To configure the Persistent Storage, choose Applications ▸ Tails ▸ Persistent Storage.

Since Tails 5.8 (December 2022), your data corresponding to each feature of the Persistent Storage is stored to the USB stick immediately. You don't have to restart Tails anymore after enabling a new feature.

For example, when you enable the Tor Browser Bookmarks feature of the Persistent Storage, your current bookmarks are saved in the Persistent Storage immediately.

Only the features that are listed below can currently be made persistent.

We are often asked to implement new features of the Persistent Storage: Tor Browser preferences, Tor configuration, desktop background, mouse and touchpad settings, and so on. See the list of issues about the Persistent Storage in our GitLab.

Personal Documents

Persistent Folder

When the Persistent Folder feature is turned on, you can save your personal files and working documents in the Persistent folder.

To open the Persistent folder, choose Places ▸ Persistent.

Tor Browser can only access the Tor Browser subfolder in the Persistent folder. You can only save your downloads to the Persistent/Tor Browser folder. To upload a file, you must copy it to the Persistent/Tor Browser folder first.

System Settings

Welcome Screen

When the Welcome Screen feature is turned on, the settings from the Welcome Screen are saved in the Persistent Storage: language, keyboard, and additional settings.

To restore your settings when starting Tails, unlock your Persistent Storage in the Welcome Screen.

Printers

When the Printers feature is turned on, the configuration of the printers is saved in the Persistent Storage.

Network

Network Connections

When the Network Connections feature is turned on, the password for Wi-Fi networks and configuration of wired networks are saved in the Persistent Storage.

Tor Bridge

When the Tor Bridge feature is turned on, the last Tor bridge that you used to connect to Tor successfully is saved in the Persistent Storage.

Applications

Tor Browser Bookmarks

When the Tor Browser Bookmarks feature is turned on, changes to the bookmarks in Tor Browser are saved in the Persistent Storage.

Electrum Bitcoin Wallet

When the Electrum Bitcoin Wallet feature is turned on, the bitcoin wallet and preferences of the Electrum bitcoin client are saved in the Persistent Storage.

Thunderbird Email Client

When the Thunderbird Email Client feature is turned on, the email, feeds, and OpenPGP keys in the Thunderbird email client are saved in the Persistent Storage.

GnuPG

When the GnuPG feature is turned on, the OpenPGP keys that you create or import in GnuPG and Kleopatra are saved in the Persistent Storage.

Since Tails 4.13 (November 2020), Thunderbird uses its own OpenPGP keyring, different from the keyring used by GnuPG and Kleopatra. You don't need to enable the GnuPG feature anymore if you only use OpenPGP encryption in Thunderbird.

Pidgin Internet Messenger

When the Pidgin Internet Messenger feature is turned on, all the configuration files of the Pidgin internet messenger are saved in the Persistent Storage:

  • The configuration of your accounts, contacts, and chats

  • Your OTR encryption keys and keyring

The content of the discussions is not saved, unless you configure Pidgin to do so.

All the configuration options are available from the graphical interface of Pidgin. You don't need to manually edit or overwrite the configuration files.

SSH Client

When the SSH Client feature is turned on, all the files related to the Secure Shell (SSH) client are saved in the Persistent Storage:

  • The SSH keys that you create or import

  • The public keys of the hosts you connect to

  • The SSH configuration file in ~/.ssh/config

Advanced Settings

Additional Software

When the Additional Software feature is turned on, a list of additional software of your choice is automatically installed every time you start Tails.

The corresponding software packages are stored in the Persistent Storage. They are automatically upgraded for security after a network connection is established.

The packages included in Tails are carefully tested for security. Installing additional packages might break the security built in Tails, so be careful with what you install.

Dotfiles

When the Dotfiles feature is turned on:

  • All the files in the /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles folder are linked in the Home folder using Linux symbolic links.

  • All the files in subfolders of /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles are also linked in the corresponding subfolder of the Home folder using Linux symbolic links.

  • A shortcut is provided in the left pane of the Files browser and in the Places menu in the top navigation bar to access the /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles folder.

For example, having the following files in /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles:

/live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles
├── file_a
├── folder
│   ├── file_b
│   └── subfolder
│       └── file_c
└── emptyfolder

Produces the following result in /home/amnesia:

/home/amnesia
├── file_a → /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/file_a
└── folder
    ├── file_b → /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/folder/file_b
    └── subfolder
        └── file_c → /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/folder/subfolder/file_c

The Dotfiles feature only links specific files, and not entire folders, from the Persistent Storage. Accordingly, empty folders are ignored, as shown in the above example.

On Tails and Linux in general, the name of configuration files often starts with a dot and are sometimes called dotfiles for this reason. The Dotfiles feature of the Persistent Storage makes it easy to persist such "dotfiles", for example ~/.gitconfig or ~/.bashrc.

Be careful if you use the Dotfiles feature to overwrite the default settings.

The programs included in Tails are carefully configured with security in mind. You can weaken your security if you change the defaults.

The anonymity of Tor and Tails relies on making it harder to distinguish one Tails user from another. In some cases, changing the default settings can break your anonymity.

Save the configuration of your displays

If you have more than one display (for example, two monitors or a projector), you can save the configuration of your displays using the Dotfiles feature.

  1. Turn on the Dotfiles feature and restart Tails.

  2. Choose Applications ▸ System Tools ▸ Settings to open the Settings utility.

  3. Choose Displays in the Settings utility.

  4. Configure your displays.

  5. Choose Places ▸ Dotfiles to open the /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles folder in the Files browser.

  6. Click on the menu toggle button in the title bar and choose Show Hidden Files.

  7. Create a folder called .config (config preceded by a dot).

  8. Copy the .config/monitors.xml file from your Home folder to /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.config.

Deleting the data corresponding to a feature

When you turn off a feature of the Persistent Storage:

  • The data of the feature is not available anymore in Tails.

    For example:

    • If you turn off the Persistent Folder feature, the documents saved in Places  ▸ Persistent are not available anymore.

    • If you turn off the Electrum Bitcoin Wallet feature, the wallet used by Electrum is not available anymore.

  • The data of the feature is still saved in the USB stick.

    A Delete Data button appears in the setting of the feature.

    • Click the Delete Data button to delete the corresponding data from the USB stick.

    • Turn on the feature again to restore the data and make it available in Tails again.