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Vista Locks Up When Connecting Laptop to Docking Station

Posted on 2009-05-04
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I have a Dell Latitude E5400 Laptop plugged into a docking station, which is connecting a mouse, keyboard, and monitor (via DVI).  When my laptop is on, and I plug into the docking station, about 50% of the time the computer locks up completely.  The caps lock / num lock buttons don't change the lights, flipping the WiFi switch doesn't turn off the WiFi lights, Ctrl+Alt+Del does nothing.  Only a cold hard power-off will let me keep going.

However, the other 50% of the time, hot plugging works great.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
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Question by:Orcadian
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Expert Comment

by:AtlasEVree
ID: 24303696
Are you sure the laptop can be hot swapped in the docking station?  I have seen this happen when people hot plug their laptops into docking stations without first putting it in standby or shutting down.
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Author Comment

by:Orcadian
ID: 24303739
Yes, it does support hot docking:  "Both port replicators support hot docking and undocking."

http://www.dell.com/content/learnmore/learnmore.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen&~id=hmc_eseries_docking&~series=latit&~lt=popup&ref=CFG
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AtlasEVree earned 500 total points
ID: 24303809
I would look to see if there are any software/firmware updates that could possibly fix the issue (if you have not done that yet).  Another thing you could do is keep note of what programs are running when you dock it and see if it is a particular program that may be locking it up for the hot-dock.
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Author Comment

by:Orcadian
ID: 24303851
I should have tried that.  The issue has been happening for months, but on 3/11/2009 Dell posted a bios update (A09) which I don't yet have.

The only fix for the update says "Fixes/Enhancements:  1. Fixed issue which may cause hang in Dock state."

That sounds like it'll do it!  I'll update my bios and let you know how it goes!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Orcadian
ID: 31577820
The Firmware update did *not* fix the issue.  However, because Dell has admitted the issue and is attempting to fix it via a firmware update, AtlasEVree's suggestion for a firmware update is an acceptable solution.  Now I just have to wait for Dell to get their act together and actually fix the problem.

Thanks.
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