As you know, I’ve been going down a chosen path to see if the Surface Pro 3 can replace not just a laptop, as Microsoft suggests and promotes, but can be the sole driver of my entire computing experience. Up to now, I’ve had no issues. No issues at all. And, as you’ve read, that surprised me. I was fully expecting failure of some sort.
Well, my first failure came today. After a week away at the glorious IT/Dev Connections 2014, I sat back down at my desk ready to get back to a normal day. I placed my Surface Pro 3 back into its docking station and expected to get to work right away, but instead was confronted with my monitor setup not working. I don’t know yet what caused it, and I’m still investigating, but the two monitors attached to the docking station through the USB 3.0 ports using the Plugable USB 3.0 multi-display adapter (UGA-3000), stopped displaying images. So, I was left with just the monitor attached to the docking station’s mini-display port and the Surface Pro 3 screen. That just wouldn’t do.
I tried a myriad of fixes. Of course, rebooting was my first attempt, because we all know that seems to fix the majority of Windows woes. I then used the DisplayLink software to disable the two monitors and then reenable them. That didn’t work, either.
The weird thing is that Windows 8.1 recognized the UGA-3000 connections and thought everything was working just fine.
What I ended up having to do was to use a vendor supplied clean-up tool to remove the DisplayLink drivers completely (apparently they won’t uninstall completely on their own), and then reboot and allow the DisplayLink software to completely install from scratch. After running through this procedure, all is well. It’ll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. If the problem reoccurs, I’ll be looking to replace the Plugable adapter with an alternate solution.
I’m sure this is not a problem specific to the Surface Pro 3 or docking station, as I found several instances of similar reports in the Plugable support forums, but it bugs me that my setup worked so flawlessly prior to being gone for over a week. It’s almost as if the DisplayLink driver has short-term memory.
So, if you run into the issue using the Plugable UGA-3000 (or, possibly other Plugable video adapters), use the clean-up tool, reboot, and allow the DisplayLink drivers to reinstall.
Here’s the clean-up tool download: DisplayLink Cleaner tool
If you’ve experienced this before and have found out the reason why this happens, let me know.