The Easiest Way To Add An External Power Button To Your Laptop

If you use your laptop in the closed position with a monitor, the hidden power button can be a daily annoyance. To have to open your laptop just to tap the power button seems a little ridiculous in this day and age.

In this article, I’ll explain the simplest way to get an external power button for your laptop. We’re going to skip all of the complicated solutions that nobody wants to go through.

You don’t have to go into your BIOS. You don’t need to pry open your laptop to hardwire a new button. No more of these overly complicated methods!

The solution here is already designed and can be plug and play. Let’s get started.

The Solution: Thunderbolt Docking Stations

Turns out, there is a super simple solution to having an external power button for your laptop: compatible Thunderbolt and USB-C Docking stations!

Docking stations are little hubs that break out a single laptop cable connection (via Thunderbolt/USB-C), to multiple connections. They typically give you more display connections, USB connections, an ethernet jack, a headphone jack, etc.

Some of these docks will also give you a dedicated power button!

If you have a laptop with a compatible docking station, you can use your docking station’s power button as an external laptop power button!

Mirrored power button on my Dell TB16 dock.

Laptop Requirements

Specifically, you need a laptop that supports either Thunderbolt 3 or newer, or USB-C Type 3.1 or newer. These standards can work with a compatible dock that has a power button.

The Catch with Thunderbolt Power Buttons

You may have noticed that I keep mentioning “compatibility”. This is because, at this time, there is no universal docking station that can give any laptop model an external power button.

You will need a docking station that is from the same brand as your laptop to ensure compatibility. They both also have to have similar technology levels of Thunderbolt 3+ or USB-C 3+.

The reason you need to have the same brand is that each company has its own proprietary way of communicating with their computers when it comes to a docking station’s power button.

Ideally, the next version of Thunderbolt or USB-C has this technology standardized which will result in much greater compatibility.

Docks For Each Laptop Brand That Include a Power Button

Leave your laptop closed and power it up with these Thunderbolt docking stations. All of these docking stations must be paired with the same brand’s laptop.

If you have a Dell laptop, use the Dell dock. If you have a Lenovo laptop, use the Lenovo dock. Just confirm both devices have the same connection technology.

Dell Laptop Docking Station

I currently use a really old Dell docking station, and it is standing up to the test of time very well. The power button on my TB16 dock still works with my new XPS 15 laptop!

Below is the latest and greatest from Dell, their powerful Thunderbolt 4 offering! If the price scares you, just keep in mind that these will last a long time!

Dell WD22TB4 Thunderbolt 4 Dock

The Dell WD22TB4 Thunderbolt Dock is a powerful device that allows you to connect multiple 4K displays and peripherals to your system using a single cable. With data transfer speeds of up to 40 GB/s, this dock is the ultimate productivity tool for anyone who wants to maximize their setup.

  • 130W Power Delivery
  • Single 5K or Quad 4K Resolution
  • 3 Display Connections
  • 5 USB Connections
  • Ethernet & Thunderbolt Connections
  • Expensive
Buy On Amazon

Lenovo Laptop Docking Station

Lenovo makes clear statements about what to expect with their ThinkPad Gen 2 Dock on their website. It claims compatibility with other laptops, but the power button mirroring feature is for Lenovo laptops only!

If you’re a Lenovo user, pick up this dock for quick and easy connectivity and that sweet dedicated power button.

The main downside with this dock is that it has pretty low wattage power delivery. If you have a slim and not so power hungry laptop, this will work perfectly fine.

Lenovo ThinkPad USB-C Dock Gen 2

The Lenovo ThinkPad USB-C Dock is a versatile and capable docking station with the ability to connect all your peripherals at once, transfer USB data at 10 Gbps speeds, and access a stable wired network connection. It also supports multiple 4K displays and a range of advanced features, including PXE Boot and System Wake-on-LAN.

  • Triple 1080p or Dual 4K Resolution
  • 3 Display Connections
  • 5 USB Connections
  • Ethernet Connection
  • Headphone Connection
  • 60W power delivery
Buy On Amazon

HP Docking Station

This is the exact docking station I currently use at work. The neat feature of this dock is that the whole top surface is actually a power button!

If you want to turn on your laptop, just tap the top of your dock. No need to look for the tiny power button these other docks provide.

If you’re an HP user, you will also appreciate the very compact form factor this dock offers. Though it is at the expense of connections available.

HP Thunderbolt Dock 230W G2

The HP G2 Dock is a versatile and flexible docking station that allows you to connect all your accessories and up to two 4K displays to your notebook through a single USB-C cable. With universal compatibility and backward compatibility, this dock is the perfect future-proof solution for anyone.

  • Combo cable for fast charging
  • 2 Display Connections
  • 4 USB Ports
  • Ethernet & Headphone Jacks
  • Entire top surface is a power button
  • Compact
  • Less connectivity with smaller size
Buy On Amazon

Why External Power Buttons are Needed On Laptops

There are many reasons you might want to have an external power button for your laptop. Most of the time it’s because your laptop is in the closed position when you want to turn it on.

I am currently in this situation as I primarily use my Ultrawide monitor, so I keep my laptop closed. As a result, I use my Thunderbolt docking station power button pretty much every single day.

Those that use their laptops in the vertical position have a specifically annoying task. They have to lift their laptop out of the stand, open the lid, press the power button, close the lid, and place it back on the stand.

That’s a pretty annoying way to live your life… (by the way, check out this article on if vertical laptop stands are bad for your laptop.)

If you want to hide your laptop at your desk, you will also need an external power button. I used to have my laptop underneath my desk with some 3D-printed brackets. It was getting very annoying to have to pull out my laptop just to press the power button.

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I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!

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