Docker License to run Linux Docker container on Windows 2019 Server


We have licenses to run Desktop Desktop on WIndows 10. We are exploring if we can run docker (as a linux container) on Windows 2019 server. We want to be able to run ‘docker compose’ on it.

I am wondering:

  1. Can we run/install Desktop Desktop (as linux container) on Windows 2019 Server?
  2. To do so, does it require a license? What kind of license? Is the license to run Docker Desktop applicable?

Recently, Docker updates its license policy. I am kind of confused by the licenses as well as the products in order to run a docker as ‘linux’ container on Windows 2019 server.


I can understand why you are confused by the license, however I am confused by your expressions. Could you clarify them?

Do you mean you want to run Docker on Windows Server and run Linux containers with the help of Docker? Because you definitely can’t run Docker Desktop as a Linux container especially not on Windows which would only support Windows containers without Docker Desktop.

If I understood you correctly, If you are lucky you may be able to run Docker Desktop on Windows Server because some people managed to do it, but then they reported it stopped working after some time. Docker Desktop is not supported on Windows Server as far as I know. You could run dockerd without the desktop, but that would not support Linux containers.

You could try to run Docker Desktop in a HyperV virtual machine, but that would mean nested virtualization: Frequently asked questions | Docker Documentation
and I am not sure about the license either. There were questions about it on the forum, but I will not try to search for it, because you could just run a HyperV vitual machine with a Linux guest and install Docker without the desktop on Linux. There are some good Docker extensions but otherwise I prefer the command line usually. If you still want a GUI, you can try Portainer, but I recommend the command line to learn the commands (if you haven’t done it yet) and be able to use every tutorial you find, since Docker Desktop is different and can confuse you even though it has advantages like extensions and the emulation of multiple architectures. The latter can be configured on any Linux manually.