When starting Tails, you can specify startup options to alter some of its basic functioning. The two ways of specifying startup options are the following:

Using the Boot Loader Menu

The Boot Loader Menu is the first screen to appear when Tails starts.

The Troubleshooting Mode disables some features of the Linux kernel and might work better on some computers. You can try this option if you think you are experiencing errors related to hardware compatibility while starting Tails.

  1. To add a boot option, press Tab when the Boot Loader Menu appears. A list of boot options appears at the bottom of the screen.

Black screen with Tails
artwork. Boot Loader Menu with two options 'Tails' and 'Tails (Troubleshooting Mode)'.
At the bottom, a list of options ending with 'vsyscall=none quiet_'

  1. Press Space, and type the boot option that you want to add.

  2. If you want to add more than one boot option, type them one after the other, and separate them by a Space.

  3. Then press Enter to start Tails.

Using Tails Greeter

Tails Greeter is the set of dialogs that appear after the Boot Loader Menu, but before the GNOME Desktop appears. This is how the first screen of Tails Greeter looks like:

Welcome to Tails!

You can activate assistive technologies, like a screen reader or large text, from the universal access menu (the Universal Access icon which looks like a person) in the top bar.

To start Tails without options, click on the Start Tails button.

Language & region

You can configure Tails depending on your language and location from Tails Greeter.

Language & Region section of Tails Greeter

  • The Language option allows you to change the main language of the interface.

    Text that is not translated yet will appear in English. You can help to translate more text.

  • The Keyboard Layout option allows you to change the layout of the keyboard. For example to switch to an AZERTY keyboard which is common in France.

    You will still be able to switch between different keyboard layouts from the desktop after starting Tails.

    Menu in the top-right corner of the desktop to switch between different keyboard layouts

  • The Formats option allows you to change the date and time format, first day of the week, measurement units, and default paper size according to the standards in use in a country.

    For example, the USA and the United Kingdom, two English-speaking countries, have different standards:

    USAUnited Kingdom
    Date & time3/17/2017 3:56 PM17/03/2017 15:56
    First day of the weekSundayMonday
    Unit systemImperialMetric
    Paper sizeLetterA4

    With this option you can also display the calendar in a different language than the main language. For example, to display a US calendar, with weeks starting on Sunday, when the main language is Russian.

Encrypted persistence storage

If an encrypted persistence storage is detected on the USB stick, an additional section appears in Tails Greeter below the Language & Region section:

Additional settings

Tails is configured with care to be as safe as possible by default. But, depending on your situation, you can change one of the following settings from Tails Greeter.

Additional settings of Tails Greeter

  • Set an Administration Password to be able to perform administrative tasks like installing additional software or accessing the internal hard disks of the computer.

    See our documentation about the administration password.

  • Disable MAC Address Spoofing to prevent connectivity problems with your network interfaces.

    See our documentation about MAC address spoofing.

  • Change the Network Configuration to either:

    • Connect directly to the Tor network (default).

    • Configure a Tor bridge or local proxy:

      • If you want to use Tor bridges because your Internet connection is censored or you want to hide the fact that you are using Tor.
      • If you need to use a local proxy to access the Internet.

      After starting Tails and connecting to a network, an assistant will guide you through the configuration of Tor.

      See our documentation about Tor bridges.

    • Disable all networking if you want to work completely offline with additional security.

Keyboard shortcuts

Alt+LLanguage
Alt+KKeyboard Layout
Alt+FFormats
Alt+PEncrypted Persistent Storage
Alt+AAdditional Settings
Ctrl+Shift+AAdministration Password
Ctrl+Shift+MMAC Address Spoofing
Ctrl+Shift+NNetwork Configuration
Alt+SStart Tails