Installation Assistant

Start in Windows.

Download and verify the Tails ISO image

In this step you You will download Tails as an ISO image: a single file containing the whole operating system. For your security, it is very important to also verify your download. We propose you two techniques to do this verification automatically.


Please wait…

0.2.8

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You can download and verify the ISO image via:

Browser add-on

for Firefox 38.0.1+ or Tor Browser 5+

A Firefox add-on to download and verify Tails automatically.

If you are not in Firefox or Tor Browser:

Copy and paste this link in Firefox or Tor Browser:

https://tails.boum.org/install/win/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/dvd/ https://tails.boum.org/install/debian/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/install/linux/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/upgrade/tails/ https://tails.boum.org/install/dvd/ https://tails.boum.org/install/vm/ https://tails.boum.org/install/download/

If you are already in Firefox or Tor Browser:

Install Firefox add-on

BitTorrent

Your BitTorrent client verifies your download automatically based on a cryptographic checksum in the Torrent file.

If you are knowledgeable about OpenPGP, you can do additional verification using the OpenPGP signature included in the Torrent file. Learn how to do this.

Download Torrent file

Download and verify using OpenPGP

You seem to be using an unsupported browser.

You can download and verify the ISO image via:

Browser add-on

for Firefox 38.0.1+ or Tor Browser 5+

A Firefox add-on to download and verify Tails automatically.

You are running Firefox 1.0. Please update to Firefox 38.0.1, Tor Browser 5, or newer and visit this link:

Copy and paste this link in Firefox or Tor Browser:

https://tails.boum.org/install/win/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/dvd/ https://tails.boum.org/install/debian/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/install/linux/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/upgrade/tails/ https://tails.boum.org/install/dvd/ https://tails.boum.org/install/vm/ https://tails.boum.org/install/download/

BitTorrent

Your BitTorrent client verifies your download automatically based on a cryptographic checksum in the Torrent file.

If you are knowledgeable about OpenPGP, you can do additional verification using the OpenPGP signature included in the Torrent file. Learn how to do this.

Download Torrent file

Download and verify using OpenPGP

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You can download the ISO image via our Firefox add-on. The add-on verifies your download automatically.

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The verification is based on a cryptographic checksum downloaded from our website.

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or Download and verify via BitTorrent

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Your BitTorrent client verifies your download automatically based on a cryptographic checksum in the Torrent file.

If you are knowledgeable about OpenPGP, you can do additional verification using the OpenPGP signature included in the Torrent file. Learn how to do this.

Download Torrent file

Download Tails 2.12 ISO image ($SIZE MiB)
Download Tails 2.12 ISO image $SPEED KB/s — $DOWNLOADED/$SIZE MiB, ??? minutes minute ??? seconds second
$PROGRESS complete $PROGRESS
Downloading to $PATH Downloaded to $PATH
Retry Pause Resume Cancel
Done Failed

The download has been paused. Click on the play button to resume.

The download of the ISO image failed! Please check your network connection and click Retry

Verify ISO image
Computing SHA-256 checksum…
$PROGRESS Done Failed

You downloaded and verified the ISO image successfully!

You can now continue with the next step and Install an intermediary Tails. Install an intermediary Tails. Burn a Tails DVD. Install Tails Installer. Install an intermediary Tails. Install an intermediary Tails. Burn Tails on a DVD. read our Introduction to virtual machines.

If you are knowledgeable about OpenPGP, you can do additional verification using the OpenPGP signature.

Download again

The verification of the ISO image failed! Please try to download again…

Download again

The verification of the ISO image failed again! Please try to download again from a different place or a different computer…

Download again

Install an intermediary Tails

In this step, you will install an intermediary Tails by copying the Tails ISO image on a first USB stick using a program called Universal USB Installer. the command line. a program called GNOME Disks.

On this intermediary Tails you won't benefit from important features like automatic security upgrades or the possibility to store some of your documents and configuration in an encrypted storage.

All the data on this USB stick will be lost.

