I tried to run Tor browser bundle as a root but it it didn't start and I got the above quoted error message. I'm not sure why? and I'm also wondering if there is away to make that possible.


  • To fix it Follow the steps below 1. start-tor-browser.desktop -h 2. start-tor-browser.desktop --verbose you'll get some error and warning according to the system requirement, configure it then run the tor app . its true tor can't open in root, u have to create a new user . Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 0:25
  • This doesn't seem add anything extra to the previous answers. Can you explain what the two commands do? If the --verbose command is just being used to generate some console logs, do these logs add anything to the error the user is already seeing? Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 20:53

2 Answers 2


Short Answer:

There is no advantage to using TBB as root, but there are significant risks.

Longer Answer:

It is a generally accepted practice that userland applications (ie: application that are not system services) should not be run using a privileged account. This is to help ensure integrity and isolation of potentially harmful applications from core system resources.

A browser in particular is a high value target for adversaries as browsers interact with unknown third parties. Despite the Firefox and TBB developers' best efforts, it is possible that there may be vulnerabilities in TBB. If an attacker took control of a system via TBB, the damage could be much much worse if TBB was being run as a superuser.


Use the text editor and open the start-tor-browser script file. Search for the word root, you will see these lines:

if [ "`id -u`" -eq 0 ]; then
    complain "The Tor Browser Bundle should not be run as root.  Exiting."
    exit 1

Remove or comment out the exit 1 command.

  • 10
    I'd recommend against doing this. Just set up a non-root account. Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 4:44
  • 3
    A warning should be put at the beginning of this answer to warn users against doing this.
    – Yuriko
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 9:16
  • 1
    @Yuriko: The code already has the warning in it. Removing it now anyway. I do EVERYTHING as root. Now going to fix VLC.
    – Quandary
    Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 13:01
  • This is particularly useful for Kali users
    – Alex M
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 1:20
  • thank you very much it works! and in my case the file is inside /root/.local/share/torbrowser/tbb/x86_64/tor-browser_en-US/Browser Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 10:49

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