How to Troubleshoot a Dell Docking Station

Written by julie elefante
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How to Troubleshoot a Dell Docking Station

A docking station is an extension or addition of ports for a laptop computer. Once the portable computer is docked, you can access the docking station's ports, such as PS/2 or USB 2.0 ports, through your computer. Some docking stations have monitors that you can connect your computer to, placing your video on an external screen so you can turn off your computer's monitor and conserve some of your computer's energy. All Dell docking stations will have the same general troubleshooting steps.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Plug your laptop's power adaptor into the docking station and dock your laptop onto/into the docking station. If there is no power going to your laptop from the docking station but it works when the power adaptor is plugged into the wall, the docking station is bad and needs to be replaced.

  2. 2

    Plug your power adaptor into the docking station and dock your laptop onto/into the docking station. If power goes on but your computer doesn't recognises accessories--such as a USB mouse--plugged into the docking station, try a different port on the station. If it works in a different port, the previous USB port is burnt out.

  3. 3

    Plug your power adaptor into the docking station and dock your laptop onto/into the docking station. If power is going through the docking station but no accessories are being recognised, you might have a corrupted docking profile. Undock the computer and dock it again once it has fully started up to reset the docking profile.

  4. 4

    Plug your power adaptor into the docking station and dock your laptop onto/into the docking station. If you have an external monitor and it is not working, completely close the lid on the laptop so the image will move to the external monitor.

  5. 5

    Plug your power adaptor into the docking station and dock your laptop onto/into the docking station. If power is going through the docking station but no accessories are being recognised and resetting the docking profile fails, update all drivers through Dell's support website and then re-dock the computer. Some of the software that runs the hardware may have become corrupted.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep all of your drivers updated because when the docking profile is made, some docking stations are finicky and require it.
  • When using Windows Vista, a wireless Internet connection will be overridden by wired Internet because wired Internet is faster. For instance, Cable/DSL Internet connecting a docking station will override your laptop's wireless connection until you undock.
  • Docking profiles can corrupt and not clear. Starting your computer and then shutting it down properly while off the docking station can reset it.
  • Not all docking stations are the same. Some have more USB ports than others, and some may have legacy ports like the old PS/2 (round connector) or serial (9-pin connection) ports. Make sure you get a docking station that fits your accessories.
  • Make sure that the computer is completely snug onto/into the docking station connector. If it is not connected snugly, it may not operate properly.

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