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I have a Dell Latitude 8420. It is connected to a dock.

Is there any way to have two monitors connected to this setup and also use the laptop screen too? I want the desktop extended on the 3 displays. I am using Windows 7 Professional.

How would things change if I wanted to have 3 external monitors and not use the laptop display?

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migrated from Aug 3 '11 at 20:23

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

If I'm correct, you will not be able to use all three monitors at the same time. If you hook up two monitors to your docking-station, you will not be able to use the laptop screen at the same time. If you only use one external monitor, you can still use the laptop screen. This is due to limitations of the GPU. I have a Latitude E6510 with a docking station and experienced the same thing.

If you absolutely need to use three monitors, you can maybe look into "exotic" solutions like using an external USB graphic card.

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as you suggested USB graphic card was the way to go. – Codrguy Aug 12 '11 at 23:17
Great, glad it worked. – socken23 Aug 14 '11 at 6:38
Just want to clarify, do I need a full USB graphics card or just a USB to VGA/DVI adapter? – ghostJago Mar 12 '15 at 10:41

From what I have read about the linked dock, you're limited to two displays. This can be made up in one of two configurations:

  1. Laptop LCD and one external monitor
  2. Two external monitors but no Laptop LCD
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All you need is a Display Link USB connection for every monitor more than two. If you use your laptop and one monitor, you can add a Display Link for each monitor. I know of some people with up to 5 monitors who keep their laptops closed on the docking station.

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Confirmed: I have used these successfully for years and they work well. – CAD bloke Mar 21 at 21:20

I can confirm that a USB graphics adapter is the solution. I use a HP 8510W with an HP usb docking station. This has a DisplayPort connector which supports playing even HD videos on my 1600*1200 screen (the maximum width for this docking station is 1680). Note however that when using the dock, you lose Aero on all of your screens.

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Same is the case with other laptops and displays ( tested with HP Elitebook 8470p and Dock, two monitors (ViewSonic)).

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Some of the Dell Latitudes laptops CAN run two external monitors and the LCD at the same time it is a bios setting. At the moment I cannot remember the check box that is needed. But you can run 3 displays; 2 via a dock and the LCD. the E6430's can at least.

EDIT: for the Latitudes, a E6430 is the one I am looking at right now. I'm pretty sure it's the the Nvidia Optimus option in the bios that will let you run the LCD with 2 externals. Look under 'Video' settings.

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Just to confirm: My Dell Lattidute 6500 can also run three monitors at the same time (2 via advanced dock, one the laptop LCD screen). Tested with XP and win7. So indeed, it works with at least some of the models. :) – Hennes Sep 2 '14 at 12:04
On my E6530 with an Intel HD 4000 graphics card, Windows 7 refuses to use three displays. On Ubuntu it just works. – Oderik Jan 21 at 7:48

According to Dell it is officially possible for some models (see list on the linked web page) when using the Dell DisplayPort at the Advanced Docking station:

Excuse me for posting this as an answer and not as a comment - too less reputation.

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You should wait until you have enough reputation to post the comment; not use answer to avoid the requirement. – Insane Nov 10 '15 at 9:41

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