New user to Tails but when it starts up it says it cannot sync network time, so Tor doesn't start. How do I manually get it sorted via terminal or am I doing something wrong? Have tried MAC spoofing on and off. Internet is working, so at a loss? I'm on the latest Tails bundle.

  • Dear Frank, Does Tor browser work on your system? check it out. – Roya Jan 4 '15 at 15:14
  • Yep it does but I thought Tails would be a much more secure system, no? – Frank Jan 4 '15 at 18:18
  • Dear Frank, it could be, if you know how to use it correctly. Up to that point, it may work to your determent. – Roya Jan 4 '15 at 19:56

I tried to reproduce your problem with the latest Tails ISO. Then I saw this in the Tails documentation and this. Essentially your system time must be off due to your BIOS/UEFI and Tails cannot set it correctly. So while I couldn't reproduce the problem (because it would break some things) it seems evident that somehow, despite Tails's best effort, clock skew still exists. To connect to Tor you'll need to set the time manually or figure out why your BIOS/UEFI time is so skewed. Consider getting in touch with Tails support about why it's not working automatically.

To set the time manually you need to boot Tails and choose 'Yes' for more options, then specify a password. Open a terminal and use the following command.

sudo date nnddhhmmyyyy.ss where,

  • nn, is the 2 digit month
  • dd, is the 2 digit day
  • hh, is the 2 digit hour
  • mm, is the 2 digit minute
  • yyyy, is the 4 digit year
  • ss, is the 2 digit seconds

Once you've completed the command click the date/time bar at the top to see the current setting update. Notice you can also perform this task graphically by clicking the date/time bar, the edit button, the time settings button, the unlock button, followed by whatever adjustments.

Set the time as accurately as possible then try loading Tor. You should now be able to connect.

-- leeroy


Tails uses UTC time. But the time of most devices is set up to the timezone of their sale, which can be considered as de-anonimization.

What I usually do is manual explicit setting the hardware clock to UTC. It is especially true for my own devices which I plan to use often with Tails. It can be quickly done via BIOS, for example - just one more reboot adjusts it forever.

It can affect other systems that aree used on the device, but they usually have the setting like "hardware clock is set up to UTC".

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