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Windows 7: Dell Latitude E6400 Windows 7 docking problems?

18 Dec 2009   #1

Dell Latitude E6400 Windows 7 docking problems?

I have a Latitude E6400 that I recently clean installed WIN7 ultimate on. Everything was working great and continues to work great undocked. When in the docking station (), however I tend do have problems. I thought initially it was just related to the NIC card as it seemed to only start misbehaving under a lot of network activity and disabling the NIC and running only on wireless seemed to fix it, but in ALL cases I have to do a cold boot. Simply restarting it would not help and when I finally would get logged back in after a simple restart, the CPU was already pegged. Today, however it seems that even with the NIC disabled that it also exhibits the behavior although today I was using an external USB drive connected to the docking station. i have since removed that as well to see if I can stabilize. I've downloaded and installed every latest driver/bios/firmware I could find. Nothing has worked...

What occurs is over time, and sometimes that's not long, my CPU quickly pegs at 100% and stays. There are no particular processes pegging it either. I can end process on many in my list with no change. Over the last week I've only been in the office a couple of days using the docking station and on each occasion I have problems at least 2 - 3 times within the day. The rest of the week I've been undocked and had no problems and I run this thing all day long.

I have no messages in any logs that I've found indicating any type of problem. Just extreme frustration.

I've talked to a couple of other D-Series users who suggested that they had a similar issue when docked but found some vista 'docking' drivers that fixed their issue although I can find nothing for the E-Series, no firmware, nothing...

Any ideas? I'm about to have to roll back to XP and not excited about the thought as I need the docking station for multiple monitors, etc...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2010   #2

Windows 7 (64-bit)

Did you ever find a resolution to this problem? If you did, I hope it wasn't "rolling back to XP" since that is not really an option I would like to explore either. I noticed this problem for me started about 3 weeks ago and it only happens when I am docked as well. I have tried other docking stations, but that didn't resolve my problem either. Just wondering if you have been able to find a "fix".

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2010   #3

No 'FIX' yet...

Unfortunately I haven't had the smoking gun FIX yet but have found the cause...

It's due to the processor getting too hot and hitting a threshold where the laptop downclocks the processor which is even worsened if you use multiple monitors on the dock because the GPU overheats making the entire system hotter...

The problem eased up a bit when the A19 bios but still occurs. I've found if i shut it down and let it cool off a while it behaves a little better.

I also went ahead a took out the fan and heat sink which had quite a bit of dust which also helped quite a bit, but it still occurs. I use a program called speed fan and another called Rightmark CPU which shows the problem well. you can watch as the temp rises, the clock speed drops as the temperature rises and CPU utilization hits 100%

I opened a ticket with Dell and they actually just showed up to replace the fan, heat sink, and motherboard... we'll see if that has any lasting effect.

Good Luck-

My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Feb 2010   #4

Windows 7
Similar problem

My story seems very similar - I had E6400 running Win XP for about 8 months (it was shipped with Vista, but I did a clean install of XP) -- no issues with or without the docking station (dual monitors connected to 2 DVI ports)

In October I decided to upgrade to Win 7 and SSD drive. Everything was working great until I put laptop into the docking station: the same issues described above.

I stopped using the docking station which was a major inconvenience

A few weeks ago I started experiencing similar issues even when undocked. Contacted Microsoft and they had me do a few things to try to narrow it down. After analyzing one of the memory dumps they said it is related to the video driver and had me uninstall it and go back to default driver shipped with windows. That didn't seem to help, so I decided it is time for reinstall.

Over a weekend did a clean install of Win 7, all the latest drivers, including BIOS A20 update. Got to the office Monday AM, plugged it into a docking station, spent a few minutes enjoying my 2 monitors, had to jump on a skype call and within 5 minutes had the same high cpu issue. I was able to put it into sleep, take out from dock and then start it again -- cpu issue seemed to go away.

The reason I am documenting all this is that I think it supports the fact that the issue is related to overheating.

Please provide an update if CPU replacement helped. Thank you
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2010   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Try here.

Drivers & Downloads=
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2010   #6

Windows 7

As I mentioned in my post: I downloaded and installed all the latest drivers.

The only thing that doesn't seem to exist for Windows 7 is the Notebook System Software -- the first item in
their "driver install order" checklist
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2010   #7


As you've found it seems to me to be an overheating issue, or at the very least a downclocking issue. Dell's come out 3 times now -- new MB, new fans, new processor but the issue still exists. I've used A17-A20 bios, problem still exists across the board.

The one thing I've done that keeps it stable is to use the RightMark Clock utility (free download) which allows you to keep the throttling at 100%. This will affect battery performance but I don't have the issue out of the dock typically. Hopefully they'll find a permanent fix soon. I also had someone recommend disabling speedstep in the bios which also seemed to work however that also negatively affects battery life when not plugged in so the RMClock utility works better for me. When i'm docked and it starts downclocking I just fire the app up and the issue goes away...

Good Luck!

Here's a good link I've been following on the issues...

Dell Latitude E6400 - Overheating issues with minute tasks such as playing flash videos for extended periods? - DELL COMMUNITY
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Feb 2010   #8

Windows 7

thank you for the link -- based on suggestions i put a laptop fan underneath and it is not running for most of the day w/o issues... i've been "suffering" for 3 months w/o 2 monitors... unbelievable
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Sep 2010   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Same problem, possible fix

I have the same issue. It generally tends to be related to the audio services handing over control to the dock and laptop and back and forth when undocked and docked again. Restarting the service "Windows Audio Endpoint Mapper" seems to do the trick sometimes but there is a catch. It appears that the dock holds onto control of the audio somehow in some weird way and the problem isn't always fixed. what I found works consistently is shut down the computer and then eject it. Unplugging the dock from power and wait a few seconds before plugging the cord back in. then plug it back in, put the laptop back on it and then turn it on.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2011   #10

Windows & 32-bit

I just started a new job and they gave me the E6400. I wiped it totally clean and installed both Win7 and WinXP in a dual boot configration. This started happening on WIN7 -- I booted into XP and it started right away. I tried everything, nothing worked. I even booted into LINUX from CD -- the same thing happened. The fan kicks in and the CPU goes to 100%, with no identifiable processes to blame.

I have BIOS A27 (!) and it's still not fixed.

DELL, you listening?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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