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Laptop: Dell Precision 5220 running Ubuntu 16.04

Docking Station: Dell (can't find any more info on it), connects with thunderbolt.

Monitors: 2x Benq Senseye 3, Model # GL2670-B

BIOS Version: 1.9.4

I can only ever have the machine connect to the docking station and have my external monitors work if it's restarted while plugged into the dock. If I unplug my machine for any period of time longer than a few minutes and try to reconnect, everything on the laptop freezes except mouse movement. If I click any input fields they don't select until I unplug the dock at which point they'll select properly. I can even type stuff into them but it doesn't show up until I unplug the dock where my screen snaps back into action. While able to move the mouse, I can't navigate past the boundary of my laptop screen to where the external monitors would be.

The only way to get this to work is by restarting where everything goes back to normal. As a test, I took my laptop to a co-worker's docking station (same one) while he was using it, he unplugged and plugged in my machine and the same thing happened.

  • Many laptops require manual switching with a function key to enable external monitors when not detected during the boot sequence, though the initialisation on return from hibernation may work for you. – AFH Jun 5 '18 at 18:33
  • The boot sequence works fine (it works when I boot). It's when I disconnect from the dock to take my laptop home or go to a meeting or something and then try to reconnect. – Brandon Jun 5 '18 at 20:02
  • Do you hibernate when moving the laptop? If you only sleep, the hardware will not be initialised on wake. – AFH Jun 6 '18 at 10:12
  • When moving just within my office, it doesn't sleep or hibernate (still doesn't work). When moving to home I assume it just goes to sleep? – Brandon Jun 6 '18 at 15:11
  • Have you tried hibernating and restoring? Setting laptop to hibernate on closing the lid while on battery power is a convenient way to do it. You still haven't said whether you can use a laptop function key to switch on the external monitors. – AFH Jun 6 '18 at 16:12

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