What do you think is the best way to run Tor. And I know its not Windows.

But as for Linux, what is the best way to run TBB. Your everyday desktop, a second computer, a USB Live os such as a live CD or Puppy, Slax, Tails, or DSL?

What about Virtual Box?

  • 1
    Dear, In what sense you are asking this question? For example in anonymity sense? security sense? User friendly sense? etc. In addition, best for whom? for you? for community? etc.
    – Roya
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 1:46
  • Dear, You may edit your question to make it more directed to what you mean.
    – Roya
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 2:32
  • @Jim I'm going to answer, but be aware that StackExchange generally doesn't like "what's best?" questions.
    – mirimir
    Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 16:48

3 Answers 3


Following please find my analysis:

If you already have Tor on board ( Unix / Linux ), you could easily extract following information :

# cat /var/lib/tor/cached-descriptors | grep -i ^finger | sort -u | wc
   7184   79024  445408

7184 uniq descriptors for me.

# cat /var/lib/tor/cached-descriptors | grep ^platform | sort -u | wc
    138     800    5376

138 different platform, it is what you are asking.

# cat /var/lib/tor/cached-descriptors | grep ^platform | sort | uniq -c | sort -h -t 1
    121 platform Tor on FreeBSD
    131 platform Tor on Windows 7
    145 platform Tor on Windows 8
    159 platform Tor on FreeBSD
    167 platform Tor on Windows 7 [server]
    170 platform Tor on Windows 8
    180 platform Tor on Windows XP
    196 platform Tor on Windows 8
    259 platform Tor on Windows 7
    395 platform Tor on Linux
    396 platform Tor on Windows 7
    409 platform Tor on Linux
    427 platform Tor on Windows 7
    537 platform Tor on Windows 8
    864 platform Tor on Windows 7
   1094 platform Tor on Linux
   1146 platform Tor on Linux
   1465 platform Tor on Windows 7
   2143 platform Tor on Linux
   4857 platform Tor on Linux
   6443 platform Tor on Linux

Here you can see 6443 platform Tor on Linux <-- most popular configuration today. More than 80% - is Linux.

Probably, there is some level of error in this computation, because grepping is not done by unique fingerprint. You may browse this information on your own.

On one hand, being a sheep in the herd probably not a great idea. The best option is to use the OS that you know better.

On the other hand, if you encounter any problem you could resolve it much faster with most popular configuration.


That's a good question!

I've an idea about running Tor in another environment too, but it is not realized at this time. In this case I've configured and personalized operating system that is installed on a virtual hard drive that is created on a host machine, including a software for possibility to run another operating system in this environment. Then using host machine I've created a copy of installed system on virtual drive and placed her into directory on this virtual drive for possibility to chroot into it and keep packages of this system up to date. Now I'm thinking about how to make a live ISO image from this copy of system and store it on a physical drive in one partition with my virtual drive. Benefit of this is that you can boot from host machine with grub loader using ISO image to work into live system and when it is needed to build a new live image stored on a physical drive when running from live system.

Sorry for my English but I think this can help you to think about something new. Best regards!


There's no general "best" way. What's best depends on your threat model. But yes, using Windows is arguably never good, given its anti-security design and closed source.

Unless you know Tor etc very well, it's also never good to use standalone Tor. There are too many ways to leak stuff (not going through Tor) that break your anonymity. Leaking DNS lookups is a typical fail. If you're going that route, you need to understand how to translate network requests from various apps to interfaces that the Tor client provides. You also need to know how to block leaks, and how to test for leaks.

The simplest way to run Tor safely is the Tor browser. But be aware that it's not set up for other apps, and that there are no firewall rules to block leaks. There's also the risk of sharing a machine/OS with non-Tor activity. You might download something evil through Tor, and it might later ping the FBI with your MAC and IP address ;)

The next level might be booting Tails, or running the Whonix VMs in VirtualBox. They both work well, but their main goals are different. The focus for Tails is leaving no traces behind after use. It's possible to save stuff on an encrypted USB flash drive. The focus for Whonix is preventing leaks, using stream isolation for stronger anonymity, and resisting exploits by isolating the workspace from the Tor process and its networking configuration.

Generally it's impossible to avoid activity traces, or at least to be confident that you've prevented and/or removed them. That's especially so when you're using Whonix rather than Tails, because VirtualBox writes logs. And so it's good to put all of your privacy/anonymity stuff on a separate computer, and to use full-disk encryption to protect the information from snooping.

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