Home > Software > How to Fix Docker “Unknown Server OS” Error

How to Fix Docker “Unknown Server OS” Error

Anastasios Antoniadis

Discover how to fix the “Unknown Server OS” on your server running Docker.

Docker (1)

Docker has become an essential tool for developers, enabling them to package applications into containers to ensure consistency across different environments. However, encountering errors during deployment or development can be a common process. One such error is the “unknown server OS” message. This error occurs when Docker cannot recognize the server’s operating system where it’s trying to run a container. This article provides a comprehensive guide on diagnosing and resolving this issue, ensuring a smoother Docker experience.

Understanding the Error

The “unknown server OS” error typically arises when Docker attempts to run a container on a server with an operating system that it does not recognize or support. This can be caused by several factors, such as using an outdated version of Docker, attempting to run Docker on an unsupported OS version, or a misconfiguration in Docker’s system files.

How to Fix the “Unknown Server OS” Error

Step 1: Check Docker Compatibility

Ensure that your server’s operating system is compatible with the version of Docker you’re trying to use. Docker regularly updates its list of supported operating systems and versions. Review the Docker documentation to confirm that your server OS is supported. If your OS is not supported, you may need to upgrade your server’s operating system or use an alternative version of Docker that supports your OS.

Step 2: Update Docker

Using an outdated version of Docker can lead to compatibility issues, including the “unknown server OS” error. To resolve this, update Docker to the latest version. You can update Docker using your package manager on Linux (e.g., apt-get update && apt-get upgrade docker-ce for Ubuntu) or by downloading the latest version from the Docker website for Windows or macOS.

Step 3: Verify Docker Configuration Files

Misconfigurations in Docker’s system files can also lead to this error. Check the Docker daemon configuration file (typically located at /etc/docker/daemon.json on Linux) for any incorrect settings. Ensure that there are no incorrect entries under the storage-driver or exec-opts. If you’re not sure, refer to the Docker documentation for the correct configuration options for your OS.

Step 4: Inspect Environment Variables

Environment variables can affect how Docker operates. Inspect the environment variables related to Docker (such as DOCKER_HOST) to ensure they are not misconfigured. You can view the current environment variables using the printenv command in Linux or macOS terminal, or set in Windows Command Prompt.

Step 5: Reinstall Docker

If the steps above do not resolve the issue, your Docker installation may have a deeper problem. Uninstall Docker completely and then reinstall it. This process will ensure that any corrupt files or configurations are reset. Refer to the official Docker documentation for instructions on properly uninstalling and reinstalling Docker for your specific operating system.

Step 6: Seek Community Help

If you’ve followed all the steps and still encounter the “unknown server OS” error, consider seeking help from the Docker community. The Docker forums, Stack Overflow, and GitHub issues are great places to seek advice from other Docker users who might have faced and resolved similar issues.


The “unknown server OS” error in Docker is typically related to compatibility issues, outdated software, or configuration errors. You can overcome this error by systematically checking your server’s OS compatibility, updating Docker, verifying configurations, and possibly reinstalling Docker. Remember, the Docker community is a valuable resource when troubleshooting complex issues. With persistence and the right approach, you can resolve this error and get back to deploying and managing your Docker containers efficiently.

Anastasios Antoniadis
Follow me
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x