The use of a persistent volume in a system which is designed to provide anonymity and leave no trace is a complicated issue.
Read carefully the warning section.

To start the persistent volume assistant, choose Applications ▸ Tails ▸ Configure persistent volume.

The error message Error, Persistence partition is not unlocked. means that the persistent volume was not enabled from Tails Greeter. So you can not configure it but you can delete it and create a new one.

When run for the first time, or after deleting the persistent volume, the assistant proposes to create a new persistent volume on the USB stick. Refer to our installation instructions for more guidance on creating the persistent volume.

Persistence features

Restart Tails to apply the changes after selecting or deselecting one or several features.
Only features that are listed here can currently be made persistent. Some other features have been asked and accepted, but are waiting to be implemented: browser extensions, wallpaper, default sound card, mouse and touchpad settings, etc. See the corresponding tickets for more details.

If you deselect a feature that used to be activated, it will be deactivated after restarting Tails but the corresponding files will remain on the persistent volume.

To delete the files corresponding to a feature:

  1. Start Tails and set an administration password.
  2. Choose Applications ▸ System Tools ▸ Root Terminal to open a terminal with administration rights.
  3. Execute the nautilus command to open the file browser with administration rights.
  4. In the file browser, navigate to /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked.
  5. Delete the folder corresponding to the feature.

Personal Data

When this feature is activated, you can save your personal files and working documents in the Persistent folder.

To open the Persistent folder, choose Places ▸ Persistent.

Browser Bookmarks

When this feature is activated, changes to the bookmarks in Tor Browser are saved in the persistent volume. This does not apply to the Unsafe Browser.

Network Connections

When this feature is activated, the configuration of the network devices and connections is saved in the persistent volume.

Additional Software

When this feature is enabled, a list of additional software of your choice is automatically installed every time you start Tails.

The corresponding software packages are stored in the persistent volume. They are automatically upgraded for security after a network connection is established.

The packages included in Tails are carefully tested for security. Installing additional packages might break the security built in Tails, so be careful with what you install.

Printers

When this feature is activated, the configuration of the printers is saved in the persistent volume.

Thunderbird

When this feature is activated, the configuration and emails stored by the Thunderbird email client are saved in the persistent volume.

GnuPG

When this feature is activated, the OpenPGP keys that you create or import are saved in the persistent volume.

If you manually edit or overwrite the ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf configuration file you may lessen your anonymity, weaken the encryption defaults or render GnuPG unusable.

Bitcoin Client

When this feature is activated, the bitcoin wallet and preferences of the Electrum bitcoin client are saved in the persistent volume.

Pidgin

When this feature is activated, all the configuration files of the Pidgin Internet messenger are saved in the persistent volume:

  • The configuration of your accounts, buddies and chats.
  • Your OTR encryption keys and keyring.
  • The content of the discussions is not saved unless you configure Pidgin to do so.

All the configuration options are available from the graphical interface. There is no need to manually edit or overwrite the configuration files.

SSH Client

When this feature is activated, all the files related to the secure-shell client are saved in the persistent volume:

  • The SSH keys that you create or import
  • The public keys of the hosts you connect to
  • The SSH configuration file in ~/.ssh/config
If you manually edit the ~/.ssh/config configuration file, make sure not to overwrite the default configuration from the /etc/ssh/ssh_config file. Otherwise, you may weaken the encryption defaults or render SSH unusable.

Dotfiles

When this feature is activated, all the files in the /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles folder are linked in the Home folder. Files in subfolders of dotfiles are also linked in the corresponding subfolder of your Home folder.

For example, having the following files in /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles:

/live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles
├── file_a
├── folder
│   ├── file_b
│   └── subfolder
│       └── file_c
└── emptyfolder

Produces the following result in /home/amnesia:

/home/amnesia
├── file_a → /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/file_a
└── folder
    ├── file_b → /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/folder/file_b
    └── subfolder
        └── file_c → /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/folder/subfolder/file_c

This option is useful if you want to make some specific files persistent, but not the folders they are stored in. A fine example are the so called "dotfiles" (and hence the name of this feature), the hidden configuration files in the root of your home directory, like ~/.gitconfig and ~/.bashrc.

As you can see in the previous example, empty folders are ignored. This feature only links files, and not folders, from the persistent volume into the Home folder.

Save the configuration of your displays

If you have more than one display (for example, two monitors or a projector), you can save the configuration of your displays using the Dotfiles feature.

  1. Activate the Dotfiles feature and restart Tails.

  2. Choose System Tools ▸ Settings ▸ Displays.

  3. Configure your displays.

  4. Open /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles in Files.

  5. Choose Menu ▸ Show Hidden Files.

  6. Create a folder called .config (config preceded by a dot).

  7. Copy the .config/monitors.xml file from your Home folder to /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.config.