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Using tails 2.1, I am trying to open an html file in a browser from persistent storage / or usb drive.

  • If I try to open in Tor browser (default), it is not loaded at all. (I tried disabling all add-ons, experimented with admin, etc). Strangely, I can load some html files, but only those in a specific folder like: file:///usr/share/doc/tails/website/

  • I tried the Unsafe Browser, but the app will not open at all, instead it gives me this error:

No DNS server was obtained through DHCP or manually configured in NetworkManager

I have disabled all networking as I am using this as an air-gapped system.

Clearly I am missing something here.

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This is a restriction put in place by AppArmor to confine Tor Browser, as such cannot open files in the users home directory or mounted media except where explicitly excepted.

For this purpose, there are two folders that can be accessed in the users home directory, defined by these rules in /etc/apparmor.d/torbrowser:

  owner "@{HOME}/Tor Browser/" rw,
  owner "@{HOME}/Tor Browser/**" rwk,
  owner "@{HOME}/Persistent/Tor Browser/" rw,
  owner "@{HOME}/Persistent/Tor Browser/**" rwk,

Similarly, it has exceptions for the Tails documentation/website:

  /usr/share/doc/tails/website/ r,
  /usr/share/doc/tails/website/** r,

If you want to open a file in Tor Browser from Persistent storage, you should place it in ~/Persistent/Tor Browser/ (i.e. file:///home/amnesia/Persistent/Tor%20Browser/foo.html). Otherwise, it should exist in ~/Tor Browser/ (i.e. file:///home/amesia/Tor%20Browser/foo.html).

Similarly, you would not be able to open the files from external storage in Unsafe Browser (were it even able to launch), as it runs inside a chrooted environment and under a different user, which means it would have no visibility of the files.

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