Docker Desktop for Windows ARM

Hello Community Devs,
I created this forum because I didn’t find anything related to installing Docker Desktop on devices running Windows ARM64.

I have a Microsoft Surface Pro X computer with ARM SQ1 chip and Windows Pro running the Windows Isider program.
I performed the installation of WSL, WVM and everything else that Docker Desktop requires, but it didn’t work.

If anyone has managed to do this installation, please share with us.


1 Like

Correct me if I am wrong, but Windows on ARM CPU is pretty new, isn’t it? I don’t think Docker Desktop for Windows supports ARM. When Apple started to sell MacBooks with ARM CPUs, Docker started to support the M1 chip and you could download an installer for Apple chips and an other for intel chips. So if you can find only one installer, that is only for AMD64 CPUs. Since you mentioned WSL, you could use WSL2 and install Docker CE directly on a WSL distribution. As you can see here, Docker CE supports arm64

Thanks for the pointer. There is a very new Windows ARM Dev Kit from Microsoft, which I now have on order. Certainly, as with the Apple M1 port of Docker Desktop, it will be handy to get an ARM Windows 11 Desktop native, but I’ll try out the pointer to the WSL2 / Ubuntu to see how far that gets me.

Windows ARM isn’t new. The first ARM based Windows PC came out as Surface RT a decade ago. There are already different brands of ARM based Windows laptops on sale today (Lenovo X13S, Samsung Galaxy Book Go, Surface Pro X, Surface Pro 9, etc).

Microsoft’s newly released Dev Kit opens up the possibility of having server and desktop environments integrated to ARM64 platform. Many apps have already been ported or in process of being ported to ARM64 already: Spotify, VS Code, VLC Player, Visual Studio, MS Office, Git currently have running builds on ARM64.

Having a native Docker build is crucial in this process. WSL2-based workarounds don’t work for Windows-based build environments.

@esesci Thank you for your comment. I only did a quick research when I wrote my last comment, but I didn’t find many source about Windows on ARM, only Windows Surface Pro X which is in the original post. Now I see the CPU was released in 2019, so I agree, it is not so new. Definitely

It was still ARM 32, right? I know, Microsoft had previous attempts to make ARM compatible Windows, but when I go to the Microsoft documentation, I get this:

Windows has traditionally run on machines that are powered by x86 / x64 processors, but more recently, also runs on devices powered by Arm processors.

There was an announcement in 2022:

To ensure ease of use for our shared customers, we are also announcing a comprehensive end-to-end Arm-native toolchain for Arm native apps, including:

  • Full Visual Studio 2022 & VSCode
  • Visual C++
  • Modern .NET 6 and Java
  • Classic .NET Framework
  • Windows Terminal
  • WSL and WSA for running Linux and Android apps

It also mentions WSL, which is one of the requirements of Docker Desktop unless you are using the Hyper-V Backend which is not available on Windows Home.

I am just guessing, since I am not an employee of Docker Inc, but I know that Docker Inc and Microsoft worked together to make Windows containers possible, so there must be a reason why they could not make Docker Desktop available for Windows with ARM CPU.

There is a roadmap post on GitHub:

You can find the response of Justin Cormack, the CTO of Docker from 2020:

Hi, Arm lent us a Windows 10 machine a while back and I did a little testing. Docker runs fine on Arm64 WSL2 if you install it yourself (via ), which is great, once you have updated to a Windows version that supports WSL2.

Building Docker Desktop has a bunch of issues around software we use and available toolchains, and as you say lack of emulation for 32 bit x86. This situation should get better over time as the Windows arm64 ecosystem gets better and we update some dependencies. If other people are interested please let us know.

Recent comments mention “Project Volterra” which was also mentioned in the article I linked from 2022.

So I am sure, when it is possible, Docker will make an ARM version of Docker Desktop on Windows. Until that, you can add your comments to the roadmap so they will know that how many people need it.