My Windows Laptop Will Not Boot Properly When My Docking Station Is Connected

Last Update: August 17th, 2022
Article ID: 811819

If your Windows laptop will not boot properly when a docking station is connected to the laptop, most often the cause is an external device connected to the docking station (for example an external USB storage drive) as opposed to the dock itself. 

If you are affected by this condition, please follow these steps in order to isolate the behavior further:

  1. Disconnect all USB devices from the docking station and put them aside for the moment.
  2. Disconnect any displays connected to the dock's video outputs.
  3. Disconnect any audio devices connected to the dock's audio ports (if present).
  4. Disconnect the Ethernet network cable from the dock's Ethernet port (if present).
  5. The only remaining connections should be the dock's power adapter cable and the USB cable used to connect it to the laptop. No other external devices should be connected to the dock.
  6. While in this state, reboot the laptop to test the behavior.
  7. Assuming the laptop boots as expected, please reconnect each device back to the dock one at a time and reboot after each one to test the behavior again. Please reconnect the displays first, then the audio devices, then the Ethernet cable. Please reconnect any USB devices to the dock last, again rebooting after each one is added to test the behavior.

In our experience helping others, the most common cause of this behavior is an external USB storage drive connected to one of the dock's USB ports.  In some cases, a laptop may try to boot from an external storage drive by mistake as opposed to the laptop's built-in storage drive.  Since most external USB storage drives are not 'bootable', this can interrupt the boot process. 

If this behavior occurs, the most common way to mitigate the behavior is to access the laptop's System BIOS (also known as UEFI firmware) to change the 'boot order' settings to ensure that the laptop's internal storage drive is the first boot option.  Doing so helps ensure that the laptop will not try to boot from an external USB storage device. 

Every laptop system is different, so the best resource for accessing the System BIOS and changing the settings is the manual for the laptop provided by the laptop manufacturer.   

Please be very careful when changing settings within the System BIOS, because changing the wrong setting can cause problems. If you are unsure of how to check or change these settings after consulting your laptop's manual, it is best to contact the laptop manufacturer directly for guidance.