  1. Plug the first USB stick in the computer.

  2. Click on the following link to download Universal USB Installer:

    Download Universal USB Installer

  3. At the Windows security warning, confirm that you want to run the program.

  4. Read the licence agreement and click I Agree to continue and start Universal USB Installer.

  5. Select Tails from the drop-down list.

  6. Click Browse and choose the ISO image that you downloaded earlier.

  7. Use the drop-down list to specify the USB stick on which you want to install the ISO image.

    If the USB stick does not appear in the drop-down list, make sure that it is plugged in correctly and restart Universal USB Installer.

  8. Select the Format option.

  9. Click Create.

  10. A warning appears. Click Yes to start the installation. The installation takes a few minutes.

  11. After the installation is finished, click Close to quit Universal USB Installer.

Intermediary Tails

Cool, you now have an intermediary Tails on your first USB stick. You will soon have to restart your computer on this USB stick. It can be a bit tricky, so good luck! But it might not work on your Mac model, so good luck!

Open these instructions on another device

In the next step, you will shut down the computer. To be able to follow the rest of the instructions afterwards, we recommend you either:

  • Open this page on your smartphone, tablet, or another computer (recommended).

  • Print the rest of the instructions on paper.

  • Take note of the URL of this page to be able to come back later:

    https://tails.boum.org/install/clone/ https://tails.boum.org/install/win/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/clone/ https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/dvd/ https://tails.boum.org/install/debian/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/install/expert/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/install/linux/usb/ https://tails.boum.org/upgrade/clone/ https://tails.boum.org/upgrade/tails/

Restart on the intermediary Tails

Restart on the other Tails

Restart on the Tails DVD

Restart on Tails

USB stick plugged on the left USB stick plugged on the left Computer restarted on USB stick on the right Computer restarted on USB stick on the left Computer restarted on DVD USB stick unplugged on the right and computer restarted on USB stick on the left

The following instructions assume that the other Tails that you are installing upgrading from is on a USB stick. You can also install upgrade from a Tails DVD in a similar way.

  1. Make sure that the DVD is inserted in the computer. Shut down the computer while leaving the first USB stick plugged in.

    Shut down the computer.

    Plug in the other Tails USB stick that you want to install upgrade from.

    Unplug your Tails USB stick while leaving the intermediary USB stick plugged in.

  2. Switch on the computer.

    Immediately press-and-hold the Option key (Alt key) until a list of possible startup disks appears.

    'Option' or 'alt' key in the bottom left of Mac keyboard

    Choose the DVD and press Enter. The DVD might be labelled Windows like in the following screenshot:

    Screen with the logo of an internal hard disk labelled 'Macintosh HD' and a DVD labelled 'Windows' (selected)

    Immediately press-and-hold the Option key (Alt key) until a list of possible startup disks appears.

    'Option' or 'alt' key in the bottom left of Mac keyboard

    Choose the USB stick and press Enter. The USB stick appears as an external hard disk and might be labelled EFI Boot or Windows like in the following screenshot:

    Screen with the logo of an internal hard disk labelled 'Macintosh HD' and an external hard disk labelled 'Windows' (selected)

  3. If the computer starts on Tails, the Boot Loader Menu appears. Choose Tails and press Enter.

    Most computers do not start on Tails by default. If it does you are lucky. Otherwise, if the computer starts on Debian, Ubuntu, or Linux Mint Windows, Linux, Windows or Linux, refer to the troubleshooting section about Tails not starting at all.

    Troubleshooting

    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
    4. 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?

    Black screen with Tails artwork. Boot Loader Menu with two options 'Tails' and 'Tails (Troubleshooting Mode)'.

    If your computer fails to start on the intermediary Tails, you can try these other two methods:

    If you tried them already but failed as well, then it might currently be impossible to start Tails on your Mac model.

    If your computer fails to start on the Tails DVD, then it might currently be impossible to start Tails on your Mac model.

  4. After 30–60 seconds, another screen called Tails Greeter appears.

    If the computer stops responding or displays error messages before getting to Tails Greeter, refer to the troubleshooting section about Tails not starting entirely.

