Note: Docker has been tested on Windows 7.1 and 8; it may also run on older versions. Your processor needs to support hardware virtualization.

The Docker Engine uses Linux-specific kernel features, so to run it on Windows we need to use a lightweight virtual machine (vm). You use the Windows Docker client to control the virtualized Docker Engine to build, run, and manage Docker containers.

To make this process easier, we've designed a helper application called Boot2Docker that installs the virtual machine and runs the Docker daemon.



  1. Download the latest release of the Docker for Windows Installer
  2. Run the installer, which will install VirtualBox, MSYS-git, the boot2docker Linux ISO, and the Boot2Docker management tool.
  3. Run the Boot2Docker Start shell script from your Desktop or Program Files > Boot2Docker for Windows. The Start script will ask you to enter an ssh key passphrase - the simplest (but least secure) is to just hit [Enter].

The Boot2Docker Start script will connect you to a shell session in the virtual machine. If needed, it will initialize a new VM and start it.


  1. Download the latest release of the Docker for Windows Installer

  2. Run the installer, which will update the Boot2Docker management tool.

  3. To upgrade your existing virtual machine, open a terminal and run:

    boot2docker stop
    boot2docker download
    boot2docker start

Running Docker

Note: if you are using a remote Docker daemon, such as Boot2Docker, then do not type the sudo before the docker commands shown in the documentation's examples.

Boot2Docker will log you in automatically so you can start using Docker right away.

Let's try the hello-world example image. Run

$ docker run hello-world

This should download the very small hello-world image and print a Hello from Docker. message.

Login with PUTTY instead of using the CMD

Boot2Docker generates and uses the public/private key pair in your %HOMEPATH%\.ssh directory so to log in you need to use the private key from this same directory.

The private key needs to be converted into the format PuTTY uses.

You can do this with puttygen:

  • Open puttygen.exe and load ("File"->"Load" menu) the private key from %HOMEPATH%\.ssh\id_boot2docker
  • then click: "Save Private Key".
  • Then use the saved file to login with PuTTY using docker@

Further Details

The Boot2Docker management tool provides several commands:

$ ./boot2docker
Usage: ./boot2docker [<options>] {help|init|up|ssh|save|down|poweroff|reset|restart|config|status|info|ip|delete|download|version} [<args>]

Container port redirection

If you are curious, the username for the boot2docker default user is docker and the password is tcuser.

The latest version of boot2docker sets up a host only network adaptor which provides access to the container's ports.

If you run a container with an exposed port:

docker run --rm -i -t -p 80:80 nginx

Then you should be able to access that nginx server using the IP address reported to you using:

boot2docker ip

Typically, it is, but it could get changed by Virtualbox's DHCP implementation.

For further information or to report issues, please see the Boot2Docker site