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Ajeet Raina Ajeet Singh Raina is a former Docker Captain, Community Leader and Distinguished Arm Ambassador. He is a founder of Collabnix blogging site and has authored more than 700+ blogs on Docker, Kubernetes and Cloud-Native Technology. He runs a community Slack of 9800+ members and discord server close to 2600+ members. You can follow him on Twitter(@ajeetsraina).

How to change the default Disk Image Installation directory in Docker Desktop for Windows

1 min read

Docker Desktop is a powerful tool that allows developers to build, ship, and run applications in containers. By default, Docker stores its images and containers in the system drive, which can sometimes lead to storage space issues. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to change the Docker image installation directory on the Windows platform.

Tested System:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1
  • Microsoft Windows 11 Pro
  • 32 GB RAM
  • 13th Gen Intel Core i7-1355U

Pre-requisite:

  1. Ensure that you have installed the latest version of Docker Desktop for Windows 4.26.1.
Image1

2. Ensure that “Use the WSL2 based engine” is enabled under Dashboard > Settings > General.

Image2

3. Open Settings > Resources > WSL Integration option.

As shown, the current default Docker Image location is C:\Users\ajeet\AppData\Local\Docker\wsl.

Image3 embed

Changing the Installation Directory

Go ahead and try changing the default Disk Image location.

Image5

Quick Note: The Resource section also allows you to configure limits on the memory, CPU and Swap size allocated to WSL2 by editing the .wslconfig file.

The wsl.conf and .wslconfig files are used to configure advanced settings options, on a per-distribution basis (wsl.conf) and globally across all WSL 2 distributions (.wslconfig). This guide will cover each of the settings options, when to use each file type, where to store the file, sample settings files and tips.

What is the difference between wsl.conf and .wslconfig?

You can configure the settings for your installed Linux distributions that will automatically be applied every time you launch WSL in two ways, by using:

  • .wslconfig to configure global settings across all installed distributions running on WSL 2.
  • wsl.conf to configure local settings per-distribution for each Linux distribution running on WSL 1 or WSL 2.

Both file types are used for configuring WSL settings, but the location where the file is stored, the scope of the configuration, the type of options that can be configured, and the version of WSL running your distribution all impact which file type to choose.

WSL 1 and WSL 2 run with different architecture and will impact the configuration settings. WSL 2 runs as a lightweight virtual machine (VM), so uses virtualization settings that allow you to control the amount of memory or processors used (which may be familiar if you use Hyper-V or VirtualBox). Check which version of WSL you are running.

Configuring which WSL 2 distros you want to access Docker from

You can “Enable integration with my default WSL distro” under Resources > WSL Integration option.

Image description

Conclusion

Changing the Docker image installation directory on Windows is a straightforward process. By selecting a different location with more available space, you can avoid running into storage issues when working with containers.

Remember to be cautious when modifying Docker settings, and always ensure that you have adequate disk space on the chosen drive. Happy containerizing!

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Ajeet Raina Ajeet Singh Raina is a former Docker Captain, Community Leader and Distinguished Arm Ambassador. He is a founder of Collabnix blogging site and has authored more than 700+ blogs on Docker, Kubernetes and Cloud-Native Technology. He runs a community Slack of 9800+ members and discord server close to 2600+ members. You can follow him on Twitter(@ajeetsraina).
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