After all that has happened I think its cristal clear for anyone that its important not to trust 3rd parties to store bitcoins. Some complained that it was hard for non-geeks to safely store bitcoins, which was true (until now). So I asked drgr33n to provide an easy way to create a bootable usb with LinuxCoin and he did. If anyone wants to thank him for his amazing work send tips to drgr33n's address: 1AsY8kT5a3UTkzQ8WjocpfQasGf81ZmAeK
So what is a bootable usb? It is a usb that you will insert before you start the computer. When you computer starts it will boot from the USB and not from the hardrive. In fact, it wont even touch or modify your hardrive in any way. Once you are done, you shut off your computer, remove the usb, and restart it as always. This way you will have a isolated system that you should only use to receive and send bitcoins avoiding interactions that could infect your computer with a virus that steals bitcoins or any other problem that your computer might have.
This system is intended for you to store your long term savings. What I do is I keep a wallet in my computer with the bitcoins I spend monthly and then the wallet in the usb with my long term bitcoin savings, that I only access when I need to transfer funds to my day to day wallet. Obviously, you can find alternative uses.
So here we go:
[At the moment, only for windows. For general instructions go here
First, you need a usb flash drive of at least 2Gb
(4Gb minum recommended). It should be formatted as FAT32, that is what most drives are formatted by default. If you want to make sure just follow this guide
to format the drive again. (remember to select FAT32 as file system).
Also, you need to download the program that will help you create the bootable usb from here.
Its a modified version of unetbootin. You need to run the program you just downloaded as administrator. On Windows XP just double click and accept when prompted. On other window versions, like Windows 7, you need to right click and select run as administrator.
Then you will see something like this:
In this program you need to do 4 things to create the bootable usb.
- 1. You need to select LinuxCoin as the distribution from the list. It will automatically select the 0.2-final version.
- 2. You need to select the size of the persintance drive. This is the space that LinuxCoin will use in the usb drive to save and store files, like it would in a normal hard drive. The size is specified in MB so if you want to select 1GB you should select 1024, 2GB is 2048, 4GB is 4096 and so on. Remeber to leave 1 GB for LinuxCoin. For example, if your USB is 2GB you want to have a 1 GB persitance, so LinuxCoin can be stored in the other GB left. Dont worry too much though because unetbootin should automatically adjust the size if you entered an invalid one.
- 3. Select the usb drive that you want to use. If you have only 1 usb drive inserted it should be selected automatically.
- 4. Click OK! You are done. It will take its time. It has to download LinuxCoin (over 700MB), copy it to the usb and create the persitant drive. All together it can take more than one hour. You can use the time to browse the rest of the forum to learn more about Bitcoin and get to know this great community. Dont worry if it seems stuck at some point, creating the persistant drive can take long and the interface might not respond for a while. Just let it finish.
If you want to test your new LinuxCoin system, restart the computer. If your BIOS is not configured to boot from a usb drive you will need to do so. We can not help you here since each computer is different and there is nothing we can do to make it easier for you. If you are having problems, ask in this thread or use Google for help.
What to do now?
Once you boot from the usb you will first see a menu with blue background and Unetbootin as title. There will be a 10s countdown. You can let that finish or select Default. Either way LinuxCoin will start to load. The load screen has a pinguin (Tux, the linux mascot) with a Bitcoin coin. LinuxCoin is quick to boot but remember that you are booting from a usb and they are slow compared to hard drives. It depends on the speed of your computer and the usb drive but it should take less than 1 minute. Once LinuxCoin has finished loading, you will see a simple desktop.
The Bitcoin software is already installed. Open the main menu (left bottom, a Bitcoin coin), go to Accesories and select "secure bitcoin wallet". Wait for a bit for the client to load. Now you have a new Bitcoin wallet with new addresses where you can send the coins you want to store. Before sending any coins you should backup your wallet (this is true for any Bitcoin wallet). The usb could get corrupted or you could lose or damage it. To backup the wallet, you need to copy the file wallet.dat located at /home/user/.bitcoin/ (note de dot before bitcoin) to whatever media you choose (a cd, another usb drive, encrypted in the cloud, ...). I personally backup my wallet.dat twice in cd.
It is recommended that you use it only to store bitcoins and dont browse the web or anything from that system, since you are always increasing the risk of being infected. If you like LinuxCoin and like to use it to browse the web, have two different system in two different usb drives.
Any doubts or suggestions welcome. If you find LinuxCoin useful remember to tip drgr33n: 1AsY8kT5a3UTkzQ8WjocpfQasGf81ZmAeK