Solving the Docker Credential Error

Patrick Rachford
2 min readFeb 23, 2024

If you have ever gotten the following error, solving it might be a headache.

error getting credentials - err: exec: "docker-credential-desktop": executable file not found in $PATH, out: ``

This common issue can halt your project’s progress, leaving you searching for a solution.

The following guide demonstrates how to resolve this issue in from your terminal.

Understanding the Error

Before diving into the solution, it’s important to understand what this error means. Docker uses a credential storage system to securely store and access your login information for various registries. When Docker is unable to find the `docker-credential-desktop` executable in your system’s `$PATH`, it throws this error.

This typically happens after a Docker installation or update and indicates that Docker is misconfigured or the necessary credentials helper is not installed or properly linked.

The Solution

Resolving this issue involves a few straightforward steps. Here’s how to fix the error and get back to your Docker projects.

Step 1: Edit the Docker Configuration File

The first step is to edit the Docker configuration file to ensure Docker can properly locate the credential helper.

You can do this by opening the ~/.docker/config.json file in a text editor.

For simplicity, we’ll use `nano`, a command-line text editor:

nano ~/.docker/config.json

Step 2: Save and Exit Nano

Once you have nano open, you might need to make specific edits as per your Docker setup requirements. If no changes are necessary, simply proceed to save and exit.

Press `Control + X`, then press `Enter` to save any changes and close the editor.

Step 3: Log in to Docker

After editing the configuration file, the next step is to log in to Docker using your credentials. This ensures that your login details are correctly stored and accessible. Use the following command, replacing `USERNAME` and `PASSWORD` with your Docker Hub username and password, respectively:

docker login -u USERNAME -p PASSWORD

Step 4: Run Your Docker Command

Now that you’ve successfully logged in and your credentials are correctly configured, you can proceed with your Docker commands. Whether you’re pulling an image, running a container, or executing any other Docker command, you should no longer encounter the credential error.


Encountering errors while working with Docker can be a daunting experience, especially when it disrupts your workflow.

However, by understanding the root causes and following the correct troubleshooting steps, you can overcome these challenges.

If you have another method or know how to prevent this issue from reappearing, let me know!




Patrick Rachford

Currently at Temporal, previously at AWS. I enjoy documenting my thoughts and sharing ideas with others.