How to Install Docker Desktop on Debian 12

In this post, we will show you how to install Docker Desktop on Debian 12.

Docker is an open-source robust platform for developing, packaging, and deploying applications inside small, portable, and isolated containers These self-contained units have all the programs, libraries, and dependencies needed to run a particular application.

Docker has completely changed how software is distributed, packaged, and used on various platforms. Developers can easily construct, deploy, and manage apps thanks to its containerization capabilities.



  • 64-bit Machine running Debian 12
  • Sudo or root privileges
  • KVM virtualization support
  • CPU support for virtualization
  • QEMU must be version 5.2 or the latest version.
  • KDE, Gnome, or Mate desktop environments
  • At least 4 GB of RAM

1) Update Your System Repository

To achieve that, run the command:

$ sudo apt update

Docker Desktop runs a virtual machine that requires KVM functionality. If virtualization is supported on the host machine, it should load automatically. Use this command to load the KVM on your machine manually.

$ sudo modprobe kvm

Depending on the host computer’s processor, the following module must be loaded:

$ sudo modprobe kvm_intel     # intel processors
$ sudo modprobe kvm_amd       # amd processors

2) Install Docker Desktop on Debian 12

After updating your system, install Docker Desktop.

Start by removing the previous versions of the docker desktop if you had installed them.

$ sudo apt remove docker-desktop -y

Use the following commands to delete the Docker Desktop data files completely.

$ sudo rm -r $HOME/.docker/desktop
$ sudo rm /usr/local/bin/com.docker.cli
$ sudo apt purge docker-desktop -y

You must also install the KStatusNotifierItem and AppIndicator Gnome extensions if you’re using a Gnome Desktop environment.

For non-Gnome desktop environments, install the following:

$ sudo apt install gnome-terminal -y

Now we’re set to continue with installation.

Run an update on the APT index.

$ sudo apt update

Installing a couple of dependencies is necessary for Docker. To install them, execute:

$ sudo apt install apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl gnupg


Docker offers a Debian official repository. Include it in the package sources on your system:

$ sudo install -m 0755 -d /etc/apt/keyrings
$ curl -fsSL | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg
$ sudo chmod a+r /etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg


Next, add docker stable repository, run

$echo "deb [arch=$(dpkg --print-architecture) signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg] bookworm stable”  | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list > /dev/null


Run an update on the package database.

$ sudo apt update

Proceed with installing the docker engine

$ sudo apt install docker-ce docker-ce-cli docker-compose-plugin


The above command installs the Docker components listed below:

  • Docker-ce: The actual docker engine.
  • docker-ce-cli: A command line utility that lets you talk to the docker service.
  • A runtime for containers that manages their lifespan.
  • docker-buildx-plugin: A CLI plugin that enhances the docker build with the latest features.

Now let’s download the docker GUI desktop. Get the most recent version by checking the official Docker Desktop website. Docker Desktop 4.25.0 is the most recent release as of this writing. Run below wget command to download docker desktop from the command line.

$ wget 4.25.0-amd64.deb


The following command installs Docker Desktop’s dependencies as well as all necessary binary packages.

$ sudo apt install ./docker-desktop-*-amd64.deb


Post-installation script

What the installation above does for you is as follows.

  • Adds a DNS name for Kubernetes to /etc/hosts.
  • links /usr/local/bin/com.docker.cli to /usr/bin/docker.
  • Sets the ability to map privileged ports and set resource limits on the Docker Desktop binary.

To confirm the above, run the command:

$ cat /etc/hosts


After the installation, start and enable the Docker Desktop in order to start on boot.

$ sudo systemctl --user enable docker-desktop
$ sudo systemctl --user start docker-desktop

3) Launch Docker Desktop

Use the Applications menu bar to search for Docker Desktop and launch it. To open Docker Desktop, double-click the icon.


Alternatively, you can launch it via the CLI:

$ sudo systemctl --user start docker-desktop

As shown below, the command opens the welcome page.



To accept the terms of use, check the box and click Accept to proceed.

In this window, create a Docker account to get started.


We can also continue using Docker without signing in.

Note:  The Docker CLI creates a specific context when starting the Docker Desktop, and the Docker Desktop utilizes this context as the target, making it the active context at that moment. This helps prevent a conflict with any Docker Engine instances that may be operating on your system. The prior context takes over when you shut down the docker desktop.

Besides that, Docker Compose V2, which can be accessed as docker compose from the settings panel, is installed with the Docker Desktop.

This is how the Docker Desktop dashboard appears.



There you go! On your Debian 12 system, the Docker Desktop has been installed successfully. Now that you have a better understanding of containerization, you can use Docker’s features to accelerate your development and deployment processes.

Also Read: Top 16 Tar Command with Examples in Linux

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