Back in 2011 when bitcoin started to make the news, I created a wallet and let it run for a bit (no pun intended). It almost fried my computer so I stopped. In the process, I think I remember I mined 0.05 BTC. Before deleting the app from my Mac, I've saved a file called wallet.dat somewhere.

Today out of curiosity I googled the conversion rate and saw that 0.05BTC are worth about 45 USD.

What can I do to recover that file? I've opened a Coinbase account but I don't see anything about importing files. I'm on Mac OS, if it matters...

EDIT: I've now installed Bitcoin-Qt. I've replaced the wallet.dat file. It says

"wallet out of sync", balance = 0.05BT

It also says "synchronising network" but it's been 15 minutes and the progress bar barely seems to be at 1%.

  • 1
    Hi Nathan, From your description it seems that you successfully imported your wallet. Your Bitcoin-Qt will now download all transaction information and verify it. This process can take several hours, up to a day. Check out synchronization for more info. Alternatively, you can use a thin client (e.g. MultiBit) which doesn't store the whole blockchain, but instead just keeps the unspent balances, they are much faster at synchronizing.
    – Murch
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 11:21
  • I did wait for 2days to sync but it shows 0.00 transaction and 0 bitcoins it give me a new receiving address but not my old one which I have encrypted and I have backed up. When I went to my back up files on both places and tried to open it from there it still does not open my old wallet but only the new one which was given with the re-installation. Do I remove the new installation and do it differently or there is a way that I can replace my new given receiving wallet with my old one. I just can not get it why it is not opening my back up wallet data with my purchased coins in it.
    – desi
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 9:23

1 Answer 1


Bitcoin-Qt is a full p2p network client, so to work, it needs to sync with the network. Basically, it will download every transaction that was done with the currency (~15 GB in total at the moment). Might take one or two days, then you'll be good to go.

  • Is there a faster alternative than Qt to recover my wallet? Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 9:02
  • 2
    Turns out I don't need to wait for full sync to use my coins! I've managed to transfer the coins to coinbase. Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 9:07

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