Docking stations increase the range of ports available to a portable computer system, making it possible to connect one or more external monitors, expand networking options and add peripheral devices. Dell offers a range of docking stations with varying configurations and connection alternatives. Under some circumstances, you may need to adjust the way you use your docking station with a desktop monitor so the video signal from your notebook reaches the external screen.
Dell docking stations rely on Windows driver files to coordinate their functions with the notebook computers you connect to them. If your system lacks the correct driver, or the file you install falls out of sync with your operating system version and the updates you apply to it, the dock may fail to function as expected. Some Dell docking stations support only specific Dell notebook models, further narrowing the range of equipment with which you can use them.
Video of the Day
When you play copy-protected multimedia content on a Windows computer, the video connections you make must support the anti-piracy configuration used on the DVD or Blu-ray disc that contains your programming. Some Dell docking stations don't support the High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection, or HDCP, protocol that provides digital rights management for video content. If you plug a monitor into a DVI or HDMI port on a docking station that lacks HDCP hardware, your monitor can't display the movie or show you want to watch.
Some notebook computer users mirror the video content from their mobile systems on a large external monitor attached to a docking station, providing an easy-to-see view of their work. On some Dell docking station models, however, you may be unable to mirror your notebook display, depending on the resolution at which you set the computer. Experiment with other resolutions or switch to a monitor that can run at the proper aspect ratio to capture your notebook video correctly.
If you attempt to use a monitor attached to a Dell docking station while the lid on your Dell notebook system stays closed, you may have trouble keeping video active on the monitor unless you reset your laptop's power settings. Use the Windows Power Options screen to set advanced power options that allow your laptop to continue to function with its lid closed. Otherwise, your system will sleep and your monitor will find no signal to display.