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[[!meta date="Wed Feb 1 10:23:56 2017"]]
[[!meta title="Tails 3.0 will require a 64-bit processor"]]
[[!tag announce]]

Tails 3.0 will require a 64-bit <span
class="definition">[[!wikipedia x86-64]]</span> compatible processor.
As opposed to older versions of Tails, it will not work on
32-bit processors.

We have waited for years until we felt it was the right time to do
this switch. Still, this was a hard decision for us to make. Today, we
want to explain why we eventually made this decision, how it will
affect users, and when.

[[!toc]]

# When will this transition happen?

Our current goal is to release Tails 3.0, and stop supporting
computers with a 32-bit processor, on **June 13, 2017**.

# Will Tails still work on this computer?

Here is the quickest way to find out:

1. Start Tails.
1. Choose <span class="menuchoice"><span class="guimenu">Applications</span>&nbsp;▸
   <span class="guisubmenu">Utilities</span>&nbsp;▸
   <span class="guimenuitem">Terminal</span></span> to open a terminal.
1. Execute the following command to display system information:

           uname -m

1. Then, there are two possible cases:

   * If you see `x86_64`, then you're good: Tails 3.0 should work fine
     on this computer. But the best way to be 100% sure is to try one
     of the test versions of Tails 3.0. One was released last
     November, and a new one should be published later this week, so:
     stay tuned!

   * Else, if you see `i686`, then we have bad news: Tails 3.0 will
     *not* work on this computer. You now have four and a half months
     to find a computer with a 64-bit processor. Sorry, and good luck
     with that!

# Why this change?

It's no surprise that over the last years, the number of people who
use Tails on a 32-bit computer
[[!tails_ticket 8183 desc="has dropped"]]: most 32-bit computers are
at least ten years old, and one after the other their hardware stops
working. As a result, in the beginning of 2016,
[[!toggle id="stats" text="only 4%"]] of Tails users
were still using a 32-bit computer.

[[!toggleable id="stats" text="""These statistics are gathered from bug reports we have received from [[WhisperBack|doc/first_steps/bug_reporting#whisperback]]."""]]

Of course, some of these computers
will keep working for a while. But once the number had fallen this
low, the benefits of switching Tails to 64-bit outweighed the reasons
we had to keep supporting 32-bit computers.

We had two main reasons to switch Tails to 64-bit:

* **We want Tails users to be safer**: software built for 64-bit
  processors can benefit from several improvements that make it harder
  for attackers to exploit security vulnerabilities (improved
  [[!wikipedia Address space layout randomization]],
  compulsory support for the [[!wikipedia NX bit]]).

* **We want to our project to be (more) sustainable**: Tails has been
  using a 64-bit Linux kernel for a while on machines that support it.
  But all other programs included in Tails so far were built for
  32-bit processors, and compatibility issues kept arising. In the
  last few years, the developers who maintain Tails have spent lots of
  time addressing such issues. We would rather see them spend their
  time in ways that benefit our users on the long term, and not on
  problems that will vanish when Tails switches to 64-bit eventually.

Thanks for your attention, and sorry for the inconvenience it may
cause to you.