    Troubleshooting

    Tails does not start entirely

    The following section applies if the Boot Loader Menu appears but not Tails Greeter when starting Tails.

    1. Restart the computer on the first USB stick.

    2. In the Boot Loader Menu, choose the Troubleshooting Mode which might work better on some computers.

    3. If the Troubleshooting Mode does not work better, restart the computer again on the first USB stick.

    4. In the Boot Loader Menu, press TAB. A command line with a list of boot options appears at the bottom of the screen.

      Black screen with Tails artwork and list of boot options

    5. Press the Backspace key several times to remove the quiet option from the command line.

    6. If Tails previously failed to start and displayed the Probing EDD (edd=off to disable)... error, then type edd=off to add this option to the command line.

    7. Type debug nosplash to add these options to the command line.

    8. To start Tails, press Enter.

    9. Hopefully, error messages now appear when starting Tails. You can send them to our support team by email, for example by taking a picture of the last screen and error messages.

    10. If the error message is /bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off followed by (initramfs), then try removing the live-media=removable option from the boot command line.

      If removing live-media=removable allows you to start Tails, please report the problem to our support team. This contributes to improving the list of problematic USB sticks. Then try installing Tails on another USB stick.

    Removing the live-media=removable option might be dangerous. If an adversary had access to the computer and installed a malicious Tails on an internal hard disk, the computer might start on the malicious Tails instead of on the USB stick.

    Tails Greeter: 'Welcome to Tails', 'More options? [Yes/No]'

  5. In Tails Greeter, select your preferred language in the drop-down list on the bottom left of the screen. Click Login.

  6. After 15–30 seconds, the Tails desktop appears.

    Tails desktop

The most difficult part is over! Now grab your second USB stick as it is time to install the final Tails on it.

It is important to install the final Tails as it allows you to store some of your documents and configuration and benefit from automatic security upgrades.

This was a first but important step! Now grab the new USB stick on which you want to install Tails.

Install Tails

Install the final Tails

Install Tails on a USB stick

Upgrade your Tails

In this step, you will install the final Tails on a second new USB stick using Tails Installer.

In this step, you will upgrade your Tails from the other intermediary Tails using Tails Installer one last time.

All the data on this USB stick will be lost.

The persistent storage of your Tails USB stick will be preserved.

The persistent storage of the other Tails will not be copied.

USB stick plugged on the right Second USB stick plugged on the right USB stick plugged on the right Second USB stick plugged on the right
  1. Plug the second the new your Tails the USB stick in the computer.

  2. Choose Applications ▸ Tails ▸ Tails Installer to start Tails Installer.

    Start Tails Installer:

    Tails Installer

    tails-installer-launcher

  3. Click on the Install by cloning Install Upgrade by cloning button.

    Tails Installer: 'Install by cloning', 'Upgrade by cloning', 'Upgrade from ISO' Tails Installer: 'Install', 'Upgrade'

    ISO image installed on USB stick on the right Tails installed on USB stick on the right Tails installed on USB stick on the right
  4. Click Browse and choose the ISO image that you downloaded earlier.

    Choose the second the new your USB stick in the Target Device drop-down list.

  5. To start the installation, upgrade, click on the Install Tails button.

    If it is impossible to upgrade the USB stick because it was not installed using Tails Installer, restart Tails Installer and choose Install by cloning.

  6. Read the warning message in the confirmation dialog. Click Yes to confirm.

    The installation upgrade takes a few minutes.

    At the end of the installation, you are asked for your administration password twice.

    The progress bar usually freezes for some time while synchronizing data on disk.

  7. Close Tails Installer.

You are done upgrading Tails. You can now shutdown and restart on your Tails USB stick.

Thank you for staying safe!

Restart on the final Tails

Restart on the new Tails

Restart on the Tails USB stick

  1. Shut down the computer.

    USB stick unplugged on the left and computer restarted on USB stick on the right DVD ejected and computer restarted on USB stick on the right
  2. Unplug the first other USB stick and leave the second new USB stick plugged in.

    Eject the DVD and leave the USB stick plugged in.

