Install Docker Desktop for Windows

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Docker Desktop for Windows is the Community Edition (CE) of Docker for Microsoft Windows. To download Docker Desktop for Windows, head to Docker Hub.

Download from Docker Hub

What to know before you install

  • README FIRST for Docker Toolbox and Docker Machine users: Docker Desktop for Windows requires Microsoft Hyper-V to run. The Docker Desktop for Windows installer enables Hyper-V for you, if needed, and restarts your machine. After Hyper-V is enabled, VirtualBox no longer works, but any VirtualBox VM images remain. VirtualBox VMs created with docker-machine (including the default one typically created during Toolbox install) no longer start. These VMs cannot be used side-by-side with Docker Desktop for Windows. However, you can still use docker-machine to manage remote VMs.

  • System Requirements:

    • Windows 10 64bit: Pro, Enterprise or Education (Build 15063 or later).
    • Virtualization is enabled in BIOS. Typically, virtualization is enabled by default. This is different from having Hyper-V enabled. For more detail see Virtualization must be enabled in Troubleshooting.
    • CPU SLAT-capable feature.
    • At least 4GB of RAM.

Note: If your system does not meet the requirements to run Docker Desktop for Windows, you can install Docker Toolbox, which uses Oracle Virtual Box instead of Hyper-V.

  • What the Docker Desktop for Windows install includes: The installation provides Docker Engine, Docker CLI client, Docker Compose, Docker Machine, and Kitematic.
  • Containers and images created with Docker Desktop for Windows are shared between all user accounts on machines where it is installed. This is because all Windows accounts use the same VM to build and run containers.
  • Nested virtualization scenarios, such as running Docker Desktop for Windows on a VMWare or Parallels instance might work, but there are no guarantees. For more information, see Running Docker Desktop for Windows in nested virtualization scenarios

Note: Refer to the Docker compatibility matrix for complete Docker compatibility information with Windows Server.

About Windows containers

Looking for information on using Windows containers?

Install Docker Desktop for Windows desktop app

  1. Double-click Docker Desktop Installer.exe to run the installer.

    If you haven’t already downloaded the installer (Docker Desktop Installer.exe), you can get it from Docker Hub. It typically downloads to your Downloads folder, or you can run it from the recent downloads bar at the bottom of your web browser.

  2. Follow the install wizard to accept the license, authorize the installer, and proceed with the install.

    You are asked to authorize with your system password during the install process. Privileged access is needed to install networking components, links to the Docker apps, and manage the Hyper-V VMs.

  3. Click Finish on the setup complete dialog to launch Docker.

Start Docker Desktop for Windows

Docker does not start automatically after installation. To start it, search for Docker, select Docker Desktop for Windows in the search results, and click it (or hit Enter).

search for Docker app

When the whale in the status bar stays steady, Docker is up-and-running, and accessible from any terminal window.

whale on taskbar

If the whale is hidden in the Notifications area, click the up arrow on the taskbar to show it. To learn more, see Docker Settings.

If you just installed the app, you also get a popup success message with suggested next steps, and a link to this documentation.

Startup information

When initialization is complete, select About Docker from the Notifications area icon to verify that you have the latest version.

Congratulations! You are up and running with Docker Desktop for Windows.

Where to go next

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