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A friend gave me a few bitcoins a number of years ago. Yesterday, I read an article about bitcoin and it reminded me I had some. I went online to check the value and to possibly spend them. I tried to access my wallet and since I haven't checked in a long time, it is taking forever to synchronize with the network. I left it on all night and now my macbook's storage is full. It's a real problem for me, as I need to work and don't want to a lot of other stuff at the moment. How do I get out of this mess? I have no sophistication whatsoever. I can't program or do anything fancy. I regret this situation and would rather just delete the app but I think there's some real value there and don't want to screw up my wallet. What do I do??? Help!

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    Save the wallet.dat file; you can delete everything else. You can import the wallet file later into another installation on a machine with more disk space, or into a different wallet application that doesn't need to download the entire block chain. – Nate Eldredge Sep 6 '17 at 13:51
  • Thanks, Nate. I can't even find the wallet.dat or other bitcoin related files, that's how pathetic I am. – Mary M Sep 6 '17 at 16:54
  • But indeed -- I found it. It was hidden in ~/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin. Sorry to bother you – Mary M Sep 6 '17 at 17:01
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The answer is in sync with Natan... Looks like you are on a Mac. At first: make a copy and save it. When you open bitcoin client with this wallet.dat file, even if it not sync'd, you can see your address. Type this address (it usually starts with a 1 and is about 30 chars long) into blockchain.info, to see if there are funds on this address. If so, it is good to later on download the blockchain, and free up your space now to continue to work. Later on you have two options: either extend your HDD space, to download the whole blockchain (which takes a lot of time, better to have an SDD and a decent Mac, older Macs with Duo or i5 will take several days...), or better approach try to extract the privkey, and load it into another wallet. But then you are already at a sophisticated level, and I am not sure if you are willing (to invest time) to go this route. So a bit up to you, how to invest your time :-)

  • Extracting the private keys is bad advice for somebody that states they are not experienced and worried about making mistakes. Much better to just move wallet.dat to a machine with more space. – Adam Millerchip Dec 6 '17 at 1:55
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Probably the safest thing is to move the wallet.dat file to a machine with more space. I wrote an answer to another question for how to do this on OSX.

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You may enable pruned mode on your blockchain storage by setting the following line in your bitcoin.conf

# Reduce storage requirements by only storing most recent N MiB of block. This mode is incompatible with -txindex and -rescan. WARNING: Reverting this setting requires re-downloading the entire blockchain. (default: 0 = disable pruning blocks, 1 = allow manual pruning via RPC, greater than 550 = automatically prune blocks to stay under target size in MiB).
prune=10237

Bitcoin Core will automatically prune the blockchain storage back to the amount specified.

Regardless, always keep a secure up-to-date backup of your wallet.dat

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