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I have a company issued laptop and docking station as well as two monitors The specifications of the hardware are as follows; Laptop: Latitude E6430 BIOS: A02.00 Processor: i7-3720QM CPU @ 2.60 (8 CPUs) Memory: 4096MB RAM Page file: 1825MB used, 4793MB available DirectX 11

Display Driver/Chip: MVIDIA NVS 5200M DAC: Integrated RAMDAC Aprox Total Memory: 2376 (Above 3 details same for both displays) Current Display Mode (Display 1): 1600x900 Current Display Mode (Display 2): 1440x900

the docking station is a Dell Latitude E6420 Docking Station PR03X Port Replicator

and I don't think the monitor model is particularly relevant to resolving this issue but they are both Acer V193Ws

The story goes like this;

the laptop works fine

if I VGA one monitor into the laptop through the vga port on the back of the lefthand side of the laptop I can achieve dual monitor display fine (laptop screen + monitor)

if I plug the laptop into the docking station and use the vga port in the back of the docking station I can dual monitor fine (laptop screen + monitor)

if I plug the laptop into the docking station, the laptop's lefthand side VGA port no longer seems to function at all

I've spoken to internal IT about this issue and they're going to get me some kind of VGA splitter or a DVI-VGA adapter to use with the docking station for the second Acer Monitor, but that isn't going to happen for a few days.

So I guess what I'm wondering is; is there any way to continue to use the side VGA port on my laptop while using the docking station VGA port?

and as a secondary 'followup' pending resolution of the initial issue with getting both monitors up and running (at the moment I have both monitors on my desk but am just using my laptop screen as one of my dual monitor display with one of the monitors [the one connected to dock]), is there any way to CONTINUE to use my laptop monitor to in effect have a triple monitor display (2 monitors + docked laptop)? I am wondering this because internal IT told me that they were aware of some issues with the particular display drivers in my box and triple monitor displays but weren't really going to look TOO much in-depth into that (which is perfectly understandable) since getting the adapter for the dual monitors up and running was the greater priority within their purview.

So this is a two parter;

Can I dual monitor using two vga cables with 1 docking station vga port and one laptop vga port? is there a setting that can be tweaked somewhere? because plugging the box into the station seems to make the side port stop working

and...

Is there any reasonably simple and cost-effective work around (e.g. I am find with shelling out maybe a few dollars out of my own pocket for some hardware or software to make my company box tri-display capable) but if this requires some extensive rebuild or new OSs or doing stuff to the BIOS I'd rather have a straight answer about this being untenable as a slight modification to a (once again) company laptop and stop wasting time looking into it

Thanks! and please let me know if you guys need any more details (tech specs or something) to answer this question

[EDIT] 2/10/2014 Just an update; turned out it really was just a hardware limitation issue. The old laptop just couldn't hack it. Got a new laptop with a better video card and different monitors from my company and am successfully using a triple display currently (2 monitors + laptop screen)

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    The Dell Advanced Port Replicator has two DVI ports on it, and is probably the easiest solution . . . – ernie Jan 14 '14 at 23:21
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Plugging in the Docking station will disable the on board VGA port. Get a port replicator with VGA and DVI ports and You'll have access to Laptop plus two monitors. I hope this helps.

  • thanks, that's basically what what internal IT told me; I was just wondering if there was any convenient work-around. I guess I can stop looking! Not the answer I was hoping for, but it saves me from wasting more time searching lol – Larry Jan 15 '14 at 14:40
  • The workaround would be an USB based graphics card (extra hardware an relative slow). The large dock with 2 DVI and 2 DP connectors is a much nicer solution (and is what I use for 3 screens). – Hennes Jan 15 '15 at 18:12
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Many laptops won't do this, it's just beyond their capabilities to do this. I've seen this on lots of systems, I've seen Lenovos and HPs do this. somebody prove me wrong, but lots of integrated laptop chipsets won't do triple display. I know this isn't the answer you're looking for, but this is by design.

  • I did see something along the lines of what you just said when I did an initial google search on the issue. However, I did also see several highly involved tech-heavy threads about special adapters and external hardware devices costing ~45 dollars, I was just wondering if anyone knew the specifics of work-arounds with this particular model and was hoping to assess feasibility based on modification extent (this being a company box and all) as well as cost (which would be out of MY pocket) – Larry Jan 15 '14 at 14:43
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If you don't want to get a dual-DVI dock as others have suggested, you can use a Matrox DualHead2Go to run 2 monitors from one VGA connection. It combines two monitors into what appears as one large monitor.

The other option you could explore are USB display adapters.

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I have the same Dell E6430 and I can drive 3 external monitors as follows:

  1. DVI/A (video 1) out of the docking station to a DVI monitor
  2. DVI/B (video 2) out of the docking station to a DVI monitor
  3. D-SUB (VGA) out of the Docking Station to the 3rd monitor
  4. The HDMI out of the NoteBook (which takes over the DVI monitor (DVI/B (video 2))

I am working on figuring out how to hook-up 4 monitors instead of only 3

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I swapped out my monitors for two Dell 24" monitors that had DVI inputs versus DP / HDMI and both now work with the port replicator. Optimus is still enabled in the BIOS. Strange that Dell puts dual DP on the port replicator but you can't use them.

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I currently use a Dell docking station (PRO2X) with (2) digital monitor ports along with my Latitude E6330. I also use (2) HP USB Graphics Adapters to connect (2) additional monitors; Part# NL571AA. I have the (4) monitors mounted on a Planar multi-monitor stand.

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Once your laptop is on the docking station, please try removing the cable from monitor to the docking station, and re-connect it. It worked for me.

  • This is more a comment than an answer. Can you expand on your answer and add more details? – bwDraco Jan 22 '15 at 18:47

protected by bwDraco Jan 22 '15 at 17:35

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