How to install Docker on Windows?

Install Docker on Windows
Docker on Windows

If you are looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to install Docker on Windows 10, you have come to the right place. In the article, I will discuss all the steps, system requirements, and troubleshooting procedures that will allow you to install Docker on Windows seamlessly.

What is Docker?

Docker is an open-source containerization platform that allows you to build, test, and deploy your applications in isolated, packaged, and containerized environments called containers. You can easily create a portable, secured, and packaged environment with all the system configuration files, libraries, binaries, and packages pre-installed.

To know more about Docker, check out our guide on What is Docker?

System Requirement to Install Docker on Windows

Before we move ahead and discuss the steps to install Docker on Windows PC, let’s quickly check out the system requirements that you must have to do so.

Your Windows machine must have a WSL2 (Windows sub-system for Linux) backend or Hyper-V Backend.

The system requirements for Windows PC with WSL2 backend are –

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit and should be either of the following versions – Pro, Home, Education, or Enterprise.
  • You should have the WSL2 feature enabled on Windows. If you have any errors after installing, we will deal with them in the Troubleshooting section at the end of this article. To know more about WSL in Windows, check out this Microsoft Documentation.
  • To run WSL2 on Windows, you must have the following hardware requirements.
    • A 64-bit processor with support for SLAT.
    • A system with at-least 4GB RAM.
    • You must have BIOS level hardware Virtualization enabled on your BIOS settings. Check out this guide on Virtualization.
  • You need to install the Linux Kernel Update Package.

If you have a hyper-v backend, you must have Containers and Hyper-V features in Windows enabled.

What will your installer include?

When you run the installer, it will automatically install Docker Engine, Docker Compose, Docker CLI Client, Kubernetes, Credential Helper, and Notary.

When you create images and containers in the Docker Desktop for Windows with a hyper-v backend, these will be shared among all the user accounts in your Windows machine. However, if you use the WSL2 backend, they won’t be shared among the user accounts.

Steps to Install Docker on Windows

Now, let’s check out all the steps that you would have to perform to install Docker on Windows 10.

  • The first step is to install the Docker Desktop for Windows. You can visit this link to download the installer.
Download Docker Desktop for Windows
Download Docker Desktop for Windows

Click on the Get Docker Desktop for Windows button to start the Download.

  • After the download is complete, double-click on the installer. This will start the installer and it will begin downloading some packages.
Install Docker on Windows
Install Docker on Windows
  • Once it has downloaded the package, based on your system backend, it will prompt you to select one of the two configurations – Enable Hyper-V Windows Features or the Install required Windows components for WSL 2. In this case, we will demonstrate the steps for the second approach.
Selecting the WSL2 Configuration
Selecting the WSL2 Configuration
  • Check the boxes and click on the OK button below. Next, it will start instaling the packages as well as the configuration for WSL2.
Install Docker Desktop on Windows
Install Docker Desktop on Windows

You will see that it automatically creates the Docker group, adds the users, and installs Windows components for WSL2.

Install and configure all the components
Install and configure all the components

Next, it will ask you to close and restart the windows. Before that, if your account is not the admin account, you need to make sure that you add the user which you want to have access to Docker to the docker-users group. To do so, you need to run Computer Management as an administrator. Then you need to navigate to the Local Users and Groups > Groups > docker-users. Next, you need to right-click to add the user to the group.

After you have done all the above steps, it’s time to restart windows.

Install Docker Desktop on Windows
Install Docker Desktop on Windows
  • After you have restarted your Windows machine, you can move to start menu and select Docker Desktop.
Docker Desktop
  • This will open the onboarding tutorial. Congrats! You have successfully installed Docker on Windows.
Docker Onboarding Tutorial
Docker Onboarding Tutorial

Troubleshooting Errors

You might come across some errors such as the one below.

Troubleshooting errors
Troubleshooting Errors

Check out the below solutions to solve any kind of errors that you might face while installing Docker on Windows.

For Windows with WSL2 Backend and Windows Home.

Please make sure that you have the following features enabled.

  1. Hypervisor enabled at Windows startup
  2. Windows Subsystem for Linux
  3. Virtual Machine Platform
  4. Virtualization enabled in the BIOS

To do so, navigate to Start > Control Panel > Programs > Program Features > Turn Windows On or Off.

Troubleshooting Errors
Troubleshooting Errors

Ensure that you have checked the following checkboxes – Windows Hypervisor Platform, Windows Subsystem for Linux.

For Windows with Hyper-V Backend

If you have a hyper-v backend on Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you need to make sure that you have the following features enabled:

  1. Hyper-V installed and working.
  2. Virtualization enabled in the BIOS.
  3. Hypervisor enabled at Windows startup.
Hyper-V on Windows features

You need to have Hyper-V as well as the Hyper-V Module for Windows Powershell to run Docker Desktop if you are using a hyper-v backend. In most cases, the Docker Desktop installer automatically enables it for you.

Enable Virtualization

In addition to WSL2 or hyper-v, you must have virtualization enabled. To check this, open task manager and go to the performance tab.

Check for virtualization
Check for virtualization

Enable Hypervisor on Windows Startup

If you are still experiencing issues on Docker startup, this can be due to the fact that you have installed hypervisor but it is not configured to launch at Windows startup. To do so follow these steps.

  • Open Command Prompt as an administrator by right-clicking on it.
  • Run the command following command.
bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype auto
Troubleshoot through command line
Troubleshoot through command line
  • Restart Windows.

Final Thoughts!

To sum up, in this article, we have discussed how to install Docker on Windows machine. We have discussed all the steps that you would require to perform to install Docker Desktop on your Windows 10 PC. At the end, we have also discussed several ways to troubleshoot any issues or errors that you might come across. We hope that you will now be able to install Docker very easily. If you have any queries or suggestions, do mention them in the comment and our expert will get back to you as soon as possible.

Also, check out our complete Docker Tutorials.

Recommended Articles –

  1. What is Docker?
  2. Docker Vs Virtual Machines
  3. How to install Docker on Ubuntu/Linux?

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