Windows container requirements

This guide lists the requirements for a Windows container Host.

OS requirements

  • The Windows container feature is only available on Windows Server 2016 (Core and with Desktop Experience), Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise (Anniversary Edition) and later.
  • The Hyper-V role must be installed before running Hyper-V isolation
  • Windows Server Container hosts must have Windows installed to c:. This restriction does not apply if only Hyper-V isolated containers will be deployed.

Virtualized container hosts

If a Windows container host will be run from a Hyper-V virtual machine, and will also be hosting Hyper-V isolation, nested virtualization will need to be enabled. Nested virtualization has the following requirements:

  • At least 4 GB RAM available for the virtualized Hyper-V host.
  • Windows Server 2019, Windows Server version 1803, Windows Server version 1709, Windows Server 2016, or Windows 10 on the host system, and Windows Server (Full, Core) in the virtual machine.
  • A processor with Intel VT-x (this feature is currently only available for Intel processors).
  • The container host VM will also need at least two virtual processors.

Memory requirements

Restrictions on available memory to containers can be configured though resource controls or by overloading a container host. The minimum amount of memory required to launch a container and run basic commands (ipconfig, dir, and so on) are listed below.


These values don't take into account resource sharing between containers or requirements from the application running in the container. For example a host with 512MB of free memory can run multiple Server Core containers under Hyper-V isolation because those containers share resources.

Windows Server 2016

Base image Windows Server container Hyper-V isolation
Nano Server 40 MB 130 MB + 1 GB Pagefile
Server Core 50 MB 325 MB + 1 GB Pagefile

Windows Server version 1709

Base image Windows Server container Hyper-V isolation
Nano Server 30 MB 110 MB + 1 GB Pagefile
Server Core 45 MB 360 MB + 1 GB Pagefile