If you are using Docker Desktop on Windows 10, you might encounter an error message that says “Docker Desktop stopped”. This can be frustrating and prevent you from running your containers and applications. In this tutorial, I will explain what causes this error and how to solve it in four easy steps.
Step 1: Enable Virtualization in BIOS and Install WSL2 Linux Kernel Update
One of the common causes of the Docker Desktop Stopped error on Windows 10 is that your system does not have the required features to run Docker Desktop. These features are virtualization and WSL2. In this step, I will show you how to enable virtualization in BIOS and install WSL2 Linux kernel update on your computer.
Virtualization is a technology that allows your computer to run multiple operating systems or applications in separate environments. This is essential for Docker Desktop because it uses a virtual machine to host the Docker engine and run your containers. To enable virtualization in BIOS, you need to access the BIOS setup menu when you boot your computer. The exact steps may vary depending on your computer model and manufacturer, but usually you need to press a key like F2, F10, or Delete during the boot process. Once you are in the BIOS menu, look for an option called “Virtualization Technology”, “VT-x”, “AMD-V”, or something similar and enable it. Save the changes and exit the BIOS menu.
WSL2 stands for Windows Subsystem for Linux version 2. It is a compatibility layer that allows you to run Linux binaries natively on Windows 10. This is important for Docker Desktop because it uses WSL2 as the backend engine to run Linux containers on Windows. To install WSL2 Linux kernel update, you need to download it from this link: https://wslstorestorage.blob.core.windows.net/wslblob/wsl_update_x64.msi. Run the installer and follow the instructions. You may need to restart your computer again after the installation.
By enabling virtualization in BIOS and installing WSL2 Linux kernel update, you have fixed one of the possible reasons for the Docker Desktop Stopped error on Windows 10. In the next step, I will show you how to check your Docker settings.json file and set wslEngineEnabled to true.
Step 2: Check Your Docker Settings.json File and Set wslEngineEnabled to True
Another potential cause of the Docker Desktop Stopped error on Windows 10 is that your Docker settings.json file does not have the correct configuration for using WSL2 as the backend engine. The settings.json file is located at
C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Docker\ and contains various options for customizing your Docker experience.
To check your Docker settings.json file and set wslEngineEnabled to true, you need to open the file with a text editor like Notepad or Visual Studio Code. Look for a line that says
"wslEngineEnabled": false and change it to
"wslEngineEnabled": true. Save the file and close the editor.
By checking your Docker settings.json file and setting wslEngineEnabled to true, you have fixed another possible reason for the Docker Desktop Stopped error on Windows 10. In the next step, I will show you how to uninstall Docker Desktop 4.5.0 and install 4.4.4 instead.
Step 3: Try Uninstalling Docker Desktop 4.5.0 and Installing 4.4.4 Instead
Some users have reported that the Docker Desktop Stopped error on Windows 10 occurs only with Docker Desktop version 4.5.0 and that downgrading to version 4.4.4 solves the problem. This may be due to some bugs or compatibility issues with the latest version of Docker Desktop.
To uninstall Docker Desktop 4.5.0 and install 4.4.4 instead, you need to go to the Control Panel and select “Programs and Features”. Find Docker Desktop in the list of installed programs and click on “Uninstall”. Follow the prompts to remove Docker Desktop from your computer.
Then, download Docker Desktop version 4.4.4 from this link: https://desktop.docker.com/win/stable/amd64/69386/Docker%20Desktop%20Installer.exe. Run the installer and follow the instructions to install Docker Desktop on your computer.
By uninstalling Docker Desktop 4.5.0 and installing 4.4.4 instead, you have fixed another possible reason for the Docker Desktop Stopped error on Windows 10. In the next step, I will show you how to open Hyper-V Manager and connect to your local computer.
Step 4: Open Hyper-V Manager and Connect to Local Computer
The final potential cause of the Docker Desktop Stopped error on Windows 10 is that your Hyper-V Manager is not connected to your local computer. Hyper-V Manager is a tool that allows you to manage virtual machines and networks on your computer or remote servers. Docker Desktop uses Hyper-V Manager to create and run a virtual machine that hosts the Docker engine.
To open Hyper-V Manager and connect to the local computer, you need to press the Windows start button and type “hyper-v”. It will show you Hyper-V Manager in the search results. Open it and select “Connect to Server” from the right panel. A pop-up window will appear where you need to select “Local Computer” and click on “OK”.
By opening Hyper-V Manager and connecting to a local computer, you have fixed the final possible reason for the Docker Desktop Stopped error on Windows 10. You can now try running Docker Desktop again and see if it works without any issues.
You have now completed all the steps to fix the Docker Desktop Stopped error on Windows 10. I hope this tutorial was helpful for you. You have learned how to enable virtualization in BIOS, install WSL2 Linux kernel update package, check your Docker settings.json file, uninstall and install different versions of Docker Desktop, and open Hyper-V Manager and connect to local computer. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comments below.
I hope the above-mentioned suggestions will help you resolve the Docker Desktop Stopped error on Windows 10. This error can be annoying and prevent you from using Docker Desktop to run your containers and applications. By following the steps in this tutorial, you should be able to fix the error and enjoy Docker Desktop without any issues.
If you want to learn more about Docker and how to use it for various purposes, I recommend you to visit the “Docker tutorials for beginners” page. There you will find a series of tutorials that will teach you the basics of Docker, such as how to install Docker, how to create and run containers, how to build and share images, how to use Docker Compose and more. These tutorials are designed for beginners who want to get started with Docker and learn by doing.
Thank you for reading this tutorial. I hope you found it useful and informative. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comments below.