At work, I have a Dell monitor as a dual screen in addition to my HP Spectre laptop screen.

I have a Dell hub that has the monitor, ethernet, mouse and keyboard as inputs, and then this connects to my laptop via USB.

For the most part it works fine, but there is some strange behaviour regarding the monitor. I will try to describe some of the weird things and see if anyone has any idea of a fix.

Firstly, when I take my laptop home and use it alone, I always have to adjust the screen resolution so it looks okay. No problem.

When I use it again the next day at work:

Sometimes the laptop screen comes on and the monitor remains black. When I go to display settings, sometimes the Dell monitor appears as a display and sometimes it does not. Sometimes it will appear and then disappear and then reappear, every 10 seconds or so.

Sometimes the Dell monitor will be black for a few minutes and then it will just turn on, and everything will look fine.

Sometimes when the system does recognise the Dell monitor, it will have swapped its position with respect to my laptop screen (i.e. the system thinks I have to move my mouse to the right to appear on the Dell monitor, which is actually to the right).

Quite often, I just restart a bunch of times, and on the (say) third time, it will be okay.

I don't think there are any loose connections because:

  1. Once the monitor is on and appearing fine, it stays like that all day - even if I move it around.
  2. As I said, sometimes, restarting fixes it, even when I don't touch any cables.

It just seems that my system can't quite figure out when resolution / how many monitors and it seems to sometimes jump around between two states trying to figure it out. It usually takes me between 10 and 30 minutes to get it stable each morning, and I don't even really know what is working. I just restart and change resolution and mess around with anything until it decides it is happy.

I don't know where to start looking for a fix so if anyone can point me in the right direction that would be great thank you.


Now the Dell monitor never comes on at all - it doesn't seem to be recognised. Like I said, I'm pretty sure it's a software issue rather than a connection problem.

  • 3
    Your IT staff should install updated firmware for the USB dock. Feb 15 '19 at 17:15
  • 1
    Dell docks have firmware updates. These require local administrator rights to install. If you have local admin rights you can find these on the Dell support site and install them. You should also install any updated drivers and firmware on your laptop. Apr 8 '19 at 19:09
  • 1
    Could you maybe provide detailed info on the model of your laptop, hub, and screen?
    – iYassin
    Apr 8 '19 at 20:52
  • 1
    While some of their drivers may be packages for Linux, I'm not aware whether the dock firmware is packaged that way. You can update the dock from any computer it will connect to though, so you may need to find another computer running Windows to update the firmware with. Apr 8 '19 at 21:27
  • 1
    Try to borrow another hub to test if yours is faulty. It sounds to me as if an intermittent hardware problem in the dock has now become permanent. I don't think that new firmware will fix such a hard failure.
    – harrymc
    Apr 9 '19 at 5:58

Things IT department should check. I say this because from the sound of it you are not a local administrator on your laptop which will make it difficult troubleshooting.

Device Manager - System Drivers Start > Device Manager

Update: Display Adapters, Monitor Drivers,USB Drivers, and BIOS Firmware.

Check manufacturer website for monitor drivers if possible. This has helped me at my place of business and at home. As for the Dell hub I would recommend if software is available downloading that as well.

Edit* If you ever lost or replaced the Dell Hubs Power Supply make sure it's the correct Amperage/Ratings.

Lastly, Right Click Desktop background > Display Settings > Multiple Displays. Make sure drop down has selected Extend these Displays. I've seen a bug with some Hubs/OS where this settings will default back to "Display only on 1" after plugging a laptop back into Hub.

Hope this helps!


Negative answer : I do not think that there is much hope to fix the problem, which could be with either the Dell monitor or the dock. You could check which one it is by connecting the monitor directly to your computer without going through the dock/hub (or use another computer if no suitable video port is available on yours).

According to your description, you have a problematic dock/monitor which could in the past be babied into working, but is now firmly dead.

Embedded software should not suffer degradation with time (in most cases), but this can happen to hardware (and often does).

The Dell page of Support for Dell USB3.0 dock D3100 only lists a driver for the PC and no update utility for the firmware, so there is no way to rewrite it (which could maybe fix a degradation in the built-in memory containing the firmware).

The Dell monitor could also have a driver, but I would need to know its model in order to recommend one.

My personal conclusion is, that whatever is the problem, without any means of manipulating the Dell monitor or dock in any way, hardware or firmware, you might as well declare it as broken and ask for a new one (after determining which of the two is the problem).

If there is a warranty on the defective device, your company could ask for a replacement, but otherwise there is not much else to do besides installing the above Dell software and hoping for some improvement.



Now the Dell monitor never comes on at all - it doesn't seem to be recognised. Like I said, I'm pretty sure it's a software issue rather than a connection problem.

Is there something, that holds you back from connecting monitor directly to laptop? If I were you, this would be first thing to try for me. It might not help, but firstly, you can give it a try at least. Secondly, software works on top of hardware and sometimes even plugging out and in again might help (I have such situation with speakers sometimes). USB is not primarily designed for monitors, so that might be a reason to not recognize a device as a monitor. But if you plug it into DVI or HDMI, your laptop is not going to expect flash drive there.

Regarding screen resolution adjustment at home. When you turn your PC/laptop off - it remembers last hardware connected and it's settings. If you you connect monitor after turning on the laptop, it might switch settings to what operating system considers best and you need adjustment again. Besides in case of hub, I never used this type of hardware before, but logic tells me, that the hub requires drivers. Drivers are installed on top of operating system. So even if you connect monitor before turning on your laptop it might load OS, drivers, say "hello" to your hub, and only then connect monitor as new device. By that time your system settings might be different already from what they were before you turned you laptop off. But if you connect monitor directly to your laptop - even your BIOS is most likely going to have drivers for it available, so it might display something there during startup already.

To switch monitors which is to the right or to the left - this can be adjusted in monitor settings. I assume you have Windows on you laptop? Try to open monitors settings and just drug and drop monitors to switch them. It might even count the level of where do you place it (higher/lower). That should help. Here is more info with pictures about multiple monitors in Windows 10: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/21084-multiple-displays-change-settings-layout-windows-10-a.html

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