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Author Topic: Reformatted hard drive, realized wallet file not in backed up bitcoin folder  (Read 2045 times)
levitening
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July 01, 2011, 03:11:30 AM
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So, my computer was BSODing regularly, so I decided it was time for a clean install of Windows 7. I backed up the "bitcoin" folder in Program Files, assuming my wallet was located in there...

With a fresh reinstall, I open up the bitcoin program, and viola. 0 BTC.

Any chance of recovering the wallet without spending large amounts of money? The wallet wasn't worth that much, but it does constitute a quarter of my investment, which means there is that much less chance of recovering what I put into GPUs.
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BitQuestr (BitCoinWorldMarket)
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July 01, 2011, 03:17:33 AM
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I have heard a lot of people have had luck with http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm

Otherwise if you don't have another backup your wallet is a goner Sad It hurts, I'm sorry for your loss..

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July 01, 2011, 03:18:13 AM
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Look for data recovery software. Also, I'm sure everyone wants to know how much you lost.

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levitening
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July 01, 2011, 03:25:34 AM
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Considering my "investment" was two 5830s, you can do the math Tongue. I'll check into SpinRite, but it's not the end of the world.
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July 01, 2011, 03:29:09 AM
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Considering my "investment" was two 5830s, you can do the math Tongue. I'll check into SpinRite, but it's not the end of the world.

Spinrite will not recover your data from a reformat, in fact it will likely make any recovery impossible!

Look for Data Recovery software. DO NOT keep working on that PC, each time it writes data to the HD your making it less likely you will recover anything.

You want to work with the drive in read only mode booting off a CD. There are several apps which may get you there. Look for Hiren's. Past that point I will be glad to help but we need to do it outside of chat and I will need some BTC ...
KenJackson
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July 01, 2011, 03:39:53 AM
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With a fresh reinstall, I open up the bitcoin program, and viola. 0 BTC.

This is a argument against bitcoin.  It would be bad enough investing in something like precious metals or rare coins that could be lost, destroyed or stolen.  But this is now the second story I've read about someone that lost money due to hard drive problems.

I'm still lurking and considering.  I'm rooting for bitcoin, but stuff like this scares me.

BTW, both of these stories provide good arguments to use a more secure operating system than Windows.  Like what?  Almost anything available is more secure than Windows.  Ubuntu Linux, Fedora Linux, FreeBSD, OS X, PC-BSD or soon OpenIndiana (or maybe someday even Haiku).

casascius
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July 01, 2011, 04:00:23 AM
 #7

Did you do a full erase of the drive, or reinstall something on top of it? Hope not.

Bitcoins may be recoverable and I know how.

Boot another drive, attach the lost Bitcoin drive as secondary. Download winhex. Open the raw drive (press F9, must run winhex as administrator).  Search entire drive for this byte sequence

01 03 6b 65 79 41 04

Let me know if you find it. If so, bitcoins may be safe.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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July 01, 2011, 04:31:02 AM
 #8

someone needs to make a built in pop-up warning in the bitcoin applications telling ppl to backup their wallet.dat in two different locations everytime the program executes.

Dubs420
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July 01, 2011, 04:45:36 AM
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I use MozyHome free 2GB for my offsite backup plan this way if you ever lose a hard drive or completely melt a system you have a backup still.
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July 01, 2011, 05:11:11 AM
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I use MozyHome free 2GB for my offsite backup plan this way if you ever lose a hard drive or completely melt a system you have a backup still.

Really, ever tested that restore....
TripHammer
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July 01, 2011, 06:08:58 AM
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If you are using an offsite/cloud backup plan make sure that you encrypt the file well before you transfer it!

Just in case Smiley 13AP8mCpruBQVtVWbQgYGSnBgGxe2g8ERe
nipsy
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July 01, 2011, 06:52:03 AM
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or soon OpenIndiana

*laugh*  Are people still waiting for the corpse of OpenSolaris to wake up from the dead and start doing something again?  I like ZFS and all, but using something that is so marginalized at this point seems like a "Bad Idea"™.  I'm not referring to bitcoind specifically.  I just meant as far as operating systems go.

