Simple way to Docker on Windows 10 home with WSL 2

Have you ever faced cannot connect to the docker daemon at unix:///var/run/docker.sock. is the docker daemon running? on Windows / WSL? This means you've installed only docker CLI, but docker daemon is still not working.

Windows Subsystem for Linux is a Linux environment which could be installed on Windows10 machines and then could be used to run linux binaries. But WSL 1 was too limited to be compatible with the docker daemon as it requers a set of low level features.

WSL 2 is a brand new environment read more which supports easy integration with docker host mode. In other words, you don't need stand-alone virtual machines like virtualbox or VMware and complex setup guides anymore, docker will work natively here 😊

To install WSL 2 on your Windows 10 Home (or Windows 10 Pro) use this guide. To make docker work then, carefully execute all steps including installing wsl_update_x64.msi.

Installing Docker

Get the Docker here and install it:


Start Docker Desktop from Start menu.

Go to Settings -> Resources -> WSL Integration. If you had WSL 1 before WSL 2 like most of us, it might show you You don't have any WSL 2 distro...:

How to fix "You don't have any WSL 2 distro"

Now configure your WSL distribution to run WSL version 2 (I had 1 by default).

To check current version, just run in cmd:

wsl.exe -l -v

It will show:

C:\Users\Ivan>wsl.exe -l -v
  NAME                   STATE           VERSION
* Ubuntu-18.04           Stopped         1
  docker-desktop-data    Running         2
  docker-desktop         Running         2

Ignore docker distributions. The first line holds your real distribution. To set version 2 I executed :

wsl.exe --set-version Ubuntu-18.04 2

Where Ubuntu-18.04 is the distro name from wsl -l -v command. It takes a few minutes😐, but don't close the terminal.

When it is finished, click Refresh.

Now hit Apply and Restart 💪:

Try it

Run your distro terminal from the start menu:

Now execute 🚀

docker run -d -p 80:80 docker/getting-started


And open https://localhost/ then:


Congratulations, it is working🎉

What should you do if you "cannot connect to the docker daemon"

If you are receiving some sort of: * cannot connect to the Docker daemon at unix:///var/run/docker.sock. is the docker daemon running? * couldn't connect to docker daemon at http+docker://localhost - is it running? * cannot connect to docker daemon * error: couldn't connect to docker daemon at http+docker://localhost - is it running?

Then it means that the docker daemon not running, so please make sure that your docker daemon is running.

If you would be on Linux, you should do:

service status docker

The difference on Windows WSL 2, that you should still visit Docker Desktop from the start menu to make sure the daemon is working.

bits of advice

#wsl #docker
menu 122
Oct 23, 2020
by Ivan Borshchov

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