Persisting UI Settings to Tails

Tails is very useful for tasks that require attention to opsec.  The "amnesiac OS" is adept at avoiding malware infestation, as it boots clean every time.  This is great, except for UI/UX preferences that you struggle to survive without.

Tails supports use of persistent volumes, which allow you to sacrifice some duress resistance in exchange for some convenience.  However, the persistent volumes' dotfiles module does not, by default, persist certain critical UX preferences.

In particular, I needed to persist the Touchpad speed and scrolling preferences, as well as setting a dark background for the default gnome-terminal, to the persistent volume.  To do this, first use the UI to set the preferences you want to persist, and then run the following commands from the shell.  Note this assumes that you've already created a persistent volume and an administration password.

mkdir -pv /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.config/dconf

cp ~/.config/dconf/user /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.config/dconf/

Now reboot.  Unlock your persistent volume at next boot, and voila, your settings are already the way you like them!  No need to go fiddling around setting them up each time.

Note that the Dotfiles feature of Tails' persistence is a double edged sword, and you should use care with Dotfiles specifically, and persistence in general, if your threat model requires you to tread cautiously.