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I set up my bitcoin client to run on the testnet network, where I can presumably mine test bitcoins in a reasonable amount of time using only a laptop CPU.

./bitcoin-qt -testnet -gen

Using top I can see that bitcoin-qt is using a lot of CPU. This leads me to think that it is mining for bitcoins. However, how can I know for sure that it really is? There does not appear to be any indicator in the GUI to show that mining is in process.

If my client eventually does find some bitcoins, will they appear in my wallet? Will they appear in the transactions log?

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How do I know if my bitcoin client is mining?

Help > Debug window > Console > Type "gethashespersec"

If my client eventually does find some bitcoins, will they appear in my wallet? Will they appear in the transactions log?

Yep.

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