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Windows may seem like an "easy button". For Eth Docker, it is anything but, and even running native Windows clients presents multiple challenges. They can all be overcome, and the eth-wizard project aims to do just that.

If you wish to run Eth Docker on Windows regardless, this is what's required.

  • Windows 11 Pro 22H2 build 22621.2428 (KB5031354 October 2023) or later, ideally with 64 GiB RAM so that WSL defaults to 30 GiB
  • WSL 2, the "Windows Subsystem for Linux", which runs a Linux kernel in a lightweight VM
  • WSL networking that is reachable from the LAN
  • Functioning time sync
  • Docker Desktop, with Windows configured to start it on boot

These are the configuration steps:


  • Verify you are running Windows 11 Pro 22H2 build 22621.2428 or later and have sufficient RAM
  • To keep the system secure, configure Windows Update to download and apply patches automatically, and to update WSL. Settings -> Windows Update -> Advanced, enable "Receive updates for other Microsoft products" and "Get me up to date".


  • From Windows Store, install WSL and Ubuntu current LTS. Debian is also an option, it is however quite bare-bones without even man-db out of the box.
  • This defaults to WSL 2, but if you have an older WSL 1 install, find it with wsl --list -v and change it with wsl --set-version DISTRO-NAME 2 as well as wsl --set-default-version 2.
  • Install WSL 2.0.14 or later. It should come in automatically with Windows Update, and can also be updated in PowerShell with wsl --update.
  • Increase the disk space available to WSL from 1TB to 2TB.
  • Create a scheduled task in Task Scheduler to keep Ubuntu/Debian in WSL updated.
    • Call it WSLUpdate
    • Run every day at a time you like
    • Run only if any network is connected
    • Run as soon as possible if a start was missed
    • Stop task if it runs longer than 1 hour
    • Create two "Start Program" actions
      • The first is wsl.exe -u root -e apt-get update
      • The second is wsl.exe -u root DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive apt-get -y --autoremove dist-upgrade

WSL Networking

  • Configure WSL for mirrored networking. Edit .wslconfig in your Windows home directory and add
  • Mirrored networking shares the MAC address, IPv4 address and IPv6 address of the Windows host machine. On your router, set a DHCP reservation for this machine so WSL always has the same local IP; or configure Windows with a static IP. This makes port forwarding of the P2P ports possible, and makes remote access easier.
  • Check memory assigned to WSL with free -h. If it's too low for your chosen client mix, edit .wslconfig in your Windows home directory and add a memory section, for example

Time sync

  • Fix Windows time sync
    • Change w32time to start automatically. In Administrator cmd, but not PowerShell, sc triggerinfo w32time start/networkon stop/networkoff. Verify with sc qtriggerinfo w32time. To get into cmd that way, you can start Admin PowerShell and then just type cmd.
    • In Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\w32time\Config, set MaxPollInterval to hex c, decimal 12.
    • Check Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\w32time\Parameters\NtpServer. If it ends in 0x9 you are done. If it ends in 0x1 you need to adjust SpecialPollInterval in Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\w32time\TimeProviders\NtpClient to read 3600
    • Reboot, then from Powershell run w32tm /query /status /verbose to verify that w32time service did start. If it didn't, check triggers again. If all else fails, set it to Automatic Delayed startup
  • Enable systemd for WSL and install chrony with sudo apt install -y chrony.
  • If despite chrony, you still see clock skew in WSL, set a scheduled task to keep WSL in sync with your Windows clock. From non-admin Powershell, run schtasks /Create /TN WSLTimeSync /TR "wsl -u root hwclock -s" /SC ONEVENT /EC System /MO "*[System[Provider[@Name='Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-Power'] and (EventID=107 or EventID=507) or Provider[@Name='Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-General'] and (EventID=1)]]" /F.

Docker Desktop

  • Install Docker Desktop.
  • Configure it to start on login, but not to open the Docker Dashboard on start.
  • It should default to use the WSL 2 based engine.
  • Configure Docker Desktop to download patches automatically. Applying them may be a manual step.
  • Your node needs to run after Windows reboot for 24/7 uptime. Docker Desktop only starts well with a logged-in user. To solve this, use Windows ARSO.
    • Start group policy editor, find "Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows sign in Options" and enable "Sign-in and lock last interactive user automatically after a restart"
    • If you are not using Bitlocker, you may also need "Configure the mode of automatically signing in and locking last interactive user after a restart or cold boot". I was unable to configure this from the GUI and ended up using RegEdit. Navigate to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System and create a new DWORD called AutomaticRestartSignOnConfig. Set it to 0 if you use BitLocker, and to 1 if you are not.


  • Optional: Improve your WSL experience with Windows Terminal and oh-my-zsh
  • Optional: Use sparse VHD for WSL, wsl.exe --list and then wsl.exe --manage DISTRO-NAME --set-sparse true. I have not tested the performance impact of this.
  • Optional: Configure your Windows drive to be encrypted with Bitlocker. Be very careful to print out the recovery key and keep it safe. Always suspend Bitlocker before doing a UEFI/BIOS upgrade.

From here, you should be able to configure Eth Docker as usual, see Quick Start.