Problems starting Tails

This section lists known problems with specific hardware. To report a problem with different hardware see our report guidelines when Tails does not start.

Problematic USB sticks

SanDisk

Many SanDisk USB sticks are configured by the manufacturer as a fixed disk, and not as a removable disk. As a consequence, they require removing the live-media=removable boot parameter, which is dangerous.

  • SanDisk Cruzer Edge 8GB
  • SanDisk Cruzer Extreme USB 3.0 16GB, 32GB and 64GB
  • SanDisk Cruzer Fit USB 2.0 8GB, 16GB, and 32G
  • SanDisk Cruzer Force 8GB
  • SanDisk Cruzer Glide 4GB, 8GB and 16GB
  • SanDisk Cruzer Switch USB 2.0 8GB and 32GB
  • SanDisk Cruzer USB 3.0 64GB
  • SanDisk Cruzer Blade 4GB, 8GB, and 32GB
  • SanDisk Cruzer Facet
  • SanDisk Cruzer Orbiter 32GB (hangs at installation time but boots fine afterwards)
  • SanDisk Ultra 32 GB

SanDisk had begun the production of flash drives configured as fixed disk in 2012 to meet new requirements for Windows 8 Certification, and ended it in mid-2014. The flash drives that comply with this certification will have the Windows 8 logo on their packaging. If a flash drive does not have the Windows 8 logo on its packaging, then that drive will function as a removable disk and should work with Tails.

See also ticket #6397.

PNY

When installing Tails, PNY USB sticks have problems with the constant write load and are prone to failure.

Aegis

  • Aegis Secure Key USB 2.0

During the boot process, USB is briefly powered off, that causes Aegis hardware-encrypted USB sticks to lock down, and the PIN must be entered again (fast) in order to complete the boot.

  • Aegis Secure Key USB 3.0

This USB stick doesn't start Tails at all, the USB 2.0 workaround is not working for that hardware.

Other vendors

Acer Travelmate 8573T-254G50M

Booting from DVD works fine, but does not start on USB sticks created using Tails Installer.

This problem might be corrected in Tails 1.1 and newer: please report your test results back to us.

Acer Aspire 5315-ICL50

Does not start on USB sticks created using Tails Installer.

ASUS VivoBook X202E

Legacy support needs to be enabled in order to start Tails. To enable legacy boot support, enable 'Launch CSM' under boot (menu).

This problem might be corrected in Tails 1.1 and newer: please report your test results back to us.

Compaq 615

You need to update the firmware to its latest version in order to start from a device installed using Tails Installer.

Dell Inc. Latitude E6430 and E6230

Does not start on USB sticks created using Tails Installer.

With BIOS versions A03 06/03/2012 (and A09, A11, and A12)

Error message: Invalid partition table!

Workaround (at least with BIOS versions A09, A11, and A12): just hit enter and it will continue with the boot.

This problem might be corrected in Tails 1.1 and newer: please report your test results back to us.

Dell XPS L702X/03RG89, Samsung RV520, Samsung Series 7 Chronos

Does not start on USB sticks created using Tails Installer.

We were reported that the legacy BIOS shipped on these systems doesn't know how to deal with the GPT partition scheme installed by Tails Installer.

This problem might be corrected in Tails 1.1 and newer: please report your test results back to us.

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/p/19392884/20010995.aspx

Dell Inspiron 8100

The display panel will have the wrong resolution unless video=LVDS-1:1600x1200 nouveau.noaccel=1 is added to the boot command line. This problem might be corrected in Tails 1.1 and newer: please report your test results back to us.

Dell Dimension 2400

Does not start neither from USB nor from DVD. System crashes with a blank screen and locked up keyboard. This problem might be corrected in newer versions: please report your test results back to us.

Fujitsu Siemens Amilo A 1667G

Does not start on USB sticks created using Tails Installer.

HP Compaq dc5750 Microtower

Does not start Tails 1.2.3 created using Tails Installer.

HP Pavilion dv7

Since Tails 1.3, gets stuck at the boot menu, whether Tails is installed manually or using Tails Installer.

HP ProBook 4330s

With UEFI enabled, when chosing a boot device, select Boot From EFI File and then Filesystem Tails and EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi.

Lenovo IdeaPad Y410p

Does not start Tails 1.1 from USB installed manually in Linux.

Lenovo IdeaPad z585

Goes back continuously to boot menu on Tails installed on DVD.

