Dell Dock is a quick-access software feature that comes installed on all Dell computers. Depending upon your settings, the Dock can appear anywhere along the edge of your computer screen and can automatically hide itself when it is not in use. The Dock contains icons for Web, email, multimedia and security programs, among others, allowing you to simply hover your mouse over the appropriate spot on the Dock and click that icon to open a program. Like any other software program, the Dell Dock is not immune to occasional errors; when something is wrong within the program, you may receive an error message stating, “Dell Dock has encountered a problem and needs to close.”
Because the “Dell Dock has encountered a problem and needs to close” error is a software-based error, it indicates one of two possible causes: corruption within a program file or conflict with another program. An improperly installed update or a virus attack could cause Dell Dock program files to become corrupt; these are the most likely causes of an “encountered a problem” error. Conflict with other programs is rare because Dell Dock is designed to run with nearly any program you install on your Dell computer. However, a problem with a program within the Dock may cause the “encountered a problem” error.
To most effectively troubleshoot the “Dell Dock has encountered a problem and needs to close” error, consider as many elements as possible. The Dell Dock should automatically open at startup. If the Dock opens at startup, note what you did — such as click on a particular icon or open a particular program — just before receiving the "encountered a problem" error. If the Dell Dock does not open at all, try to remember the last time it functioned properly and determine if you installed any programs or ran any updates since the last time the Dell Dock worked.
Repairing the Dock
If your troubleshooting process indicates that the problem resides within the Dell Dock, you have three options for repair. First, try installing any recent Dell Dock updates that may overwrite and eliminate any existing problems. If running a Dell Dock update does not work, try uninstalling and reinstalling the program. You can uninstall the Dell Dock through the “Programs and Features” option in your computer’s control panel, and you can reinstall the program by downloading it at the Dell Dock website (see Resources).
If you determine that an icon or program within the Dell Dock is causing “encountered an error and needs to close,” try to open that program from another location. For instance, if you cannot open your Web browser through the Dell Dock, try opening it through the Start menu. This test will help you determine if there is a problem with the program or a problem with the program’s connection to the Dock. If the program opens outside the dock, you can delete the Dock’s shortcut link to that program, restart the computer, then add the program icon back to the Dock. If the program does not open outside the Dell Dock, you can uninstall and reinstall that program to restore its functionality.