I am new to bitcoin, I wander what are the differences, and pros/cons (if any) between the file generated by bitcoin-qt when clicking on "backup wallet" vs copying the file "wallet.dat"? I see these files are indeed different with "cmp" so I am assuming that there are differences between these files. Can one of these files recover all of the information in the other?

EDIT: after a few backups I noticed that if I close the wallet, and then wait a few minutes. A backup at this moment equals the wallet.dat file.

1 Answer 1


Maybe its copying it safely in a way that you can re-use it without any issues.

Update and lock the wallet, preventing any file corruption caused by updates during the copy

Luke Dashjr mentioned one of the reasons here: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/18219#issuecomment-595010266

  • Thanks. This does not explain why the backup is different than the wallet.dat file after shutdown if no changes have been made to the wallet. These files are certainly different and are supposed to carry the same information. I just want to know why they are different Sep 3, 2020 at 0:52
  • can you share results of cmp?
    – user103136
    Sep 3, 2020 at 1:08
  • /path/to/wallet.dat /path/to/wallet-backup.dat differ: byte 33, line 1 These are encrypted wallets. Won't provide an hexdump. Sep 3, 2020 at 17:54

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