How to back up and restore your Docker Desktop data

Use the following procedure to save and restore your images and container data. This is useful if you want to reset your VM disk or to move your Docker environment to a new computer, for example.

Should I back up my containers?

If you use volumes or bind-mounts to store your container data, backing up your containers may not be needed, but make sure to remember the options that were used when creating the container or use a Docker Compose file if you want to re-create your containers with the same configuration after re-installation.

Save your data

  1. Commit your containers to an image with docker container commit.

    Committing a container stores the container filesystem changes and some of the container's configuration, for example labels and environment-variables, as a local image. Be aware that environment variables may contain sensitive information such as passwords or proxy-authentication, so care should be taken when pushing the resulting image to a registry.

    Also note that filesystem changes in volume that are attached to the container are not included in the image, and must be backed up separately.

    If you used a named volume to store container data, such as databases, refer to the back up, restore, or migrate data volumes page in the storage section.

  2. Use docker push to push any images you have built locally and want to keep to the Docker Hub registry.

    Make sure to configure the repository's visibility as "private" for images that should not be publicly accessible.

    Alternatively, use docker image save -o images.tar image1 [image2 ...] to save any images you want to keep to a local tar file.

After backing up your data, you can uninstall the current version of Docker Desktop and install a different version or reset Docker Desktop to factory defaults.

Restore your data

  1. Use docker pull to restore images you pushed to Docker Hub.

    If you backed up your images to a local tar file, use docker image load -i images.tar to restore previously saved images.

  2. Re-create your containers if needed, using docker run, or Docker Compose.

Refer to the backup, restore, or migrate data volumes page in the storage section to restore volume data.