Get Docker Desktop to run at startup for Notebook Server

Last Published: May 5, 2021


In any enterprise environment, it is crucial that services can restart automatically in the event of disruption or failure, for example the server machine rebooting unexpectedly.

When running ArcGIS Notebook Server on Windows, this can be a little tricky due to Notebook Server's use of Docker Desktop. Docker Desktop is a desktop application that runs on the Windows OS that allows you to create and run containers. Docker Desktop must be run by a user and can run into issues when the entire application including the GUI is not loaded correctly. This, as well as other limitations, is why Esri recommends installing ArcGIS Notebook Server on Linux rather than Windows.


The following steps describe how to get Docker Desktop to run automatically when Windows starts up, which enables ArcGIS Notebook Server to have full functionality on startup after the host machine recovers from a failure and/or unexpected reboot. 

  1. Install Docker Desktop as per the Esri documentation.
  2. Create a local user account to run Docker Desktop.
  3. Add this local user to the following groups Administrators and docker-users.
  4. Open Task Scheduler and create a new task.
  5. Fill in the following details on the general tab:
    • Name: Provide a descriptive name to easily identify this task.
    • Description: Describe what this task does and any other details that will assist future users such as 'User Account' set to run task.
    • When running the task, use the following user account: Set this to the local user account created in Step 2.
    • Ensure Run whether user is logged on or not is selected.
    • Ensure Run with highest privileges is selected.
  6. Move to Triggers tab and add a new trigger with the following parameters:
    • Begin the task: At startup
    • Delay task for: 5 minutes
    • Ensure Enabled is checked
  7. Move to the Actions tab and add a new action with the following parameters:
    • Action: Start a program
    • Program/script: Browse to the installation location for Docker Desktop and select the Docker Desktop.exe application
  8. Move to the Settings tab and ensure the following options are selected:
    • Allow task to be run on demand
    • If the running task does not end when requested, force it to stop
  9. Select OK to create the task. Docker Desktop is now set to run on startup. 

Note that the delay in the task is important as it allows Windows to finish startup before Docker Desktop attempts to run. If issues are encountered where  containers cannot be run, try increasing the delay to 10-15 minutes. 

Article ID:000024946

  • ArcGIS Server

Get help from ArcGIS experts

Contact technical support

Download the Esri Support App

Go to download options

Related Information

Discover more on this topic