Windows Containers on Windows 10

The exercise will walk through creating and running Windows containers on Windows 10.

In this quick start you will accomplish:

  1. Installing Docker for Windows
  2. Running a simple Windows container

This quick start is specific to Windows 10. Additional quick start documentation can be found in the table of contents on the left-hand side of this page.


Please make sure you meet the following requirements:

  • One physical computer system running Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise with Anniversary Update (version 1607) or later.
  • Make sure Hyper-V is enabled.

Hyper-V isolation: Windows Server Containers require Hyper-V isolation on Windows 10 in order to provide developers with the same kernel version and configuration that will be used in production, more about Hyper-V isolation can be found on the About Windows container page.


In the release of Windows October Update 2018, we no longer disallow users from running a Windows container in process-isolation mode on Windows 10 Enterprise or Professional for dev/test purposes. See the FAQ to learn more.

Install Docker for Windows

Download Docker for Windows and run the installer (You will be required to login. Create an account if you don't have one already). Detailed installation instructions are available in the Docker documentation.

Switch to Windows containers

After installation Docker for Windows defaults to running Linux containers. Switch to Windows containers using either the Docker tray-menu or by running the following command in a PowerShell prompt:

& $Env:ProgramFiles\Docker\Docker\DockerCli.exe -SwitchDaemon .

Install Base Container Images

Windows containers are built from base images. The following command will pull the Nano Server base image.

docker pull

Once the image is pulled, running docker images will return a list of installed images, in this case the Nano Server image.

docker images

REPOSITORY             TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
microsoft/nanoserver   latest              105d76d0f40e        4 days ago          652 MB


Please read the Windows containers OS image EULA.

Run Your First Windows Container

For this simple example, a ‘Hello World’ container image will be created and deployed. For the best experience run these commands in an elevated Windows CMD shell or PowerShell.

Windows PowerShell ISE does not work for interactive sessions with containers. Even though the container is running, it will appear to hang.

First, start a container with an interactive session from the nanoserver image. Once the container has started, you will be presented with a command shell from within the container.

docker run -it cmd.exe

Inside the container we will create a simple ‘Hello World’ text file.

echo "Hello World!" > Hello.txt

When completed, exit the container.


You will now create a new container image from the modified container. To see a list of containers run the following and take note of the container id.

docker ps -a

Run the following command to create the new ‘HelloWorld’ image. Replace with the id of your container.

docker commit <containerid> helloworld

When completed, you now have a custom image that contains the hello world script. This can be seen with the following command.

docker images

Finally, to run the container, use the docker run command.

docker run --rm helloworld cmd.exe /s /c type Hello.txt

The outcome of the docker run command is that a container running under Hyper-V isolation was created from the 'HelloWorld' image, an instance of cmd was started in the container and executed a reading of our file (output echoed to the shell), and then the container stopped and removed.

Next Steps