The desktop environment used in Tails is GNOME. This page describes some important features of the desktop in the context of Tails.

Top navigation bar

In the upper left corner of the screen there are two menus:

  • the Applications menu
  • the Places menu

Applications menu

The Applications menu provides shortcuts to the included software and to GNOME configuration utilities.

Help: to access the GNOME Desktop Help choose Utilities ▸ Help
Settings: to change various system settings such as keyboard, mouse and touchpad, or displays choose System Tools ▸ Settings

To learn about the many keyboard shortcuts in GNOME, click on Keyboard from the System Settings and open the Shortcuts tab.

Seahorse: to manage your OpenPGP keys choose Utilities ▸ Passwords and Keys

Favorites submenu

In the Favorites submenu, a few shortcuts allow you to launch the most frequently used applications:

Tor Browser: browse the World Wide Web
See the corresponding documentation
Thunderbird: email client
See the corresponding documentation
Pidgin: instant messaging client
See the corresponding documentation
KeePassX: password manager
See the corresponding documentation

GNOME Terminal: use the command line

Places menu

The Places menu provides direct access to different folders and storage media.

Tor status and circuits

The Tor status icon and Onion Circuits allow you to view the status of Tor. See the corresponding documentation.

OpenPGP applet

Using the OpenPGP Applet you can encrypt and decrypt the clipboard using OpenPGP. See the corresponding documentation.

Universal access

The universal access menu allows you to activate the screen reader, screen keyboard, large text display, and other accessibility technologies. See the corresponding documentation.

Keyboard layouts

The keyboard layout menu allow you to change the keyboard layout and input method for non-Latin scripts.

System menu

In the top-right corner of the top bar, the system menu allows you to manage your systems settings and your computer.

Locking your screen

Click on the Lock button in the system menu to lock your screen with a password.

  • If you set up an administration password when starting Tails, you can unlock your screen with your administration password.

  • Otherwise, you can set up a password to unlock your screen when locking your screen for the first time.

Activities overview

To access your windows and applications you can either:

  • Choose Applications ▸ Activities Overview.
  • Throw your mouse pointer to the top-left hot corner.
  • Press the windows key on your keyboard.

You can see your windows and applications in the overview. You can also start typing to search your applications, files, and folders.

Desktop shortcuts

Home: shortcut to the default user's folder
Tails documentation: open a local copy of Tails website and documentation
Report an error: help you troubleshoot Tails
Trash: where the "deleted" files are moved

Managing files with Nautilus

Nautilus is GNOME's file manager, FTP, SFTP client and more.

To manage local files, follow links on the desktop or from the Places menu at top left corner of the screen. To move files or folders, you can drag them from one window and drop them to another.

To connect to a remote FTP or SFTP server choose Connect to Server.