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I recently found an old wallet.dat file on an ancient computer running Debian GNU/Linux. The file might be as old as 2012 or 2013. These are the outputs of "lscpu" and and "lshw -short" respectively:

Architecture:        x86_64
CPU op-mode(s):      32-bit, 64-bit
Byte Order:          Little Endian
Address sizes:       36 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
CPU(s):              2
On-line CPU(s) list: 0,1
Thread(s) per core:  1
Core(s) per socket:  2
Socket(s):           1
NUMA node(s):        1
Vendor ID:           GenuineIntel
CPU family:          6
Model:               23
Model name:          Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU     E8400  @ 3.00GHz
Stepping:            10
CPU MHz:             1998.504
CPU max MHz:         2997.0000
CPU min MHz:         1998.0000
BogoMIPS:            5995.51
Virtualization:      VT-x
L1d cache:           32K
L1i cache:           32K
L2 cache:            6144K
NUMA node0 CPU(s):   0,1
Flags:               fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl cpuid aperfmperf pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx smx est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm sse4_1 xsave lahf_lm pti tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority dtherm


H/W path               Device      Class          Description
=============================================================
                                   system         OEM
/0                                 bus            G31MX Series
/0/0                               memory         128KiB BIOS
/0/4                               processor      Intel(R) Core(TM)2
/0/4/8                             memory         32KiB L1 cache
/0/24                              memory         4GiB System Memory
/0/24/0                            memory         2GiB DIMM Synchron
/0/24/1                            memory         2GiB DIMM Synchron
/0/100                             bridge         82G33/G31/P35/P31 
/0/100/1                           bridge         82G33/G31/P35/P31 
/0/100/1/0                         display        GF119 [GeForce GT 
/0/100/1/0.1                       multimedia     GF119 HDMI Audio C
/0/100/1b                          multimedia     NM10/ICH7 Family H
/0/100/1c                          bridge         NM10/ICH7 Family P
/0/100/1c.1                        bridge         NM10/ICH7 Family P
/0/100/1c.1/0          eth1        network        RTL8111/8168/8411 
/0/100/1d                          bus            NM10/ICH7 Family U
/0/100/1d/1            usb1        bus            UHCI Host Controll
/0/100/1d.1                        bus            NM10/ICH7 Family U
/0/100/1d.1/1          usb2        bus            UHCI Host Controll
/0/100/1d.1/1/1                    input          USB Multimedia Key
/0/100/1d.2                        bus            NM10/ICH7 Family U
/0/100/1d.2/1          usb3        bus            UHCI Host Controll
/0/100/1d.3                        bus            NM10/ICH7 Family U
/0/100/1d.3/1          usb4        bus            UHCI Host Controll
/0/100/1d.3/1/1                    input          USB Optical Mouse
/0/100/1d.7                        bus            NM10/ICH7 Family U
/0/100/1d.7/1          usb5        bus            EHCI Host Controll
/0/100/1e                          bridge         82801 PCI Bridge
/0/100/1f                          bridge         82801GB/GR (ICH7 F
/0/100/1f.1                        storage        82801G (ICH7 Famil
/0/100/1f.2            scsi2       storage        NM10/ICH7 Family S
/0/100/1f.2/0.0.0      /dev/sda    disk           2TB WDC WD20EARX-0
/0/100/1f.2/0.0.0/1    /dev/sda1   volume         1855GiB EXT4 volum
/0/100/1f.2/0.0.0/2    /dev/sda2   volume         7934MiB Extended p
/0/100/1f.2/0.0.0/2/5  /dev/sda5   volume         7934MiB Linux swap
/0/100/1f.2/0.1.0      /dev/cdrom  disk           CDDVDW SH-S223Q
/0/100/1f.3                        bus            NM10/ICH7 Family S
/0/1                               system         PnP device PNP0c02
/0/2                               system         PnP device PNP0b00
/0/3                               storage        PnP device PNP0700
/0/5                               communication  PnP device PNP0501
/0/6                               printer        PnP device PNP0400
/0/7                               system         PnP device PNP0c02
/0/8                               system         PnP device PNP0c02
/0/9                               system         PnP device PNP0c01
/1                     docker0     network        Ethernet interface

I would like to rescue everything from this file including all coins that might have resulted from later forks, such as Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, etc... and I would like to do that on this ancient machine. What would be the easiest, most secure and most efficient way to achieve this? Thank you very much for your help in advance. It's highly appreciated.

1 Answer 1

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If you can run Bitcoin Core on your machine, the simplest way would be to move the wallet file into your .bitcoin/wallet/ directory and try to load the wallet, either using bitcoin-cli or Bitcoin-Qt GUI. If the wallet was encrypted with a passphrase, you will need to know the passphrase.

If you need a more specific solution, I'd recommend searching here on Bitcoin Stack Exchange as this topic has been covered for a variety of scenarios.

Regarding recovering coins from forks, I'm afraid that will be specific to each fork.

As always, please exercise extreme caution and don't give the wallet.dat file to anyone, even if they are offering to help.

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  • 3
    I would recommend to start by sending the Bitcoin to a new wallet as the vast majority of the value is in the bitcoins. Then, you’ll likely need to sync a client of each fork. You could probably short cut that a bit by syncing the bitcoin node to right before the Bcash fork height, stopping it there, and making a backup of that chainstate. Then you could use that as the starting point to sync a client of each respective client.
    – Murch
    Jan 30, 2023 at 19:30

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