Running docker on WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux)

My build toolchain is frequently in there for node based applications, and I was looking for a way to run docker commands from WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux ).

Note: The below steps are a quick way to get it working but involves disabling TLS authentication. A more involved way to do this without disabling TLS can be found at


This setup puts the docker engine in Windows on top of Hyper-V, but allows you to control it either from Windows, or within WSL by connecting it to the Windows Docker Engine.

  1. Install docker for windows
  2. Go into the Docker for Windows settings and expose daemon on localhost
    docker windows settings
  3. Install docker in WSL (it’ll just install the client)
  4. Tell WSL to look for a docker engine on localhost
    TIP: put the export into your ~/.bashrc so you don’t need to run it ever time.
    export DOCKER_HOST=tcp://

Now you will be able to run standard docker commands run new images, show the running containers, etc. docker linux