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I want to run bitcoin core on my laptop, but I don't have enough disk space to do the initial blockchain download. Can I put the datadir on an external hard drive? How would that work? If I did that, whenever I want to run bitcoin core would I need to wait for the blockchain to sync back up again every time? Is there a better way to run bitcoin core on a laptop with limited disk space? Thanks.

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4 Answers 4

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Can I put the datadir on an external hard drive?

Yes

How would that work?

By configuration. Either directly by using a text editor on 'bitcoin.conf' or by using the menus in the GUI (bitcoin-qt)

If I did that, whenever I want to run bitcoin core would I need to wait for the blockchain to sync back up again every time?

No

Is there a better way to run bitcoin core on a laptop with limited disk space?

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If you do not want to configure more storage but still want to run a node you may choose to use pruning.

Pruning as documented in the default bitcoind bitcoin.conf:

Reduce storage requirements by enabling pruning (deleting) of old
blocks. This allows the pruneblockchain RPC to be called to
delete specific blocks and enables automatic pruning of old blocks if a target size in MiB is provided. This mode is
incompatible with -txindex. Warning: Reverting this setting
requires re-downloading the entire blockchain. (default: 0 =
disable pruning blocks, 1 = allow manual pruning via RPC, >=550 =
automatically prune block files to stay under the specified
target size in MiB)
prune=<n>
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Is there a better way to run bitcoin core on a laptop with limited disk space?

If you install the latest version of GUI Bitcoin-qt, as of this time version 25.0., on the welcome screen it asks if you want to use default location for blockchain data. You can change it.

Also, it asks if you want to limit the space of blockchain data. You can specify the amount in Gbs. This is modifiable later, as RedGrittyBrick wrote earlier.

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I strongly recommend setting it up this way. It not only accelerates the synchronization process but also alleviates the load on the drive housing the operating system. I would advocate for external SSD instead of HDD to not wait too long time for the initial synchronization completion.

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  • Include the following entries in the bitcoin.conf file. dbcache = <M> * where M equals to 1/4 RAM, for instance if you RAM = 8Gb then dbcache=2048 blocksonly=1 bitcoin.org/en/full-node#reduce-maximum-connections * this will increase the sync speed as it disables node listening and "stop requesting and relaying transactions unless they are part of the block". datadir=<path to directory on external drive where Bitcoin Core will keep its data> * For instance my path looks like this datadir=F:/ BitcoinData. BitcoinDta is fungible
    – Mani T
    Oct 8, 2023 at 3:19

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