Connecting WSL to Docker Toolbox on Windows 10 Home

Here’s how to run Docker on Windows 10 and connect it to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) CLI.

Install Docker Toolbox

Docker for Windows requires at least the Pro edition. Toolbox is a “legacy desktop solution” that will run Docker on Windows 10 Home. It runs the Docker host in a Linux virtual machine but comes with tools like the Docker Quickstart Terminal that are preconfigured to work with this ‘remote’ machine.

Follow the steps in the Docker documentation to install Docker Toolbox.

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

Follow the Microsoft documentation to install WSL. Ubuntu is the most popular choice.

Install and Configure Docker Client in WSL

Install the Docker CLI.

sudo apt install

The virtual machine running Docker is managed by the docker-machine command. Get the URL of the remote Docker host by typing the following command. If the machine is stopped, run docker-machine.exe start.

docker-machine.exe ls

Set the DOCKER_HOST to that URL given from the above command. Add it to ~/.bash_profile to start every time a console is launched.

Example URL: tcp://

echo "export DOCKER_HOST=<url>" >> ~/.bash_profile

Configure TLS for the Docker host.

echo "export DOCKER_TLS_VERIFY=1" >> ~/.bash_profile

ln -s /mnt/c/Users/<username>/.docker/machine/certs /home/<username>/.docker

Test it out.

docker run hello-world


Docker Toolbox Docs

WSL Docs

Written on September 3, 2019