so I downloaded tails onto a flash drive successfully(so I think), but then when I went to go run it on my computer, it doesn't show up. It's just my normal start screen and sign in to my computer. One video instructed me to press the delete key when stating it up, so I did that and it still didn't work. Another video tutorial instructed me to click on the F12 button a bunch of times when starting up. I did that and it still didn't work. Can someone help me? What did I do wrong?

  • Timing of the indicated key presses can be very critical: Sometimes it won't work if you press too early (it won't work if you press too late, of courcse), and sometime you'll have to repeat the key rapidly many times. Also with modern BIOS' "qucik start" technology, you have no time for such a key press. Maybe disable quick start in BIOS, too.
    – U. Windl
    Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 23:13
  • My Toshiba uses F12 and you must keep pressing the key until "choose your device boot" screen appears
    – Manul667
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 19:29

2 Answers 2


Google your laptop model for the key needed for the boot menu. They can vary greatly depending on who made your laptop. For example, MSI laptop uses F11. My Thinkpad uses Enter and then F12. My desktop uses only F12.

If you have a very old computer, you may need to change the boot option in the BIOS. We can't tell you what that would be so you will need to research that on your own depending on that laptop itself.


Well, first of all you need to find out your Boot key or BBS menu key in your BIOS, it's usually showed at the boot process. Usually it's like F2, F8, F10, F11, F12 or basically a Del - just try them! After that - keep in mind that to achieve the fully available privacy you have to unplug your HDD/SSD before booting up - it will make your local data inaccessible even in case of a zero-day exploits

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