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It’s been some months since I last used Tor on this machine, so I’m not sure what caused the following problem:

vidalia-error-dialogue

vidalia-error-logs

Tor itself seemed to be running fine, but Vidalia couldn’t authenticate itself with the Tor daemon. First, kill the process entirely:
#killall tor

Open file /etc/tor/torrc using nano, and look for the following line:
#HashedControlPassword 16:872860B76453A77D60CA2BB8C1A7042072093276A3D701AD684053EC4C

We want to remove the hash value entirely, then save the file for now. A replacement password hash is generated with the following command:
#tor --hash-password mypassword

This value is copied into the config file where the previous one was removed. Un-comment the ‘#HashedControlPassword‘ and the ‘#ControlPort 9051‘ lines, then save the file.

Tor must be restarted for the changes to be effected:
#/etc/init.d/tor restart

Then start Vidalia under the user account, and not as the root user. It might take a few minutes for the client to complete the authentication process.

Other Things
If you’ve looked at the other solutions proposed on the Web, there’s a chance you might have changed a few other things. Open /etc/default/tor, and ensure the following option exists:
RUN_DAEMON="yes"

Whenever a process exits unexpectedly, it’s usually resolved by starting it again as root. The opposite was the case with Vidalia – this should be run under the normal user account.

Most people would use the Tor Browser with everything set up already, but others would install Tor separately and configure their browsers whenever they use Tor. If the latter is the case, remember to change the browser to connect through localhost on port 9050 or 9051.
Thehe DNS lookup also needs changing in order to resolve .onion addresses. Since the Tor Browser has this pre-configured anyway, I may as well reveal how to do this manually: in the about:config settings for Firefox, double-click the following entry to change the value to ‘true’:
network.proxy.socks_remote_dns;false

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