Don’t panic if Windows 10 seems to have broken your Thunderbolt dock – there’s a simple fix

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Windows 10 has a new (and strange) bug which might make you think your Thunderbolt dock has broken after your PC wakes up from sleep.

Specifically, when this gremlin manifests itself, all devices connected to the dock fail to function, even though they may all still be visible in Device Manager. However, there’s only a small chance of the bug happening, and it requires a very particular set of conditions.

So only a very small number of people will encounter this flaw, according to Microsoft, and luckily the fix is very simple if you do get hit – simply restarting your PC will remedy the issue.

Dock shock (and barrel)

Okay, so let’s break this down a bit further. The problem affects Windows 10 version 1909 (the latest November 2019 Update) and previous versions (1903, 1809, 1803, or 1709) on PCs with Fast Startup enabled.

The bug can occur to folks who connect a Thunderbolt dock to their PC, with several devices hooked up to that dock. If the user then presses the power button on the machine and puts the PC into an S5 (deep sleep, or ‘soft off’) power state, and then unplugs the dock, then plugs it back in, and then powers the computer back up, there is a 5% chance that the bug will strike and all devices attached to the dock will stop working.

Many people might think to try unplugging the dock again, and plugging it back in, but this won’t have any effect. To fix the problem, as mentioned, you need to reboot the PC, so it’s really only an inconvenience – albeit a potentially frustrating one if you don’t know what’s going on.

For the full details, check out this Microsoft support post, as highlighted by ZDNet.

Given that this problem is unlikely to strike, and will only happen in very specific situations, it’s not that big a deal.

That said, Microsoft doesn’t appear to be working on any fix, and has just outlined the above workaround of simply rebooting. That’s probably the second thing most users will try, anyway, after connecting and reconnecting the dock fails to have any effect.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).