Display Layout Provisioning in Hot-Desking/Hoteling Environment


This article is an introduction to a new DisplayLink feature for Hot-Desking/Hoteling Environment - Layout Provisioning.
The default Windows behaviour on connecting external monitors is in most cases to set those monitors to clone inbuilt laptop screen. For most users this is not a preferred configuration and it requires manual adjustments of screens in Windows Desktop Properties. 
DisplayLink resolves the problem of unpredictable layout being set at first connect with its new Layout Provisioning feature. It provides a tool which allows to design and save the layout per a workstation. Each user connecting to a configured workstation for the first time will have such layout applied.

Enhancement for DisplayLink enabled Hot-Desking Environment

Today, when a user connects to a DisplayLink dock in a Hot-Desking Environment, the screens are given a default Windows desktop layout, which is usually to mirror the laptop screen. This is not the preferred configuration and the first thing a user needs to do, is rearrange the display layout. They need to know how to do this, and have to do it for every new desk they connect to. This causes frustration and support calls to IT for help.
DisplayLink is addressing this use case by enabling the DisplayLink dock to be provisioned with the correct display layout for each hot-desk. As hot-desks are deployed and tested by IT, they can store the correct layout configuration into the DisplayLink dock.

Now, when a user connects to a hot-desk for the first time, their display layout will be configured automatically by information from the dock. It will save time, give the user a better experience, and reduce support calls and tickets to IT.

What's required to deploy the feature?

  • Workstation with a DisplayLink enabled device (using DL-3xxx, DL-4xxx, DL-5xxx or DL-6xxx)
  • Machine running Windows 7 with Dock Management Tool for programming the layout - Windows 10 version to be released soon
  • Machine with DisplayLink driver version 9.1 or above installed.

Please note

Any user who would like to benefit from the hot desking feature needs to meet the following hardware and software requirements:
  • Machine running Windows 7 – 8.1: Any DisplayLink driver package ver 9.1 or above installed including Windows Update installation
  • Machine running Windows 10 Creators Update: HotDesking package (msi or Setup.exe) ver 9.1 or above is required. Drivers installed from Windows Update or .inf do not support the feature. 

Programming the layout

To program the desired layout into a workstation, the following steps are required:
  1. Connect the Windows 7 machine with Dock Management Tool to the workstation
  2. Wait for all attached screens to show pixels
  3. Open Windows Display Settings (by right-clicking on desktop) and set desired layout (See section Supported and recommended layouts for details)
  4. Open command line prompt with Admin privileges and navigate to directory with Dock Management Tool
  5. Execute the following command: DockManagementTool.exe -layout store
  6. Monitors connected to DisplayLink device may flash and the Dock Management Tool will report operation successful

The Dock Management Tool is only used to write the layout. It has to be used once per desk.

Once the workstation has been programmed you can connect a user machine to it. The saved layout should be applied.

Other commands

  • List Dock Management Tool commands

    Syntax: DockManagementTool.exe -h
    Displays all available command-line options and exits.
  • Clear currently stored layout from the connected dock device

    Syntax: DockManagementTool.exe -layout clear
    DockManagementTool will clear the system display layout that is stored in the DisplayLink dock device connected to the Host PC,

    Dock Management Tool returns “Operation successful.” Information on successful completion or proper error message otherwise.


  1. Is the layout from the dock applied at each connection?
    No. Only first connect. So, if the user changes the layout, the new layout will be restored the next time he/she connects to that desk. If the user had already connected to the desk before the new layout has been saved onto the workstation, the previously used layout will be loaded.
  2. Can the user save their own layout in the docks?
    No. Saving requires the Dock Management Tool. The DMT requires admin privilege to execute. It is to limit the risk of end user interference. We are looking at offering user preference in the future.
  3. Can I add more devices and save the layout?
    Yes. DisplayLink mix and match advantage stays true. You can mix and match various DisplayLink enabled devices. However it does require at least one of the above stated DL-chipset versions.
  4. How many DisplayLink displays do you support?             
    From 1 to 6 as usual are officially supported. The feature will work with more DisplayLink docks/adapters, but there are too many combinations to guarantee more than 6.
  5. Do I need new hardware?
    No. All existing DL-3xxx, DL-4xxx, DL-5xxx, and DL-6xxx can be used to store layout today. You will need DisplayLink driver hot-desk package 9.1 and newer for the layout to be applied.

Supported and recommended layouts

  • Clone mode is not supported in this feature.
  • Although there no other hard requirements for selecting a layout, it is recommended to consider different native resolutions of the machine. 
  • Following layouts are recommended. Please note that laptop’s internal screen has number 1 in below arrangements.

Vertical displays arrangements are also supported.

Supported devices

The feature supports saving layout into following devices:

  • DL-3xxx
  • DL-4xxx
  • DL-5xxx
  • DL-6xxx

It is possible to extend a workstation by adding devices that are not supporting saving layout, e.g. DL-125 in conjunction with supported devices as shown on picture below. In such case that layout must be saved after all devices are connected.

Important information for IT managers

  1. Before applying the layout, there is a check for matching monitor set. The layout is applied when all monitors saved in the dock configurations are recognised by Operating System. It means if one of the monitors will fail to light up, the layout from the dock will not be applied.
  2. In case of a monitor failure it is required to re-program the dock even if the monitor is replaced with the same make and model. It is because the monitor serial numbers are different.
  3. The feature allows to connect multiple DL devices in a daisy chain. During programming the layout, it is saved into all devices. There is a pre-condition check which validates if all devices have the same layout saved. In case of discrepancies the layout will not be applied.


Please provide us with your feedback regarding this feature. You can do so by contacting us on technical_enquiries@displaylink.com
Thank you.

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