my brother died recently sadly.
on his computer we found a wallet.dat file. It was backed up in October 2009.
How would we find out if there is any data or info on it?
The first thing is that October 2009 is really early. Bitcoin was only released in 2009. For this reason, you shouldn’t expect too much. There was not even a price for Bitcoin back then, so it’s possible that your brother attached no value to them. He may have given them. Or he may have simply tried the Bitcoin software but not done any mining. Mining is the only feasible way he could have received any bitcoins back then.
The second thing is to make multiple secure backups of the wallet.dat file before doing anything else. It’s possible something may go wrong with this process, so any coins which may exist could be lost unless backups are performed.
Third, are you sure it’s a Bitcoin wallet.dat file? Unless it was found in a directory related to Bitcoin, it could well belong to an altcoin such as Litecoin. Here’s how to find the data directory for Bitcoin with various operating system:
Fourth, before proceeding with an actual method of extraction, please get back to me on which operating system and device you intend to use. Windows would probably be easiest and if you have a machine which doesn’t connect to any other computers or the internet, that would be perfect to use. My plan is for you to download a very old version of the Bitcoin software (new versions won’t read the wallet file) and restore your brother’s wallet.dat file to that software, before exporting the private keys to a modern wallet.
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