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docker-credential-desktop.exe executable file not found in $PATH using wsl2

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The error “Docker-credential-desktop.exe executable file not found in $PATH using wsl2” usually occurs when Docker for Windows is not properly configured or accessible from the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2). This issue can disrupt Docker operations and authentication, affecting developers, DevOps engineers, and anyone who relies on Docker in their workflow. Here is a quick breakdown of this error:

Understanding the Error

  1. docker-credential-desktop.exe?: is an executable file bundled with Docker Desktop for Windows. Its primary purpose is to manage Docker credentials securely.
    • It stores your Docker registry credentials, such as username and password, securely on your system when you authenticate with a registry like Docker Hub.
  2. Role in Docker Authentication:
    • When you pull or push Docker images, Docker Desktop uses docker-credential-desktop.exe to retrieve your stored credentials.
    • It interacts with the Docker daemon to provide authentication details seamlessly, enabling you to work with private registries without manual intervention.
  3. WSL2 and Docker Interaction:
    • Docker Desktop integrates with WSL2, allowing you to run Linux containers directly from your Windows machine.
    • However, this integration can lead to path-related issues, including the error you’re encountering.
  4. Why Does the Error Occur?
    • The error indicates that WSL2 cannot find docker-credential-desktop.exe in the system’s $PATH.
    • This can result from misconfigured paths, updates, or changes in Docker Desktop settings.

Common Causes

There are many reasons that could cause this error to occur, and some of these reasons may include:

  1. Misconfigured Paths:
    • The error often occurs when the system cannot locate docker-credential-desktop.exe in the specified paths.
  2. Docker Desktop Updates:
    • After updating Docker Desktop, the executable paths or configurations may change.
    • Sometimes, the update process doesn’t correctly update the paths, leading to this error.
  3. Permissions Issues:
    • Insufficient permissions for accessing the Docker Desktop resources can cause the error.
    • Ensure that your user account has the necessary permissions to execute Docker-related files.
  4. Corrupted Installation:
    • A corrupted Docker Desktop installation can result in missing or broken files.
    • Reinstalling Docker Desktop might resolve the issue.


For this error, there are a few ways to resolve it and two of them are:

Solution 1: Modify ~/.docker/config.json

  1. Open the config.json file with a text editor like vim.
    vim ~/.docker/config.json
  2. After opening the configuration file, look for a property named credsStore. Now you have two options:
    • Option A – You either Delete the entire line containing credStore
    • Option B – Rename credsStore to credStore.
  3. Then press ESC and :wq to save and exit the text editor.
  4. Restart Docker Desktop to apply the changes.

Solution 2: Create a Symbolic Link

If solution 1 does not work, you can create a symbolic link from Windows path to the Linux path as demonstrated in the following command:

  1. sudo ln -s /mnt/c/Program Files/Docker/Docker/resources/bin/docker-credential-desktop.exe /usr/bin/docker-credential-desktop.exe
  2. Restart Docker Desktop to apply the changes.

Test Your Setup

Pull an image from a registry or run a container to confirm that Docker is functioning correctly.


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Abraham Dahunsi Web Developer 🌐 | Technical Writer ✍️| DevOps Enthusiast👨‍💻 | Python🐍 |
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