Docker Community Forums

Share and learn in the Docker community.

Docker for Windows or Docker Toolbox

Hey all,

So I decided on using docker on my windows 10 system, but I cannot figure out which of the following is best to use:

  • Docker for Windows ( Hyper-V)
  • Docker Toolbox

As far as I can see the only difference between the two is the software used for virtualization. Is there any benefit in using the one over the other and which one is best to use?

Legacy desktop solution. Docker Toolbox is for older Mac and Windows systems that do not meet the requirements of Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows. We recommend updating to the newer applications, if possible.

1 Like

Thank you for the clarification!

Let me put it to the practical prospective:

  • At home I run Windows 10 Insider Preview, with Hyper-V role happily enabled. Thus I use 'Docker for Windows", which provides some benefits like Windows containers;

  • But while I’m at work I had to disable Hyper-V role on Windows 10 machine due to heavy investments in the Vmware images we done for development and debugging process. And Vmware is very incompatible with Hyper-V (or any other VMM which would use VTx). Thus I’m running boot2docker based “Docker Toolbox” with vmwareworkstation driver.

The boot2docker approach is nicely portable to different kinds of VMMs beyond Hyper-V, and allows us to keep our investments in virtual machines created, but has significant disadvantage - they do not run Windows-based containers.



There is another very important criteria. Even if you have the latest Windows 10 if you don’t have Windows 10 Pro it won’t run Docker for Windows.

If you have Windows 10 Home you must use Docker Toolbox

If you have Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise you can and is recommended running Docker for Windows



In a dev team where we have multiple operating systems (Windows 7, Windows 10, OS X) I’ve found Docker Toolbox to be preferable. Enabling Hyper-V in Windows isn’t always ideal (or possible) especially if you rely on Virtualbox on the same machine for doing other things, which means Docker Toolbox is still something that we’ll need to rely on for the foreseeable future.

I hope Docker Toolbox continues to receive client updates for a while yet because it definitely solves a different need than the “native” Windows and Mac installers :slight_smile:


I prefer Docler Toolbox since using Docker for windows, The GUI Tool Kitematic doesn’t work anymore. And I love Kitematic :wink:

Last year(2016) Docker for Windows & Hyper-V was unreliable on my Windows 10-Pro laptop. After switching back & forth between Hyper-V and Virtualbox, I settled on Docker Toolbox. This year(2017) significant upgrade on Windows-10 occurred and Docker Toolbox became inoperable, despite numerous upgrade & reinstall attempts. This forced me to re-examine Docker for Windows, which seems to have improved over last year’s offering. It’s only compatible, so far, with Windows-10 Pro and seems stable enough. I appreciate its auto-upgrade feature which was not available with Docker Toolbox. I may at some point, if I need Virtualbox for another project, try to run it in a container under Docker for Windows. I’m very impressed with Docker overall.

For me there seems to be an other issue to switch back from Docker for Windows to Docker Toolbox. Im not able to run a “docker-compose exec …” command for a hyper-v container. I read a lot of info about docker-machine for instance “docker-machine create --driver hyperv vm”. I spend now some days to test but Im not successful to use the exec command. Why is this so complex? Without direct access to the container it makes no sense for me. :`-(

Hi, I am having windows 8 system. When I try to install docker for windows it is showing out of memory. So I used docker toolbox. Can I use docker toolbox instead of docker for windows. Docker and docker toolbox work like same ? or is there any problem of using docker toolbox.

because my node application is should be accessible in different environment… docker toolbox will work in production?

I have an old laptop that i have managed to install windows 10 pro 64bit.
It does not support vt-x.

How am I suppose to install docker? Installing docker toolbox complains that I dont have vt-x support…

Not sure if somehow I am suppose to install virtualbox and then within there I am suppose to install docker toolbox?

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.


Legacy? I’m concerned if Docker Toolbox is to be described as ‘legacy’ if this means that no other ‘non-Hyper-V windows’ solution is to be officially supported by Docker going forward?

Perhaps both a Docker for Windows (Hyper-V) and a Docker for Windows (Non-Hyper-V) approach can be officially adopted?

For all the many reasons mentioned by others on the docker forum it would appear to make sense if a “non-Hyper-V docker for windows” target was maintained with current docker code or if this is not going to be possible, perhaps Docker could ‘officially recommend’ another non-Hyper-V virutualisation process eg VMWare/Virtualbox distro and usage process for windows users who either don’t want to or can’t run Hyper-V?

I guess a new docker for windows user can just try installing docker to a Centos virtualbox vm but for new to docker windows users who may not be sufficiently skilled in linux etc, having an ‘officially supported’ installation approach that deals specifically with usage for non-Hyper-V windows users would be very helpful. I suspect that the approach of steering all windows users down the the docker via hyper-v path may not prove popular for windows users which might be counter productive for Docker?

I am running Windows 10 Enterprise 2017 (so not really a legacy windows). I have Virtual Box 5.2.x installed and running, and I am not inclined to give it up yet. Now I need to do docker development (build new docker). So I am also facing the same question: Docker for Windows or Docker Toolbox? BTW, I am behind a proxy/firewall.

It is not clear what I gave up if I am going to Docker Toolbox even if I have an non-legacy windows… Any way, here is what I have done…

First I tried Docker for Windows. After downloading a 500MB+ Docker for Windows Installer.exe. I run as admin, and a GUI popup saying Downloading packages… but not responding. No progress after 30 minutes. Apparently it is trying to download additional packages over internet and got blocked by not able to get through the proxy. (You would think that with 500MB, no additional packages are needed, but apparently not the case).

Then I tried to download and set up DockerTool. This time at least I am able to run the dockertoolbox.exe and get to installation selection. One of the checkbox is VirtualBox. Since I already have virutalbox installed, I unchecked it. Then proceeded with installation. Installation did finish without error.

However, in dockertoolbox, running docker result in failure:

docker images (or docker ps)
Error during connect: get http://%2F%…/docker_engine/v1.37/json: open //…pipe.docker_engine. System cannot find the file specified.

OK. Docker engine apparently is not started. So how to start the docker engine? Is docker engine supposed to be a process running on Windows, or in VirtualBox? Can I manually use my own VirtualBox console to bring up docker engine image?

Thanks in advance!

I’ve been using docker toolbox on win10 pro with all the latest updates and I love it. Recently I decided to move to Docker Desktop after watching a docker con video where Docker Desktop was heavily pushed.

I would place myself as a docker power user. I mean I really do powerful stuff that the average run-of-the-mill docker user probably won’t ever do.

After much surgery I must admit that Docker Desktop is just far too much of a hassle to get up and running plus I can’t use it. None of my docker compositions wants to build and run. It refuses to mount volumes and my usual tty capabilities are now all broken.

Final score:
Docker Toolbox 10/10
Docker Desktop 0/10

Switching back to toolbox right now. Avoiding Docker Desktop like the plague!

I am facing trouble installing Docker toolbox - my computer is Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB. I am following the instructions here When I download and install the Docker tool box installer for windows, the virtualBox doesn’t show up on my desktop only the DockerQuickstart terminal and the Kitematic(Alpha) gets installed. When I try to launch the DockerQuickstart terminal, it gives me an error – that it is ‘Looking for vboxmanage.exe’. Any ideas that can help me? Thanks!

I see its already answered in above comments but my one cent :
Docker toolbox is used with virtualization enabled
Docker desktop is used with Hyper-V
The problem is if we turn on Hyper-V we cannot use Virtualization dependent s/w eg - Virtualbox which will cause issue if you turn on Hyper-V so its a hard decission to make