Removing Dependent Child Images of a Docker Container

As much as I love using Docker, one of the frustrations I have is when I try to remove an an image which other images are based on, only to get this error:

$ docker rmi b171179240df

Error response from daemon: conflict: unable to delete b171179240df (cannot be forced) - image has dependent child images

I did some searches on Google, and most of the advice centered around the heavy-handed approach of removing all Docker images and basically starting over with a clean slate. That approach didn’t set well with me because it doesn’t strike me as all that efficient, and also causes me to have to spend more time waiting for unrelated containers to build.

That prompted me to write a script which, when provided with the ID of a container to remove, will recurse through all child containers and delete them first.

Quick and Dirty Usage

bash <(curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dmuth/docker-remove-dependent-child-images/master/docker-remove-image) IMAGE_ID

That will delete the image IMAGE_ID, and all child images.

No muss, no fuss, no awkward explanations to senior engineers.

When run successfully, the output will look something like this:

The source and testing scripts can be found over on GitHub at https://github.com/dmuth/docker-remove-dependent-child-images.

Does this script save you some time? Let me know in the comments!

Written by

Engineer. Staff at Anthrocon, Anthro New England, Midwest FurFest, Furry Migration, Eurofurence. AWS, Splunk, Docker, DMARC, White Mage, he/him

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