Clevo W258CU, ThinkPad X220, X121e, T420i, T410, T520, W520, T530, E325, and E530

These machines do not start on USB sticks created using Tails USB Installer, due to a firmware limitation.

A workaround for some of these machines is to use the manual installation process. Note, however, that this technique does not allow you to set up a persistent volume.

This problem might be corrected in Tails 1.1 and newer: please report your test results back to us.

Mac

  • Some Mac need rEFInd installed to boot Tails from a USB stick.
  • Any Mac with 32-bit EFI may not succeed in booting Tails USB stick created by Tails Installer. You can check if a given Mac is 32-bit or 64-bit EFI on that list: http://www.everymac.com/mac-answers/snow-leopard-mac-os-x-faq/mac-os-x-snow-leopard-64-bit-macs-64-bit-efi-boot-in-64-bit-mode.html
  • MacBook Pro 5,5 does not boot with Tails in UEFI mode.
  • MacBook Pro 5,1 17" (Nvidia GeForce 9400M): one must add the nouveau.noaccel=1 boot parameters so that the display works properly.
  • MacBook Air 3,2 (A1369 EMC 2392) freezes when booting Tails in UEFI mode.
  • MacBook Pro (early 2011) fails to boot from DVD since Tails 1.1.
  • Mac Pro Tower and MacBook Pro 4,1 (both from early 2008) and MacBook Pro 8,2 (late 2011) fail to boot from a USB stick created by Tails Installer.

Switchable graphics computers

Some computers with switchable graphics (such as Optimus) fail to choose a video card and end up on a black screen. This has been reported for MacBook Pro 6,2, MacBook Pro 10,1 Retina, MacBook Pro 15-inch (early 2011) and might affect many others.

There are two possible workarounds for this issue:

  • For the Mac computers, it is possible to use a third-party application, http://gfx.io/, to force integrated graphics only through OS X. Then restart in that special mode that works with Tails.

  • Expert Linux users can also do the following:

    1. Add the i915.modeset=0 rootpw=pass option in the boot menu.

    2. Create a file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/switchable.conf with the following content:

      Section "Device"
          Identifier "Device0"
          Driver "nouveau"
          BusID "1:0:0"
      EndSection
      
    3. Restart X with the command:

      service gdm3 restart
      
    4. After the GNOME session has started, change again the root password with the command:

      sudo passwd
      

For more details, see our ticket on Video is broken on dual-graphics-card apple hardware.

Chainloading Tails from GRUB

To workaround problems in booting Tails on laptops with UEFI support, it is possible to chainload the syslinux on the ISO image from another boot loader that is already working on the laptop, like GRUB. Be careful not to modify at all the options of syslinux in the process.

The following commands, run from the GRUB shell, might be helpful:

set root=(hd1)
chainloader +1
boot

Wi-Fi issues

Broadcom Wi-Fi network interface needing broadcom-sta-dkms

Some Broadcom Wi-Fi interfaces require the wl driver, provided by the broadcom-sta-dkms Debian package, to work in Tails.

The wl driver is not included in Tails because it is proprietary.

To find out if your Wi-Fi interface requires the wl driver:

  1. Execute the following command in a terminal:

    lspci -nn | grep Network
    
  2. Verify if your device is in the list of devices supported by the broadcom-sta-dkms package on the corresponding Debian wiki page. If you find your device in the list of supported devices, then it is impossible to use your Wi-Fi card in Tails.

Broadcom BCM43224 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi network interface

The Broadcom Corporation BCM43224 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi network interface is known to not be able to spoof its MAC address. Tails enables MAC spoofing by default, and will disable any network interface it fails to spoof. To make it work you must disable Tails' MAC spoofing feature; please read the documentation carefully and make sure you understand the consequences before doing so.

This network interface can, for instance, be found in the MacBook Air 4,1, 4,2, 5,1 and 5,2.

Security issues

Claws Mail leaks plaintext of encrypted emails to IMAP server

Claws Mail stores plaintext copies of all emails on the remote IMAP server, including those that are meant to be encrypted.

If you send OpenPGP encrypted emails using Claws Mail and IMAP, make sure to apply one of the workarounds documented in our security announcement.

Tails might not erase all the system memory on shutdown

On rare systems (non-PAE with big amounts of memory), Tails does not consistently erase all system memory as it should.

If no cold boot attack happens directly after shutdown, the RAM empties itself in minutes, and all data disappears.

See More efficient memory wipe.

