Tails is a Linux operating system which runs of a DVD or usb stick and which is configured with the goal of giving the user as much anonymity and security by default without making it unusable.

The image and documentation can be found on http://tails.boum.org

While the official documentation is excellent, it is written specifically with security and end-users who might have their lives at stake in mind.

(Some german folks wrote a pretty nice booklet, too: https://capulcu.nadir.org/)

Not everyone operates under such extreme conditions and might use Tails in an educational environment which allows for more lax operating procedures.

This page documents how to achieve more comfort and/or how to run software on Tails which has not been audited for security, yet.



If you want commands to be executed directly after log in, you can create an Autostart file using the dialog accessible via ApplicationsSystem ToolsPreferencesStartup Applications. There you can click New to add a new entry. This entry will appear as a new .desktop-file in the directory /home/amnesia/.config/autostart/.

Copy that file to /home/amnesia# cd /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.config/autostart/ (you need administrative rights to do so) to make it persistent.

GNOME Settings

To save the original settings (after booting, before configuring anything):

  gconftool-2 --dump / > ~/Persistent/gconf-orig.xml

Then, configure things.

To save your current configuration to a file:

  gconftool-2 --dump / > ~/Persistent/gconf-mysettings.xml

To compare the current state to the original state:

  diff -u ~/Persistent/gconf-orig.xml <(gconftool-2 --dump /)

After rebooting, to load your saved settings:

  gconftool-2 --load ~/Persistent/gconf-mysettings.xml

Before loading your saved state, it is good practice to check if the default state matches your expected state so that if a Tails upgrade changes something you'll notice and not accidentally revert to the default settings of an older Tails version. Merging the old and new settings is not described here but should be.

Copy .bashrc to Persistent Partition

  sudo su
  cp /home/amnesia/.bashrc /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/
  chown amnesia.amnesia .bashrc

Hardware Setup

Thinkpad Trackpoing Scrolling

To activate scrolling via middle mouse button and the Trackpoint install the package xinput

sudo apt-get install xinput

and then execute the commands

xinput set-prop "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint" "Evdev Wheel Emulation" 1
xinput set-prop "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint" "Evdev Wheel Emulation Button" 2
#xinput set-prop "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint" "Evdev Wheel Emulation Timeout" 200
xinput set-prop "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint" "Evdev Wheel Emulation Axes" 6 7 4 5

This can lead to temporary weir mouse behaviour which can usually be solved by repeated right-clicks. Feedback welcome.

Services accepting Tor users


don't trust any of those. your information is not safe.

https://yandex.com https://ruggedinbox.com (hidden service: s4bysmmsnraf7eut.onion)

Random bits

loading tails completely to RAM

At startup prompt, hit TAB during countdown, and add


to the kernel command line.

hardware info

To get some very basic hardware info for reporting unsupported hardware:

  cat /proc/cpuinfo

(run these commands in your normal linux distro and paste the output into a bug report or email to the tails developers)

To see the vendor and model of disk sda (your Tails might be sdb if you have a hard drive):

  cat /sys/block/sda/device/{vendor,model}

To see what device Tails is booted from:

  df /lib/live/mount/medium

Executing stuff in a terminal and not having it close

x-terminal-emulator -e /home/amnesia/Persistent/post_boot.sh tail -n 1 /home/amnesia/Persistent/post_boot.sh read

Hardware Support

List of good USB sticks

* Intenso Microline 8GB

List of bad USB sticks:

  • Intenso Rainbow Line ( ID 058f:6387 )
  • Kingston Data Traveler ( ID 0951:1665 )

List of working computers:

  • all the Thinkpads
  • a small MacBook Air (when Tails is installed via Tails Installer, just press the power button and then directly Alt)