OK, my most immediate concern is that I made three ~$500 bitcoin purchases this weekend and downloaded the Bitcoin-Qt client, but ran out of HDD space just before it finished synchronizing the BlockChain, and now I don't even know what my BTC balance is, if my value is lost, or what.

Now I don't know what to do.

I was at least bright enough to have made a screen print of the three bitcoin addresses from the client and also of my BitInstant orders (while they show the destination address and $ amounts paid/recieved, they don't list the amount of bitcoin I assume and hope that I received), but I can't find my private keys in the client, though it appears that I am able to Send Coins from the tab of that name.

I don't even know what my total amount of bitcoin is since Bitcoin-Qt hasn't finished synch-ing up, and I'm just sort of stuck without either bitcoin or fiat since my HDD is down to only ~200MB left with 1,746 blocks remaining.

What should I do?

I read that the Multibit and Electrum wallets seem to need less computer resources, so I was thinking/hoping that I could maybe transfer my bitcoin to one of those wallets, or maybe to the StrongCoin online wallet or other secure recommendation as an interim step, but I don't even know the precise quantity of bitcoin that I should have in my bitcoin addresses, or if I can even send them without knowing my private keys.

  • I use Electrum and like it. It does not download the blockchain, instead it connects to a server which has the blockchain on it. Electrum then asks the server for information you need about the current blockchain. It also gives you a secret "seed" which all addresses are created from deterministically. So if you loose everything, you can go to ANY computer download Electrum and input your seed, and it finds your BTC!!!! because every Electrum makes addresses the same way for each seed.
    – KDecker
    Mar 26, 2013 at 18:38
  • I'm heading the same way. I'll be buying a bigger ssd and then making a clone of the drive, once swapped round I should be able to log in as normal, open bit-chain and continue synchronizing... hope this help all those who are potentially loosing big...
    – user26694
    May 28, 2015 at 21:10

4 Answers 4


If you know what bitcoin address your bitcoins are coming to (and you should know if you expect to get your bitcoins), you can lookup balance on blockchain.info like this:


replace your-address with your actual bitcoin address, for example here some random address i found:


  • I wanted to thank umnik700 and the others who provided useful answers, and to update those who care about the resolution of my plight. I don't know how or why it happened, but I checked my HDD's Properties, and it had ~3.1GB of free space, not the ~200MB that it had yesterday, so I started Bitcoin-Qt and synched the final blocks (WT*?!? — I have no idea, but I'll take it!). Thanks again for helping me to get this little hiccough sorted. Mar 26, 2013 at 22:35
  • I am glad it worked out for you Mar 27, 2013 at 4:30

As umnik700 correctly mentions, you can use blockchain.info or blockexplorer.com to see balanced of a Bitcoin address.

Use URLs like these:

With the past after the last slash being your address.

You can also use online wallets that do not require you to sync the whole Bitcoin block chain. Blockchain.info's My Wallet is the most popular and a very same one. My Wallet also supports importing wallet.dat files from your Bitcoin-Qt client. (If you need your private keys, you can find them through My Wallet as well after importing the wallet.dat, but obviously if you only need the private keys, there are other ways than importing.)

Also first make sure the bitcoins you bought are send to your account already. Most exchanges keep your Bitcoin balance with them until you chose to withdraw them to your address.


As others have pointed out, you don't need access to your key to know how much BTC you have. blockchain and other services can tell you what your balance is, as long as you know what your address is.

You only need access to your wallet to spend bitcoins.


So you bought $1500 worth of Bitcoins, before you had a place to store them? I think most exchanges require a wallet address before exchanging USD/BTC, so not sure how you did that.

If somehow you have BTC coming to the Qt wallet that has/can not downloaded the blockchain, your S.O.L. until you get that blockchain. You need that chain for your wallet to even realize it has BTC in it. I don't think it will generate addresses before it has the blockchain... (might be wrong).

So it looks like you need to start deleting stuff from your HDD to make room or loose $1500....

Or you can have the BTC sent to me, I am a great escrow until that wallet gets the chain....

  • No, I had already installed Bitcoin-QT, it was synchronizing but it gave me the first address, so I bought the first $500, saw it reflected in the wallet (I saw the amount the ~6.7 BTC, but can't find it again), so made the other two $500 buys thinking that everything was fine, and now my HDD is out of space and it looks like I'm screwed. Mar 26, 2013 at 19:06
  • So you downloaded bitcoin-QT, fully updated with the current blockchain, bought 6.7btc, saw it. Idled, wanted more like the rest of us, bought more btc, opened Qt, waited for sync, never sunc because of space issue? Sounds like delete some files, and reopen Qt and you should be fine?
    – KDecker
    Mar 26, 2013 at 19:12

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