops to any other docking station, were other models were working fine.
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So just to confirm pspglb as this was one point I was interested in confirming:  You/ your company uses Dell latitude D series laptops in docking stations with one or dual monitor setups and have not encountered the problem of the laptop not being able to remember the monitor configuration after being undocked and then redocked again.

Also, I found an option in the BIOS under Video called Primary Video.  It appears that the default option is "Dock Video Card", however it says that the 2nd option, "Onboard Video",  should be chosen if using the multi monitor feature.  Has anyone any insite into this option?  I didn't think the regular docking station (port replicator) had video cards in them.  Could this feature be related?

I am going to try to test this this week.  I appologize for not being able to respond quickly with answers/results to your questions/suggestions.  I promise I am not ignoreing them. I have not yet been able to gather and setup my own station for testing these issues and have been relying on passing along these suggestions to a group of users who are affected and then having them try it and then get back to me...  Thanks for your patience.

Removing the hardware profiles appears to have helped the problem greatly.  I think the bios update helped too, but the problem is down to a managable level now.  Thanks for your suggestion!!!

We are in exactly the same situation as youself so would be very interested in the results of your tests. We have a mere 6000 laptops to rollout so want to make sure everythings OK.
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