Tails does not start at all

The following section applies if the Boot Loader Menu does not appear when starting on a USB stick.

It is quite common for computers not to start automatically on a USB stick with Tails installed. Here are some troubleshooting techniques. You should try them one after the other.

### Getting to the boot menu

On most computers, you can press a boot menu key to display a list of possible devices to start from. The following instructions explain how to display the boot menu and start on the USB stick. The following screenshot is an example of such boot menu:

Boot menu with list of devices

  1. . Shut down the computer.

  2. . Make sure that the first USB stick is plugged in the computer.

  3. . Identify the potential boot menu keys for the computer depending on the computer manufacturer in the following list:

    ManufacturerKey
    AcerEsc, F12, F9
    AsusEsc, F8
    DellF12
    FujitsuF12, Esc
    HPEsc, F9
    LenovoF12, Novo, F8, F10
    SamsungEsc, F12, F2
    SonyF11, Esc, F10
    ToshibaF12
    others…F12, Esc
    1. Switch on the computer.

      Immediately press several times the first potential boot menu key identified in step 3.

      1. If a boot menu with a list of devices appears, select your USB stick and press Enter.

      2. If the computer starts on another operating system, then:

        1. Shut down the computer.

        2. Press-and-hold the potential boot menu key identified in step 3.

        3. Switch on the computer again while holding the potential boot menu key pressed.

          1. If a boot menu with a list of devices appears, select your USB stick and press Enter.

          2. If the computer starts on another operating system or returns an error message, then shut down the computer again and repeat step 4 for all the potential boot menu keys identified in step 3.

    If none of the potential boot menu keys identified in step 3 work or if the USB stick does not appear in the list, then try the second troubleshooting technique described below.

    Check our list of known issues

    Similar problems might have been reported already for your model of computer in our list of known issues.

    Edit the BIOS settings

    You might need to edit the BIOS settings of the computer.

    Search for the user manual of the computer on the website of its manufacturer to learn how to edit the BIOS settings:

    In the BIOS settings, try to apply the following changes one by one and restart the computer after each change. Some changes might not apply to certain computer models.

    Take note of the changes that you apply to the BIOS settings, to be able to revert them if they prevent the computer to start on its usual operating system.

    1. Edit the Boot Order. Depending on the computer model you might see an entry for removable devices or USB media. Move this entry to the top of the list to force the computer to try to start from the first USB stick before starting from the internal hard disk.

    2. Disable Fast boot.

    3. If the computer is configured to start with legacy BIOS, try to configure it to start with UEFI. Else, if the computer is configured to start with UEFI, try to configure it to start with legacy BIOS. To do so, try any of the following options if available:

      • Enable Legacy mode
      • Disable Secure boot
      • Enable CSM boot
      • Disable UEFI
    4. Try to upgrade the BIOS to the latest version provided by the manufacturer.

    Report the problem to our support team

    If none of these options work, we are sorry but you might not be able to use Tails on this computer.

    Please, send an email to our support team, including the following information:

    1. Which version of Tails are you trying to start?

    2. How did you verify the ISO image?

    3. Which is the brand and model of the computer?

    4. What exactly happens when trying to start? Report the complete error message that appears on the screen, if any.

    5. Are you trying to start Tails on a USB stick or a DVD?

    6. If you are trying to start on a USB stick, which program did you use to install it:

      • Universal USB Installer,
      • GNOME Disks,
      • Tails Installer, or
      • dd on the command line?

      Note that these are the only supported installation methods.

    7. Have you been able to start Tails successfully on this computer before, from another USB stick or DVD, or with another version of Tails? If so, which ones?

    8. Does the same USB stick or DVD start successfully on other computers?