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I've just installed the official bitcoin client for the first time on my PC and have visited a website that gives free bitcoins. I've been waiting for more than an hour, but the amount given to me is still not showing in my bitcoin client. Have I missed anything in setting up and configuring the client software?

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    This was the first problem I encountered when I was new to bitcoin. I believe it's a pretty common problem for first-time users of the bitcoin client. – bastabob Sep 2 '11 at 23:37
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    This is the most common question, incidentally. Answered here. – Stephen Gornick Sep 3 '11 at 0:33
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There are a few things that you should check:

  • Your client is connected (it shows N connections in the status bar). If it doesn't, you have connectivity problems.
  • You have downloaded the whole blockchain (the N blocks in the status bar is not increasing rapidly). You need to wait until you have downloaded all blocks.
  • Blockexplorer can tell you if the payment has been sent to your address. Just type your address in the search box. If it doesn't show up in there, it's because it wasn't sent yet.

These websites give very small amounts of money for free so they usually group transactions (instead of making many small ones). You probably need to wait a while before the payment is sent.

  • How do I know all blocks are downloaded? – bastabob Sep 3 '11 at 0:12
  • @bastabob If you downloaded the whole chain, the number only increases 1 unit every 10 minutes or so. If it is increasing every few seconds, it means that the blockchain isn't fully downloaded yet. You can also go to blockexplorer and see if the number of the last block matches the number of downloaded blocks. – nmat Sep 3 '11 at 0:39
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As nmat said, plus you can be sure you have the entire block chain loaded by checking Bitcoin Watch and confirming that you have the same number of blocks it shows as the current block count.

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