Having trouble setting up your machine or running a container? We created a PowerShell script to check for common problems. Please give it a try first to see what it finds and share your results.

Invoke-WebRequest -UseBasicParsing | Invoke-Expression

A list of all of the tests it runs along with common solutions is in the Readme file for the script.

If that doesn't help find the source of the problem, please go ahead and post the output from your script on the Container Forum. This is the best place to get help from the community including Windows Insiders and developers.

Finding Logs

There are multiple services that are used to manage Windows containers. The next sections shows where to get logs for each service.

Docker Container Logs

The docker logs command fetches a container's logs from STDOUT/STDERR, the standard application log deposit locations for Linux applications. Windows applications typically do not log to STDOUT/STDERR; instead, they log to ETW, Event Logs, or log files, among others.

Log Monitor, a Microsoft-supported opensource tool, is now available on github. Log Monitor bridges Windows application logs to STDOUT/STDERR. Log Monitor is configured via a config file.

Log Monitor Usage

LogMonitor.exe and LogMonitorConfig.json should both be included in the same LogMonitor directory.

Log Monitor can either be used in a SHELL usage pattern:

SHELL ["C:\\LogMonitor\\LogMonitor.exe", "cmd", "/S", "/C"]
CMD c:\windows\system32\ping.exe -n 20 localhost

Or an ENTRYPOINT usage pattern:

ENTRYPOINT C:\LogMonitor\LogMonitor.exe c:\windows\system32\ping.exe -n 20 localhost

Both example usages wrap the ping.exe application. Other applications (such as IIS.ServiceMonitor) can be nested with Log Monitor in a similar fashion:

COPY LogMonitor.exe LogMonitorConfig.json C:\LogMonitor\
WORKDIR /LogMonitor
SHELL ["C:\\LogMonitor\\LogMonitor.exe", "powershell.exe"]

# Start IIS Remote Management and monitor IIS
ENTRYPOINT      Start-Service WMSVC; `
                    C:\ServiceMonitor.exe w3svc;

Log Monitor starts the wrapped application as a child process and monitors the STDOUT output of the application.

Note that in the SHELL usage pattern the CMD/ENTRYPOINT instruction should be specified in the SHELL form and not exec form. When exec form of the CMD/ENTRYPOINT instruction is used, SHELL is not launched, and the Log Monitor tool will not be launched inside the container.

More usage information can be found on the Log Monitor wiki. Example config files for key Windows container scenarios (IIS, etc.) can be found within the github repo. Additional context can be found in this blog post.

Docker Engine

The Docker Engine logs to the Windows 'Application' event log, rather than to a file. These logs can easily be read, sorted, and filtered using Windows PowerShell

For example, this will show the Docker Engine logs from the last 5 minutes starting with the oldest.

Get-EventLog -LogName Application -Source Docker -After (Get-Date).AddMinutes(-5) | Sort-Object Time

This could also easily be piped into a CSV file to be read by another tool or spreadsheet.

Get-EventLog -LogName Application -Source Docker -After (Get-Date).AddMinutes(-30)  | Sort-Object Time | Export-CSV ~/last30minutes.CSV

Enabling Debug logging

You can also enable debug-level logging on the Docker Engine. This may be helpful for troubleshooting if the regular logs don't have enough detail.

First, open an elevated Command Prompt, then run sc.exe qc docker get the current command line for the Docker service. Example:

C:\> sc.exe qc docker
[SC] QueryServiceConfig SUCCESS

        TYPE               : 10  WIN32_OWN_PROCESS
        START_TYPE         : 2   AUTO_START
        ERROR_CONTROL      : 1   NORMAL
        BINARY_PATH_NAME   : "C:\Program Files\Docker\dockerd.exe" --run-service
        LOAD_ORDER_GROUP   :
        TAG                : 0
        DISPLAY_NAME       : Docker Engine
        DEPENDENCIES       :
        SERVICE_START_NAME : LocalSystem

Take the current BINARY_PATH_NAME, and modify it:

  • Add a -D to the end
  • Escape each " with \
  • Enclose the whole command in "

Then run sc.exe config docker binpath= followed by the new string. For example:

sc.exe config docker binpath= "\"C:\Program Files\Docker\dockerd.exe\" --run-service -D"

Now, restart the Docker service

sc.exe stop docker
sc.exe start docker

This will log much more into the Application event log, so it's best to remove the -D option once you are done troubleshooting. Use the same steps above without -D and restart the service to disable the debug logging.

An alternate to the above is to run the docker daemon in debug mode from an elevated PowerShell prompt, capturing output directly into a file.

sc.exe stop docker
<path\to\>dockerd.exe -D > daemon.log 2>&1

Obtaining stack dump

Generally, this is only useful if explicitly requested by Microsoft support, or docker developers. It can be used to assist diagnosing a situation where docker appears to have hung.

Download docker-signal.exe.


docker-signal --pid=$((Get-Process dockerd).Id)

The output file will be located in the data-root directory docker is running in. The default directory is C:\ProgramData\Docker. The actual directory can be confirmed by running docker info -f "{{.DockerRootDir}}".

The file will be goroutine-stacks-<timestamp>.log.

Note that goroutine-stacks*.log does not contain personal information.

Host Compute Service

The Docker Engine depends on a Windows-specific Host Compute Service. It has separate logs:

  • Microsoft-Windows-Hyper-V-Compute-Admin
  • Microsoft-Windows-Hyper-V-Compute-Operational

They are visible in Event Viewer and may also be queried with PowerShell.

For example:

Get-WinEvent -LogName Microsoft-Windows-Hyper-V-Compute-Admin
Get-WinEvent -LogName Microsoft-Windows-Hyper-V-Compute-Operational

Capturing HCS analytic/debug logs

To enable analytic/debug logs for Hyper-V Compute and save them to hcslog.evtx.

# Enable the analytic logs
wevtutil.exe sl Microsoft-Windows-Hyper-V-Compute-Analytic /e:true /q:true

# <reproduce your issue>

# Export to an evtx
wevtutil.exe epl Microsoft-Windows-Hyper-V-Compute-Analytic <hcslog.evtx>

# Disable
wevtutil.exe sl Microsoft-Windows-Hyper-V-Compute-Analytic /e:false /q:true

Capturing HCS verbose tracing

Generally, these are only useful if requested by Microsoft support.

Download HcsTraceProfile.wprp

# Enable tracing
wpr.exe -start HcsTraceProfile.wprp!HcsArgon -filemode

# <reproduce your issue>

# Capture to HcsTrace.etl
wpr.exe -stop HcsTrace.etl "some description"

Provide HcsTrace.etl to your support contact.