While most people think containers is a Linux only “thing” they are somewhat right, however back in October 2014, Microsoft announced that it will support Docker in the next (at that time) release of Windows Server (later known as Windows Server 2016).

A long time has passed since than, and in this post we will take a look at how Docker is working on Windows, and specially Windows 10.

So… where to start?

To get started with Docker on Windows you need to have a Windows machine 🙂 it doesn’t really matters if it’s virtual or hardware based installation of Windows.

However If you running Windows inside a virtual machine please take a look at this post to make sure that Docker could run the nested containers.

In order to run Docker natively on top of the existing Operating System you can choose the following versions of Windows;

  • Windows 10 Pro – 64 bits (Home is not supported)
  • Windows 10 Enterprise – 64 bits
  • Windows Server 2016

If your running any other version of Windows you still can use Docker, but then you need to use a virtual machine like VirtualBox or the Docker Toolbox, but that’s out of scope of this post.

It’s important to understand that Windows 10 run’s Docker Community Edition (free to use) and the Docker instance running on Windows Server 2016 is the Enterprise Edition (with paid support, so not free). Also Windows Server 2016 does not support the Community Edition.

More on the differences between the Docker Community Edition (CE) & Enterprise Edition (EE) can be found over here.

In this guide we focus on Docker running on Windows 10, Windows Server 2016 will be written down in a separate blog post.

Let’s get started!

First things first; we need to make sure the system is fully updated with the latest Windows updates (I know, it will take ages and a lot of reboots to get there, but hey it’s Windows).

Download Docker for Windows

The next step after updating Windows is off course to download the Docker for Windows installer. The installation files can be found on the Docker Store’s website.

Click on the Get Docker button to download the Docker for Windows installer.

Install Docker for Windows

Next step is to run the installer, that you just have downloaded.

Click on Yes in the UAC screen to continue.

All you need to do is waiting for the installer to finish…

Click on Close and log out to complete the installation.

Once your logged back in Windows, Docker will let you know that both the Hyper-V and the Containers features needs to be enabled, you could do this yourself of let the installer take care of this for you.

So click on OK to enable these features, note: the system will reboot without any warning!

After the reboot, it could be that after some time you will get an error that there something wrong. If you get the error here above, the small helper virtual machine could not be started!
To solve this issue take a look at this post how to enable nested virtualization.

Running containers

After a few minutes a pop-up will be shown that Docker is running.
Great Docker is now running and we are ready to start containers!

The best way to interact with Docker is to use Windows Powershell, to start the hello-world container just execute this command.

docker run hello-world

Congratulations you just have started your first container on Windows!


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