I have made a few major mistakes and am making a last ditch effort to recover my bitcoins. I had a wallet.dat file on a previous installation of windows, after reformatting (with no previous back up, I know I know...) I realized my mistake and immediately attempted to recover the wallet.dat file with Recurva. Recurva listed the file as "excellent" condition.

When attempting to open the file in the bitcoin client, I receive the error:

"Wallet corrupted - salvage failed".

The wallet is encrypted, the password is known.

I have attempted to do a wallet dump using pywallet, however, I always receive the error:

ERROR:root:Couldn't open wallet.dat/main. Try quitting Bitcoin and running this again.

The command I am running:

python pywallet.py --passphrase=mypassphrasehere --datadir=C:\path\to\recovered\wallet --dumpwallet

I am unable to find any more resources for getting around this error - I do not have bitcoin running (even after a restart), and I am referencing a wallet that is outside of the bitcoin data directory (and also tried having the default path with bitcoin not running)

Has anyone else run into this issue? Should I assume the wallet file is corrupt and cut my loses? I've exhausted my google fu and can not seem to find any other steps to recover this wallet.

  • As your wallet is encrypted, the slightest change will make it broken. Your file may say excellent but that does not mean perfect (I presume)
    – MaxSan
    Nov 12, 2013 at 12:58
  • upvoted: i had a 2012 wallet without encryption backed up cleanly from core 0.3.21 and had the same error "ERROR:root:Couldn't open wallet.dat/main. Try quitting Bitcoin and running this again." Feb 13, 2016 at 6:00

2 Answers 2


You should try to recover the wallet.dat with a different data recovery tool, I have good experiences using GetDataBack and PhotoRec. GetDataBack lets you choose different backups/versions of the file system, try all of them.


It might be a file ownership issue. Are you logging in with the same username and passwd as on the previous installation of windows?

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