How-To: Docker on Windows and Mac with Multipass

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If you’re looking for an alternative to Docker Desktop or to integrate Docker into your Multipass workflow, this how-to is for you.

Multipass can host a docker engine inside an Ubuntu VM in a manner similar to Docker Desktop. That Docker instance can be controlled either directly from the VM, or remotely from the host machine with no additional software required. This allows you to run Docker locally on your Windows or Mac machine directly from your host terminal.


In this tutorial, we will run the Docker Hello World container within a Multipass VM, from the host command line. To do so, we will:

Install Multipass (if not already installed)Use cloud-init to:Create a Multipass VMInstall docker engine on the VMAlias the docker command to the host command lineRun the Docker Hello World container from the host terminal Preparation

First, install Multipass by heading to and following the installation instructions there for your operating system.


We will start by running some cloud-init code to configure the VM. This creates a  virtual machine running with the latest Ubuntu LTS (20.04 at the time of writing) installed. This machine is configured with 4 CPUs, 4GB of RAM, and 40GB of disk. If you think you’ll need different specs, you can modify these steps as shown here.

In PowerShell, run the following cloud-init code to create a new VM called docker-vm with docker engine installed:

@’ groups: – docker snap: commands: – [install, docker] runcmd: – adduser ubuntu docker ‘@


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