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My primary PC died last month due to what I believe is a motherboard error. My EVGA board displays "FF". The fans, drives, everything powers up as usual. But I don't hear any beep, no POST, no BIOS, just nothing.

Since then I've taken up residence on a box much more modest than what I'm used to, but I've used it as an opportunity to learn Linux. Nothing like jumping in head first.

Luckily I have a backup wallet.dat file taken at some point after my last known transaction. I changed the filename of the file in the directory, then renamed my backup as wallet.dat and loaded up Bitcoin Core on Linux Mint 13 Maya.

It was partially successful. I could view and export a list of every transaction I've ever made with my desktop wallet. I opened my CSV file in Calc and found the total sum of transactions left the balance equal to what I remember last having in the wallet.

However, the wallet has no balance and all the transactions have a "conflicted" status. Do I need to download the blockchain first? Is it worth my time to download bootstrap.dat?

After my funds are accessible in Bitcoin Core, how do I then move them to Electrum?

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You can also import the wallet.dat directly into Electrum. Bitcoin Core needs to download the whole chain (as you mentioned) so that'll take a while. Without the chain, your transaction are indeed illegal/conflicted. Since you have the wallet, you can just install Electrum and import it there. Electrum doesn't need to download the chain, so your balance would be visible (and accessible, even more important) immediately.

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The best way to switch to Electrum is to send all the bitcoins you have on your old wallet to one of the addresses on your Electrum wallet. This way you'll have all your bitcoins secured with your seed.

You could import the private keys from your old client, but you will have to keep a backup of those keys separately as they won't become part of your Electrum seed.

https://electrum.org/tutorials.html#switching-to-electrum

  • I downloaded bootstrap.dat and placed it in ~/.bitcoin. After loading Bitcoin Core, it began importing blocks from disk and has been importing ever since.<br>I can use the command line to extract the private keys from Bitcoin Core. – RasterVector May 14 '14 at 22:24
  • I tried the instructions for switching. The example they gave was for OS X, but under Linux I ran electrum -w ~/path/to/wallet.dat. It says File "/path/to/wallet.py", line 123, in read raise IOError("Cannot read wallet file."). Any thoughts? – RasterVector May 14 '14 at 22:51
  • Unless you're going to wait for the blocks to be synchronized from the beginning you better export the private keys, import them to Electrum, go to the Send tab, in amount hit ! (exclamation) key and send to one of your Electrum addresses. Make sure you have the Seed properly written in paper and in a safe place. – rdymac May 15 '14 at 5:45

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