If you want to help Tails, UEFI support is ready for testing!

Even if you don't have access to UEFI hardware, and Tails already works fine for you, it is useful that you make sure that these changes do not break anything you care about.

UEFI support allows you to start Tails using a USB stick on recent hardware, and especially on Mac. It enables you to use great features such as persistence and automatic upgrades.

Please see if it works for you:

  • If you have previously had problems starting Tails on your hardware, using a USB stick created with Tails Installer: a new Tails with UEFI support may fix these problems.

  • If you are used to starting Tails using a USB stick created with Tails Installer: make sure that UEFI support does not break things for you.

How to try UEFI support?

These instructions allow you to try an experimental version of Tails with UEFI support. Use it only for testing.

To follow these instructions, you will need two boot devices compatible with Tails: either a DVD and a USB stick, or two USB sticks.

Follow these steps exactly. Do not try to upgrade an existing Tails USB stick.

  1. Download the latest test ISO.

  2. Use any officially supported way to install the experimental ISO image to first device, that we will call Alpha, that can be a DVD or a USB stick. At this point, device Alpha does not support UEFI.

  3. Start Tails from device Alpha, on a computer that starts fine with the latest official version of Tails.

  4. Take detailed notes about how this boot goes.

  5. Clone & Install device Alpha onto another USB stick with Tails Installer. We will call this second device Beta, and it supports UEFI.

  6. Get the computer you are really interested in using with Tails. It may start fine with the latest official version of Tails, or not.

  7. Make sure this computer is configured to start with legacy BIOS and not only UEFI. Try any of the following options if available:

    • Enable Legacy mode
    • Disable Secure boot
    • Enable CSM boot
    • Disable UEFI
  8. Start Tails from the USB stick Beta on this computer.

  9. Take detailed notes about how this boot goes. If it fails, proceed to the next test:

  10. Start Tails from the USB stick Beta in UEFI mode, again on the same computer:

    • On a Mac: plug the USB stick, press the power button, immediately press the Alt key until a boot menu appears, and then choose the entry that reads Boot EFI and looks like a USB stick.
    • On a PC: look first into the boot menu; if nothing reads EFI in there, look in the BIOS settings, and try any of the following options if available: Disable Legacy mode, Disable CSM boot, and Enable UEFI.
  11. Take detailed notes about how this boot goes.

  12. Report your results to us, as documented below.

Reporting success and failure

We are interested both in your success and failure reports. The exact information we need in a report depends on whether you are reporting success or failure.

Reporting success

From Tails started in UEFI mode, please send us a report with WhisperBack. Include your testing notes, and the answer to the following questions:

  1. What is the number of the step you are reporting about?
  2. What is the filename of the ISO you have been testing?
  3. How exactly did you prepare the boot device?
  4. What exact steps did you follow to start Tails from this device?

Reporting failure

If you find a computer that cannot start with an experimental version of Tails that supports UEFI, please first check if the problem you are experiencing is already known. If it is, then you do not need to send us a report. If not, read on.

Include the answer to the following questions:

  1. What is the number of the step you are reporting about?
  2. What is the filename of the ISO you have been testing?
  3. How exactly did you prepare this boot device?
  4. What exact steps did you follow to start Tails from this device?
  5. What is the brand and model of the computer your have been testing on?
  6. What is the type, brand, and model of this boot device?
  7. What exactly happens when you tried to start Tails from this device?

Please also consider trying to reproduce the problem with the latest official version of Tails, installed in the same way, on the same hardware. Include the results in your report.

In any case, please email your report to intrigeri@boum.org. You may encrypt it with OpenPGP to:

pub   4096R/0xBACE15D2A57498FF 2009-09-13 [expires: 2014-09-12]
      Key fingerprint = 1152 BF13 6B7A 1B1C 49FC  A659 BACE 15D2 A574 98FF
uid                            intrigeri <intrigeri@boum.org>
sub   4096R/0x4F5C654A93F976C9 2009-09-13 [expires: 2014-09-12]

Known issues

Known issues of UEFI support are listed: