What Is a Docking Station for Laptop?

Chris Campbell19 Jan 2022

Transitioning from one setting to the next might be difficult for people who use their laptops both on the go and at home. Laptops are intended to be portable and operated when not connected to a desktop. However, if you just own a desktop, you don't have the advantage of working remotely. On the other hand, when you own just a laptop, it doesn't give you that professional and stationary vibe that a desktop offers. This is where a docking station comes in.

What Does a Laptop Docking Station Do?

A docking station is a technology that converts a laptop into a desktop. A docking station allows your laptop to connect to computer accessories like a mouse, keyboard, printer, external storage, monitor, or even a LAN. As a result, you could easily gain from utilizing multiple gadgets using a single device, thereby transforming your laptop into a convenient and comfortable work setting. A laptop can be connected directly to the docking station without the need for external cords, offering convenience and ease of use.

In addition, laptops have grown slimmer, more lightweight, and much more simplified in recent years. Consequently, the number of ports on laptops has become quite limited. Docking stations could also be immensely useful for those who may not use their laptop for business or work, but still want additional ports to attach their favored devices. Docking stations provide extra, diversified connectors for individuals who want flexibility in their laptops. 

How Does a Laptop Docking Station Work?

Docking stations enable laptop users to attach more devices than usual. Essentially, a docking station lets a laptop be connected to the device as an all-in-one workstation, while the user retains the mobility of a laptop once the laptop is disconnected from the dock. 

It's a piece of technology that has the ports that the laptop may need, such as a monitor, a printer, and a variety of other computer-controlled gadgets. Docking stations also provide extra ports and, in certain cases, peripherals. Electrical power is delivered to these components either by the laptop or by a power source that is included in the docking station. Docking station drivers manage the device and any peripherals that are connected to it.

Which Port Do You Use To Connect a Docking Station to a Laptop?

Which port to connect to depends on the laptop you're using.

If you have a fairly modern laptop with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, as well as a comparatively recent docking station, attach one end of the cable to your laptop's USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 port, and then the other end to the docking station's USB-C input. You need to be careful in connecting the wire to the docking station's input rather than another USB-C port. The input must be labeled accordingly. Some docks, for instance, include USB-C ports branded "dock in" or "host," while the remaining USB-C ports are downstream ports being used to attach displays or other devices.

You should also ensure that the USB-C cable's length is according to your preference. The provided cables are frequently relatively short due to the bandwidth needs of USB-C and specifically Thunderbolt 3 docking stations. Longer ones, however, are costly. If the wire that comes with the docking station is insufficient, try purchasing a longer one.

If your dock lacks USB-C connectors or is a little outdated, you may need to purchase additional adapters. If you have a Thunderbolt 2 dock but only have Thunderbolt 3 ports on your laptop, you should consider a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 converter. Using a docking station without a USB-C connector is more difficult since previous USB versions do not handle video natively. As a result, conventional USB-A docks sometimes require software or drivers to work, which could slow down your laptop.

How To Connect Laptop to Docking Station

Docking stations come in a variety of forms, but attaching a laptop to one is usually always simple.

To connect your laptop to your dock, do the following:

  • Close your laptop. Set your laptop into sleep mode or shut it down and close it.
  • Mount your laptop onto the dock. Slide the laptop on the docking station, aligning the pegs on the dock with the respective ports on the back of the laptop.
    • For horizontal block-style docking stations, you need to align the port on the back of the laptop with the connector on the docking station. Place the plug into the slot by pressing down.
    • For book platform docking stations, you need to place your laptop in the platform facing forward. Since these types of docking stations mostly utilize wires, there aren't plugs or ports to align.
  • **Connect your laptop using a cord. **If you're using a dock that needs a cable to link to the laptop, or if your laptop has ports that just don't match the station's sockets, just attach the station's cable to the laptop like any other auxiliary device such as a keyboard or mouse.
  • **Attach your peripherals to the dock. **Once your laptop is connected to the docking station, you should be able to attach any peripheral devices you want to use to the docking station, such as a keyboard and mouse, monitor, printer, and so on. Attach these as you would on a computer.
  • Install drivers for all peripherals. When you're connecting to the dock for the first time, your laptop may require the installation of new device drivers to correctly interact with the hardware. This procedure should start automatically. Allow these drivers to fully install before you start using your laptop.

That's it. You're all "docked up" and ready to go.

How To Use Docking Station With Laptop Closed

When you close the laptop, it goes into sleep mode automatically. However, if you have your laptop set up as a desktop using a dock station, you should probably close it because you have a monitor as your display. So, with your laptop closed, how can you use your docking station?

To do this:

  • Go to the "Settings"  menu on your laptop.
  • Navigate to "System."
  • Select "Power and Sleep" from the sidebar.
  • On the right side of the screen, choose "Additional Power Settings."
  • Another window will appear. Select the option "What happens when the lid is closed."
  • Select "When I close the lid" on this new screen.
  • Tap the two dropdown options and select "Do nothing" in both places, "plugged in and on battery."
  • Finally, press "Save changes."

A docking station brings more value to your laptop by providing the convenience of portability while working remotely, as well as the comfort of a desktop when working at home or in the office. You aren't continually attaching and removing peripherals, either. With a docking station, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Thanks for reading! I'm Chris, an avid tech fanatic that enjoys keeping up with the latest laptop models. Hopefully my tips & tricks can help you out!

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