How to virtual box tails in a tails environment?

I'm Noob, need the step by step.

I see there's several ideas but no step by step guide for the current/future distros.

Please walk me through how to get some virtual tails to run in tails, with normal gui and all.

  • I am not sure If I completely understand the question. You want to run VirtualBox on Tails and in a VirtualBox machine another instance of Tails? Oct 11, 2013 at 6:58
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2 Answers 2


I think you're asking how to run a VM of Tails inside Tails? This is an odd request, and it might be better to explain what you're hoping to get out of that setup.

You might also read through the answers here: Running a virtual machine (VM) that can only connect through Tor ; particularly looking at the discussion on Whonix (https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Main_Page) in case that architecture better meets your needs.

Also be aware of the potential risks of running Tor on top of Tor: Is running Tor over Tor dangerous?


I don't fully understand the question.

As joncam said in answering, and pabouk alluded to in commenting, running Tor through Tor may be dangerous. And even if it's not dangerous, it doesn't work at all well, in my experience. I've also tried running Tor through a VPN, which in turn was tunneled through Tor, and Tor only connected at all after many attempts, and was totally useless even when it did.

However, it is an interesting idea to run Tails as a read-only VirtualBox VM in a read-only LiveCD environment. That way, no history is saved anywhere. Also, with the Tor process running in the host machine, it's protected from exploits on userland applications in the VM. And because the entire system is read-only, even successful exploits would be gone after reboot.

One might use a stripped-down version of Tails as the host OS, with Tor but no Browser Bundle, and only VirtualBox plus enough packages to support it and a graphical environment. Tails would be the VM, with Tor disabled as in the Whonix workstation VM.

Instead, one might use a read-only LiveCD based on the Whonix gateway. One would add VirtualBox, a basic graphical environment (such as OpenBox) and the Whonix workstation VM (or a LiveCD made from it).

One might also mix Tails and Whonix in such a LiveCD on LiveCD, with Tor on the host, and TBB on the VM. However, the total uncompressed disk size for any of these setups would be over 5 GB. While that would easily fit on a DVD, after archiving, you'd probably need at least 10 GB RAM to run it. You could get by with less RAM, but performance reading from DVD would be very sluggish.

The major problem is that the host and VM both need graphical environments, given how VirtualBox works. To address that, one might start with CrunchBang as both host and VM OS, adding Tor and VirtualBox to the host and TBB to the VM. CrunchBang uses OpenBox, which is much lighter (both in disk space and RAM requirement) than the graphical environments used in Tails and Whonix.

Total uncompressed disk size there could be under 3 GB, I believe, and so it would run with 6 GB RAM. That's still not small enough, even for good modern hardware. But it's close, I think, and there's potential to pare it down further.

Another possibility, which I've successfully tested, is running with no graphical environment on the host, and accessing the workstation VM using remote desktop via ssh. But that obviously requires two machines.

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