How to upgrade Tails on an internal HDD

If you installed Tails to HDD (like described here) ‘automatic’ upgrade (in place upgrade) does not work anymore. Here's how to manually upgrade.

This is ‘upgrade Tails on an internal hdd’ guide, but reviewed and fixed in 2019.

1. Download a new DVD/ISO/USB version of Tails from and while booting set the administrator password.

2. Mount the ‘Tails’ volume of the hard disk using Applications → Utilities → Disks.

3. Execute the following commands in the terminal:

mkdir /home/amnesia/efi
mkdir /home/amnesia/syl
cp -p /media/amnesia/Tails/EFI/BOOT/live*.cfg /home/amnesia/efi
cp -p /media/amnesia/Tails/syslinux/live*.cfg /home/amnesia/syl

4. Unmount the ‘Tails’ partition of the hard disk using Applications → Utilities → Disks.

5. Open the /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/tails_installer/creator.py file:

sudo gedit /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/tails_installer/creator.py

Find the line in it.

Only pay attention to USB and SDIO devices

and comment out the next 8 lines by putting # in front of each line (changing the font color indicates that you did everything right). This should be done up to and including:

continue

It turns out:

Save and close the file.

Now open the /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/tails_installer/gui.py file:

sudo gedit /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/tails_installer/gui.py

Find the line there

Skip devices with non-removable bit enabled

And comment out the next nine lines, down to and including

continue

It should look like this:

Save and close the file.

6. Run in the terminal:

sudo /usr/bin/python -tt /usr/bin/tails-installer -u -n -x --clone

This is the same as running Tails Installers ‘update by cloning’, but running as root, because running from amnesia at the end gives an error.

7. Select your HDD and click the Upgrade button:

Make sure your HDD is selected and click the Upgrade button:

8. When the installation is successfully completed, mount the “Tails” section of your hard disk using Applications → Utilities → Disks.

9. Then execute the commands:

cp -p /home/amnesia/efi/* /media/amnesia/Tails/EFI/BOOT
cp -p /home/amnesia/syl/* /media/amnesia/Tails/syslinux

10. Unmount the ‘Tails’ volume of your HDD using Applications → Utilities → Disks.

11. Shut down the computer and boot from the hard disk to check the results.

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