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Why I’m uninstalling Docker Desktop

Unkillable monster

It might be the parting of the ways for me and Docker Desktop for now. There have been good times. There have been bad times. But it’s relentless demands have become too much for one software developer to bear.

I’ve been noticing that both Visual Studio and SQL Server Management Studio have been particularly sluggish of late. They’ve never been the lightest of software companions but we’ve learnt to rub along together. I know their foibles and they know mine. So what gone wrong?

My hard disk is a reasonable 500GB but has been filling up rapidly of late. Could a steady diet of docker images and containers be to blame? But this shouldn’t phase the trusty SSMS warhorse. It knows how to get what it needs (typically most of my RAM). But what is this? It’s a new kid of the block. The Vmmem process is new and seems to be gobbling up CPU. I’m frequently running at 100% utilisation now. No wonder we are all looking a tad jaded.

An unwelcome visitor

I’m not deterred. Surely stopping the docker service and making sure it doesn’t auto restart should be enough. But no – vmmem continues to eat up my CPU. I try to kill it with task manager but it proves to be an unkillable monster. Could powershell assist as it has assisted me so often in the past. Not this time. Vmmem continues unbowed and unbroken.

But what is it? What is this ferocious beast? It appears to be a process used by virtual machines that bizarrely still runs when docker is turned off. It can’t be stopped. It can’t be killed. It continues to drain the life out of my computer. This intolerable situation has to come to an end.

And end it does; with a heavy heart Docker desktop is uninstalled.

End of the affair


It’s a windows thing. I’ve heard complains that the windows implementation of docker desktop is particularly heavy so maybe things would be OK on a Linux box. It think my relationship with Docker Desktop is on a break and hasn’t irretrievably broken down. I’m talking to my local IT shop about an upgrade. When I’m on the latest Intel i9 chip with a bunch more hard disk space and probably more RAM too, then docker desktop and I can talk. We can go into couples counselling and see if there is a way to repair our fractured relationship.


  1. When you install Docker on Windows, it deploys a Virtual Machine under Hyper-V where it runs the docker environment. The vmmem process is a service that exposes CPU and memory to the virtual machine. Instead of uninstalling docker, go to the Hyper-V manager and stop the docker VM. Alternatively and even better, deploy a new VM and install docker for ubuntu. I blogged about it some time ago:

    also, don’t run SQL Server on your desktop and if you do, set the max memory so it does not eat it all (it’s designed to take all the memory available)

    • Thanks for that Marcin. Very helpful.

      I’ve taken the easy way out and upgraded to an 8 core Intel i9-900 CPU, put in more RAM and doubled the size of my SSD. I’m blazing away now even with Docker Desktop reinstalled.


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