  3. Switch on the computer.

    Immediately press-and-hold the Option key (Alt key) until a list of possible startup disks appears.

    'Option' or 'alt' key in the bottom left of Mac keyboard

    Choose the USB stick and press Enter. The USB stick appears as an external hard disk and might be labelled EFI Boot or Windows like in the following screenshot:

    Screen with the logo of an internal hard disk labelled 'Macintosh HD' and an external hard disk labelled 'Windows' (selected)

    Some computers start successfully on the intermediary Tails but fail to start on the final Tails. If this is your case, refer to the troubleshooting section about Tails not starting at all.

    Troubleshooting

    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
    4. 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?

    If your computer fails to start on the final Tails, Tails USB stick, you can continue using the intermediary Tails Tails DVD. On this intermediary Tails you cannot benefit from automatic upgrades or create an encrypted persistent storage.

    You should still have a look at our final recommendations. final recommendations.

  4. In the Boot Loader Menu, choose Tails and press Enter.

  5. After 30–60 seconds, Tails Greeter appears.

  6. In Tails Greeter, select your preferred language in the drop-down list on the bottom left of the screen. Click Login.

  7. After 15–30 seconds, the Tails desktop appears.

Tails USB stick
Final Tails USB stick and intermediary USB stick that can be discarded
New Tails USB stick

Yeah, you are done installing Tails!

If you want to save some of your documents and configuration in an encrypted storage on the finalnew Tails USB stick, follow our instructions until the end. Otherwise, have a look at our final recommendations. final recommendations. final recommendations. final recommendations. final recommendations. final recommendations. final recommendations. final recommendations.

Create an encrypted persistent storage (optional)

You can optionally create an encrypted persistent storage in the remaining free space on the final new Tails USB stick to store any of the following:

  • Your personal files and working documents
  • Some of your settings
  • Your encryption keys

The data in the encrypted persistent storage:

  • Remains available across separate working sessions.
  • Is encrypted using a passphrase of your choice.

The encrypted persistent storage is not hidden. An attacker in possession of the USB stick can know whether it has an encrypted persistent storage. Take into consideration that you can be forced or tricked to give out its passphrase.

It is possible to open the encrypted persistent storage from other operating systems, but it might break your security. Other operating systems should probably not be trusted to handle sensitive information or leave no trace.

Create the persistent storage

  1. Choose Applications ▸ Tails ▸ Configure persistent volume.

  2. Specify a passphrase of your choice in both the Passphrase and Verify Passphrase text boxes.

    We recommend choosing a long passphrase made of five to seven random words. Learn more.

  3. Click on the Create button.

  4. Wait for the creation to finish.

    If you close the assistant before the creation finishes, you might not be able to start Tails from this USB stick anymore.

  5. The assistant shows a list of the possible persistence features. Each feature corresponds to a set of files or settings to be saved in the encrypted persistent storage.

    We recommend you to only activate the Personal Data persistence feature for the time being. You can activate more features later on according to your needs.

  6. Click Save.

Restart and activate the persistent storage

  1. Shut down the computer and restart on the final new Tails USB stick.

  2. In Tails Greeter:

    Tails Greeter: 'Welcome to Tails', 'Use persistence? [Yes/No]', 'More options? [Yes/No]'

    • Select your preferred language in the drop-down list on the bottom left of the screen.
    • In the Use persistence? section, choose Yes to activate the encrypted persistent storage for the current working session.
    • Enter the passphrase of the persistent volume in the Passphrase text box.
    • Click Login.
  3. After 15–30 seconds, the Tails desktop appears.

  4. You can now save your personal files and working documents in the Persistent folder. To open the Persistent folder choose Places ▸ Persistent.

Tails USB stick with persistent storage
Final Tails USB stick with persistent storage
Tails USB stick with persistent storage

You now have a working Tails, congrats!

Final recommendations

Tails does not protect you from everything! Have a look at our warnings.

If you face any problem, use the Report an error launcher on the Tails desktop or visit our support pages.

We hope you enjoy using Tails :)