Tails does not erase video memory

Tails doesn't erase the video memory yet. When one uses Tails, then restarts the computer into another operating system, that other operating system can see what has been displayed on the screen within Tails.

Shutting down the computer completely, instead of restarting it, might allow the video memory to empty itself.

See Erase video memory on shutdown.

After using Tails Installer, the "emergency shutdown" doesn't work

Tails Installer messes a bit too much with the USB devices for the "emergency shutdown on media removal" feature to continue working after using it. If you believe this feature is critical for the session you're running, we advice you to restart Tails.

See liveusb-creator should not break emergency shutdown.

Tails DVD eject failure

Pressing the DVD eject button does not trigger emergency shutdown. Also, the "normal" (non-emergency) shutdown procedure does not eject the DVD anymore.

See Fix DVD eject at shutdown.

Stream isolation inconsistency in Claws Mail

Claws Mail isn't using its dedicated Tor SocksPort for Tor hidden service IMAP/POP/SMTP servers (instead Tor's TransPort is used). This is just a deviation from Tails' design and should have no adverse real world consequences.

Tails fails to completely shutdown or restart

When stopping Tails on some hardware, the memory wipe procedure fails to complete: the display gets scrambled, but the computer doesn't completely shutdown or restart. Sometimes the caps-lock button light of the keyboard flashes.

When this happens, there is no guarantee that the memory is wiped entirely.

This issue has been reported on the following hardware:

  • Apple when booting from a USB stick:
    • MacBook Air 5,1
    • MacBook Air 5,2 (using a device installed with Tails Installer)
    • MacBook Pro 7,1 13-inch (mid 2010)
    • MacBook Pro 9,2 13-inch (mid 2012)
    • MacBook Pro 8,1 13-inch (late 2011)
    • MacBook Pro 10,2
    • MacBook Pro Retina 11,1 (late 2013)
    • MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch (early 2015)
  • Hewlett-Packard HP Pavilion dv6 Notebook PC
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X61, only on emergency shutdown when pulling out the USB stick
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X220
  • Toshiba Satellite C855D
  • Dell Inc. Studio 1458
  • Fujitsu Lifebook AH531/GFO, only on regular shutdown, emergency shutdown works
  • Samsung N150P
  • Acer Aspire e1-572

Fingerprint

None currently known.

Other issues

Hard to exchange files with the I2P Browser

It is impossible to exchange files between the I2P Browser and the amnesia user. See ticket #8280. But you can do that with administration rights from the command line. The home directory of the I2P Browser is located in /var/lib/i2p-browser/chroot/home/i2pbrowser/.

You might have to check the permissions of the files that you want to exchange with the I2P Browser:

  • They need to belong to the i2pbrowser user to be accessible from inside of the I2P browser.
  • They need to belong to the amnesia user to be accessible from outside of the I2P Browser.

Boot menu has display issues

Since Tails 1.1, one some hardware (ThinkPad X230, MacBook Pro 8,1), the boot menu is not displayed properly. Tails starts fine, though.

Connecting to FTP servers is not possible

Public FTP servers on the Internet are not reachable using Tails. See Fix FTP support for more details.

Tails fails to connect to certain Wi-Fi networks

This might be related to the introduction of wireless regulation support in Tails 0.13.

Touchpad configurations

Acer TravelMate B113 - ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad

synclient FingerPress=256;
synclient TapButton3=0;
synclient Clickpad=1;
synclient VertTwoFingerScroll=1;
synclient FingerLow=1;
synclient FingerHigh=1;

Bluetooth devices don't work

Bluetooth is not enabled in Tails for security reasons. To enable it anyway, see the documentation about wireless devices.

Tor Browser is translated in a limited number of languages

Since Tails 1.2, the web browser is based on Tor Browser which is translated in less languages than before. You can see the list of languages available in Tor Browser from the Tor Browser homepage.

The Windows 8 Browser theme doesn't look like Internet Explorer 10

When the Windows 8 camouflage is enabled, the Internet Explorer 10 theme for the Tor Browser, Unsafe Browser and I2P Browser is incorrect (ticket #9326). Specifically,

  • the default Firefox tab bar is used (it should be positioned above the URL bar, and use a "square" style), and
  • the search bar is enabled (it should be disabled).

Keyboard layout is sometimes not applied

The keyboard layout selected in Tails Greeter is sometimes not applied if different from English (US). Click on the keyboard layout icon in the notification area to switch between English and the layout selected in Tails Greeter.