Skip to main content
  • Place orders quickly and easily
  • View orders and track your shipping status
  • Enjoy members-only rewards and discounts
  • Create and access a list of your products
  • Manage your Dell EMC sites, products, and product-level contacts using Company Administration.

How to Connect and Set Up a Docking Station With a Dell Laptop

Summary: Learn how to connect and set up a docking station with a laptop. Find information about configuring and setting up a docking station and troubleshooting steps to resolve common issues.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


Symptoms

Need help with setting up a docking station with a laptop? This article provides information about how to connect and set up a docking station with a laptop. Common troubleshooting steps and answers to some frequently asked questions.

Docking stations help provide the modern worker with the best of both worlds, the benefits of a desktop computer without sacrificing the portability of a laptop. You may connect external monitors, Ethernet for reliable connection, USB ports for connecting devices, and a full-sized keyboard and mouse, among other things.

Cause

The interface to connect a Dell docking station to a laptop may vary. To learn more about different types of Dell docking stations, see our Guide to Dell Docking Stations.

Resolution

Docking stations come with different types of docking interfaces. For example, Dell E-port or D-port, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, USB 3.0, or WiGig (wireless). It is important to identify if the type of docking interface or port that is available on the computer is compatible with the docking station.

  • Dell E-port or D-port - Proprietary docking solution for Dell Latitude and Dell Precision E-series. Dell docking stations provide efficient connectivity to all desktop devices and devices with a simple click into the docking station. Available mostly on Dell Latitude laptops and certain Precision mobile workstations.
  • Thunderbolt 3 - Thunderbolt 3 docking stations link all devices to the laptop using a single USB-C Thunderbolt cable. Extend the traditional USB capabilities with native multi-display video, audio, data, and power delivery (on select Dell laptops) to charge the laptop with a single USB-C cable. The reversible connector is convenient to use USB-C, with no wrong orientation.
  • DisplayPort over USB-C - USB-C docking station links all devices to the laptop using a single USB-C cable. Extend the traditional USB capabilities with native multi-display video, audio, data, and power delivery (on select Dell laptops) to charge the laptop with a single USB-C cable. The reversible connector is convenient to use USB-C, with no wrong orientation.
  • USB 3.0 - Universal docking stations work with DisplayLink technology that enables docking features over USB. The universal docking solution enables multiple monitors, audio, Ethernet, and other USB devices to be connected to laptops through USB. Works best with USB 3.0 ports on the laptop.
  • WiGig (wireless) - WiGig or wireless docking stations work with a laptop that is configured with a WiGig adapter. Only select Dell laptops support WiGig technology.
  1. Connect the keyboard and mouse.
    NOTE: Bluetooth keyboard and mouse must be paired to the laptop. Docking stations do not have an integrated Bluetooth receiver. If a USB dongle was provided with the wireless keyboard and mouse, connect the USB dongle to the docking station.
  2. Connect the external monitor/s. Learn How to Connect a Monitor to a Dell Computer.
    NOTE: Support for multiple monitors with higher resolution depends on the available bandwidth on the laptop. See the user manual of the docking station to learn how many multiple monitors are supported.
    NOTE: For information about third-party or non-Dell docking stations, see the docking station manufacturer's website.
  3. Connect the Ethernet cable.
  4. Connect other external USB devices (printer, external webcam, USB drive, and so on) to the docking station.
  5. Connect the power cable to the docking station.
    NOTE: Dell recommends using the power adapter that was provided with the docking station for optimal performance.
  6. Power on the docking station.

Connect the docking station to the laptop. Ensure that the docking station is connected to the correct port on the laptop. It is important to ensure that the docking station is connected to the correct port.

  • Dell E/Port docking station - This proprietary docking interface is available on select Dell Latitude and Dell Precision E-series laptops. This connector is at the bottom of the laptop.
  • Universal USB docking station - Universal USB docking stations work with USB 3.0 ports. Ensure that the docking station is connected to any of the USB 3.0 ports that is available on the laptop.
  • USB-C docking station - USB-C docking stations may be connected to a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort over USB-C alternate mode. USB-C docking stations may also be connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port on the laptop. See the user manual to verify if the USB-C port on the laptop supports this either DisplayPort over USB-C alternate mode or Thunderbolt 3.
  • Thunderbolt 3 - Thunderbolt docking stations must be connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port on the laptop. See the User Manual of the laptop to verify that the USB-C port on the laptop supports Thunderbolt 3 protocol.

Windows Operating System and Dell driver updates:

  1. Run Windows Update to ensure that the operating system is up to date.
  2. Run SupportAssist (for all models), or Dell Command | Update (for Precision, XPS, and Latitude) or Dell Update (for Vostro, Inspiron, and G-Series) to update the computer BIOS and drivers for both the Dell computer and Dell docking station. Dell drivers can also be manually downloaded and installed from the Dell Support website.
    • The docking station must be connected to the computer during the update process to detect and install the docking station firmware.
    • Power cycle the docking station after the firmware is updated.
  3. Test the docking station to see if the issues are resolved.
Table 1: Docking Station Drivers and Firmware.
Docking Station Drivers and Firmware Notes
Realtek USB Audio Not used by WD19S, WD19TBS, or WD19DCS
Realtek USB GBE Ethernet Controller Driver  
Dell Docking Station Firmware Update Utility  
System Drivers and Firmware  
Intel Thunderbolt Controller Firmware Update Utility
  • This is for computers that support Thunderbolt 3 technology.
  • Ice Lake and Tiger Lake chipsets have native Thunderbolt support and do not use this driver.
Intel Thunderbolt Controller Driver
  • This is for computers that support Thunderbolt 3 technology.
  • Ice Lake and Tiger Lake chipsets have native Thunderbolt support and do not use this driver.
Intel UHD Graphics Driver Required even if the computer has a discrete graphics card.
BIOS  
Windows Operating System Updates Run Windows Update

Additional Information

Frequently asked questions

  1. Ensure that you are using a compatible docking station with the laptop.
  2. Ensure that the docking station is receiving power. For optimal performance, use the power adapter that was provided with the docking station.
  3. Disconnect the docking station from the laptop.
  4. Save your work and restart the laptop.
  5. Connect the docking station to the laptop.
  6. Check the connections for devices such as keyboard, mouse, monitor, and more.
  7. Download and install the latest drivers for the docking station.
  8. Download and install the latest BIOS or System Setup for the computer.
  9. Download and install the latest video or graphics card drivers for the computer.

To find links to Dell docking station guides and learn more about troubleshooting issues with a specific Dell docking station, see our  Guide to Dell Docking Stations.

While docking stations are primarily used with laptops, using a docking station with a desktop computer is much the same process as with a laptop. Most desktop computers offer a wide range of ports, hence docking stations are less often necessary for desktop computers.

This is usually the result of the power settings. Change the power settings using the steps below to ensure that the display does not turn off after closing the laptop lid.

  1. Click Start, and select Settings.
  2. Select System.
  3. In the left pane, select Power and Sleep.
  4. In the right pane, select Additional power settings.
  5. In the Power Options window, select Choose what closing the lid does.
  6. Under both On battery and Plugged in, change the When I close the lid settings to Do nothing.
  7. Click Save changes.

Article Properties


Affected Product

G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models

Product

Dell Dock WD15, Dell Thunderbolt Dock TB16, Dell Precision Dual USB-C Thunderbolt Dock - TB18DC, Dell Universal Dock D6000, Dell Dock WD19, Dell Performance Dock - WD19DC, Dell Performance Dock – WD19DCS, Dell Dock – WD19SDell Dock WD15, Dell Thunderbolt Dock TB16, Dell Precision Dual USB-C Thunderbolt Dock - TB18DC, Dell Universal Dock D6000, Dell Dock WD19, Dell Performance Dock - WD19DC, Dell Performance Dock – WD19DCS, Dell Dock – WD19S, Dell Thunderbolt Dock - WD19TB, Dell Thunderbolt Dock – WD19TBSSee more

Last Published Date

06 May 2022

Version

9

Article Type

Solution