I am a novice, running Ubuntu 18.04LTS.

Tor Browser ran flawlessly, until the last update. From that point on, I would click on the launcher, and at best, 15 minutes later, a window would pop up saying that Tor needs to be downloaded and installed. Even after it was installed, I would click on the icons, and the browser wouldn't start.

If I checked to see that Tor was installed, misc commands via the terminal would say that Tor was indeed installed - yet Tor didn't work.

I wound up reinstalling the OS (due to an unrelated issue), and I am encountering the same problem. I purged the laptop of Tor, and reinstalled Tor, with no improvement. I have downloaded Tor via the website, and I have also downloaded Tor through the installation prompts (via Tor launcher), to no avail.

TIA for any help or assistance.

  • Okay...I thought that I was all set, but here's where I am now at: Before the above fix, clicking on the Tor icon did nothing. Now I click on the icon, and a window pops up, giving me the choice to reinstall Tor. If I click "save and exit," nothing happens. If I reinstall Tor, Tor reinstalls, and then correctly starts (though unfortunately, my prior settings/bookmarks are erased). If I click on the Tor browser icon, nothing happens. For the time being, I clicking on the Tor launcher icon, and reinstalling Tor every time I want to use it.
    – NDL
    Jul 21, 2019 at 20:31

1 Answer 1


I had exactly the same problem after updating Tor Browser. I found a file at ~/.local/share/torbrowser/tbb/x86_64/tor-browser_en-US/start-tor-browser.desktop (~ is an abbreviation for /home/your-username). ~/.local/ folder is a hidden folder. To toggle show/hide hidden files and folders press the keyboard combination Ctrl+H or click the three horizontal lines icon in the upper right corner of Files application and put a checkmark next to the Show Hidden Files option. When I right-clicked this file and selected Open, Tor Browser opened successfully.


Then I used the information in Properties -> Basic tab -> Command: of the start-tor-browser.desktop file to update my Tor Browser launcher so that I could open Tor Browser as usual by clicking on its icon in the Dash.

If this happens again I'm going to check the start-tor-browser.desktop file again to see if it works, because apparently Tor Browser updates only the start-tor-browser.desktop file, but it does not update the Tor Browser icon that you can find in the Dash. This Tor Browser launcher must be updated manually.

The desktop launcher for Tor Browser is located at /usr/share/applications/torbrowser.desktop. To change the properties of the Tor Browser desktop launcher requires sudo. Open the terminal and type:

sudo nano '/usr/share/applications/torbrowser.desktop'

If your Ubuntu username is user change the line in torbrowser.desktop that starts with Exec= to:

Exec=sh -c '"/home/user/.local/share/torbrowser/tbb/x86_64/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/start-tor-browser" --detach || ([ !  -x "/home/user/.local/share/torbrowser/tbb/x86_64/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/start-tor-browser" ] && "$(dirname "$*")"/Browser/start-tor-browser --detach)' dummy %k

Because nano text editor does not support line wrapping you will need to use the arrow keys to move the mouse cursor to the end of the line to make sure that you copied the entire line correctly before you save the changes that you made to torbrowser.desktop.

The instructions for using nano editor are always found at the bottom of every page. The only two nano keyboard shortcuts that you need to know are for WriteOut and Exit. Press the keyboard combination Ctrl+O and after that press Enter to save the file being edited. Press the keyboard combination Ctrl+X to exit nano.

  • Karel, I thank you for both your time, an for your clear directions. The thing is - and believe me, I spent quite a bit of time looking before posting this - I do not have a .local folder, anywhere. Do you have any ideas?
    – NDL
    Jul 21, 2019 at 18:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.