I'd also like to add OpenBSD to your list.  Hell, I'm not even sure bitcoind works on OpenBSD.  From what little searching I just did, it seems like it doesn't yet.  That seems like an oversight since it's always billed as one of the most secure operating systems in existence, out of the box anyway.  Having said that, encfs under FUSE in any Linux still seems like the best way to go for now until the wallet natively supports encrypted private keys.  And even then, it would probably be a good thing to keep it on some kind of encrypted file system.
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July 01, 2011, 07:07:42 AM
 #13

When making your backups of bitcoin, the wallet.dat file is located in the user file, (actual users name), AppData, Roaming, Bitcoin folder.

Contemplating the powers of BitCoin.
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July 01, 2011, 07:35:33 AM
 #14

When making your backups of bitcoin, the wallet.dat file is located in the user file, (actual users name), AppData, Roaming, Bitcoin folder.

Yeah. Imagine upgrading your client and it erasing your wallet? That doesn't happen, but kinda scary thought.

Get your encrypted wallet data file in the cloud, (I love how that's so mainstream now. To the cloud!) Or at least OFF your computer in some form or fashion. 

Also, have TWO "wallets," one for every day use, and one for savings. I do it. And I use boot-from-usb key to do it. And also saved encrypted wallet off the usb key. I put a copy on my web server, on my 8MB SanDisk SD card, lol, and I printed it out in hex. (geek)

My Litecoin address: Lf9WKM61AhmXchG2Ph2cftHKSQhxHutcdk
My Bitcoin address: 1Hwem4GSQWPCtBTKcSpXg2jYwxF6PtTjZx
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KenJackson
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July 01, 2011, 10:24:53 AM
 #15

And also saved encrypted wallet off the usb key. I put a copy on my web server, on my 8MB SanDisk SD card, lol, and I printed it out in hex. (geek)

It does seem wise to back it up multiple place frequently.
Having a cron job do it would also seem wise.

Gabi
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July 01, 2011, 10:30:42 AM
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When making your backups of bitcoin, the wallet.dat file is located in the user file, (actual users name), AppData, Roaming, Bitcoin folder.
Yeah, it's fascinating, the bitcoin client automatically put the wallet.dat very well hidden somewhere in the computer without even telling it to you

And then we wonder why bitcoin is not widespread used?
Bert
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July 01, 2011, 11:54:33 AM
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Maybe add a backup option in the client. You click on backup and it prompts you with which drive do you want to save the wallet.dat as wallet-yyyymmddhhmmss.dat ?
With big red warnings that the backup file is not encrypted,  the same care must be taken with it as with a real life wallet full of cash. And that if you have no backups and your hard drive dies, you have lost your wallet, with little chance of recovering it.

Instead of people magically knowing where to go to find their current wallet.dat file.
Windows: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Bitcoin
(AKA)       %APPDATA%\Bitcoin
Mac      : ~/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin
Unix      : ~/.bitcoin

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PandaMiner
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July 01, 2011, 12:13:35 PM
 #18

Maybe add a backup option in the client. You click on backup and it prompts you with which drive do you want to save the wallet.dat as wallet-yyyymmddhhmmss.dat ?

+1

My Litecoin address: Lf9WKM61AhmXchG2Ph2cftHKSQhxHutcdk
My Bitcoin address: 1Hwem4GSQWPCtBTKcSpXg2jYwxF6PtTjZx
--> Have you tried Triplemining.com? <--
Bitcoinreminder.com
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July 01, 2011, 12:16:47 PM
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Maybe add a backup option in the client. You click on backup and it prompts you with which drive do you want to save the wallet.dat as wallet-yyyymmddhhmmss.dat ?

+1
+2
BkkCoins
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July 01, 2011, 12:30:21 PM
 #20

When making your backups of bitcoin, the wallet.dat file is located in the user file, (actual users name), AppData, Roaming, Bitcoin folder.
Yeah, it's fascinating, the bitcoin client automatically put the wallet.dat very well hidden somewhere in the computer without even telling it to you

And then we wonder why bitcoin is not widespread used?
Many (or most) programs put their data in that area. The idea is that when you do backups you are supposed to backup the whole AppData folder. That way you get all the various data at once and don't have to go searching through places all over the system to get it. It doesn't help much if you don't realize that though.

Another program that may help you find it is TestDisk. But you do need to stop using the disk right away as every disk write potentially is overwriting the sector it could be lingering in.

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