Home Tech USB Drives Easily Install Tails Linux on a USB drive
Easily Install Tails Linux on a USB drive

Easily Install Tails Linux on a USB drive


In this tutorial we will show you a simple way to install a bootable Linux operating system on a USB drive. This method will also work to install Linux on any harddrive attached to your PC. We will be installing the Tails version of Linux however you can use this method to install almost any version of Linux you would like. If you do not know what Tails is, here is a few points of what it can do for you:

  • use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship;
    all connections to the Internet are forced to go through the Tor network;
  • leave no trace on the computer you are using unless you ask it explicitly. Tails will not allow you to save any data by default to the device you boot it from.
  • use state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, emails and instant messaging.

Now knowing what Tails does, it is also important you ->understand this<-

Your computer must be set up to boot to a USB device first in the boot order. You should make sure you can change the boot order of your computer before going further. You will need to access your BIOS to change this setting so scroll down to Step 8 for help with changing the boot order.

Ready to install Tails on a USB drive?

1. Get a USB drive ready (or harddrive), at minimum it should be at least 8GB or more. Make sure there is nothing on it you want to keep. It will be formatted and erased. We suggest the Survivor Stealth USB drive.

2. On a PC, Download and install the Universal USB Installer here. This is the program we will be using to install Tails on to our USB drive.

3. Now you have to make the decision of which version of Linux you want to install. If you want to install Tails, it is recommended you download and verify the .iso signature. Here is an easy way to download and verify the signature to assure it has not been tampered with. If you want to install another version of Linux start by checking if this version is immediately available in the Universal USB Installer software you just installed by opening the program.

Click on the drop down for Step 1: Select a Distribution:

Select the version of Linux you want to install. If you want to install the Tails OS you have just downloaded, continue to the next step.

4. It the Step 1 dropdown, select: Try UnlistedLinux ISO

5. If you are installing Tails, click the Show All ISOs? option, and find the Tails .ISO you downloaded. Go to step 6 now.

If you are installing another Linux version click the Download Link, checking the box.

Click YES on the popup seen below.

This will take you to the Linux website of the OS you chose. You must download the OS version now.

Once it is downloaded you must browse to your Linux ISO you downloaded:

6. In the Universal USB Installer Step 3, select the drive letter of your USB. If you do not see it listed you can check the box Show all Drives (USE WITH CAUTION), make absolutely sure it is the USB drive you wish to install Linux on because it will be erased.

Here we have chosen to format our USB drive with Fat32.

7. Click Create. The installation process will now begin.

Once it has finished, you now have a bootable USB drive with your Linux OS installed.

8. You will not be able to boot to it unless your BIOS is setup to boot to a USB drive. You need to reboot your computer and access the BIOS. This is usually done by watching your boot screen and finding the correct button to press to get into the BIOS. Here we can see the BIOS access would be: Press DEL to run Setup yours may be different.

Once inside your BIOS, you want to look for your Boot Priority and change it to boot to the USB device first, then your main hard drive. This is just an example below of how this may look. Yours may be different. Once changed, make sure you exit and save the new configuration.

Here is a link to different visual examples of how yours may look.

Once you have changed the proper boot order, insert your new USB drive and restart the computer. You should now boot directly into your Linux USB OS. You will need to do this to every computer you try to boot to this USB drive with.

Once you have your TOR browser up and running here are a few dark websites you can visit.

If you would like to save files with Tails, you need to set up a Persistent Volume. Here is a video on how to do that.