How to Create a Secure Bitcoin Wallet

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This is a guide to making a completely secure Bitcoin Wallet wallet you keep on a thumb drive. The reason it is so secure is that we will be using Ubuntu to create a boot-able operating system to avoid any malware, spyware, or viruses. We are doing it this way because there are programs out there that try to steal your Bitcoin Wallet. There are online wallets that you can use but I highly suggest you only use those for day to day transactions and you keep a separate wallet for your savings account.

Before we get started you will need 1 or 2 Thumb Drives (will go into detail on why you may need 2 later). They don’t have to be big. I bought my 2 Gb drives for 5 dollars each. Once you have that, we can get started.

The Operating system for your Secure Bitcoin Wallet will be Ubuntu. Don’t be scared if you’ve only used Windows your whole life. I will be walking you through this step-by-step.

Go to the Ubuntu Download Page and click the download option on the right of the screen. Make sure you save it to a place you will remember because we will be needing it later. You can also download this from a torrent site if you know how. If you are unfamiliar with torrents just download it from the link above.

Now we need to make a boot-able thumb drive. Lucky for us, there is easy to use software that does this for us. Go to the USB Installer Page and download the usb installer program. This program will make is so you can boot from a usb drive. Once it’s downloaded, run the program and extract it to a folder you will remember. I would suggest using your download folder and then creating a new folder called “USBinstaller” so you remember where it is. Once it’s unzipped, go to that folder and run the software.

Select Ubuntu for step 1. It should be the top option on the drop down menu. Then you click the browse button and you select the Ubuntu download from earlier (remember when I told you to remember where you saved it to?). Then select your usb thumb drive. If you plug it in and it doesn’t show up, leave it plugged in and restart the program and it should be there. Then all you have to do is click create and let it run. It shouldn’t take too long but it will be a minute or two. Here is what mine looked like.

**Before you continue make sure that you remember our address startbitcoin.com so you can come back and finish the tutorial.  **

***Read the following couple paragraphs before booting from Ubuntu ***

Now that we have a Boot-able version of Ubuntu, we need use it. Keep the thumb drive plugged in and restart your computer. If it doesn’t automatically start Ubuntu, you may have to hit the Esc or Del key as your computer is booting up. The next part is very important. ** Do not install Ubuntu. Select “Run Ubuntu from USB Drive” from the screen that pops up. The security of this method comes from making sure you have a fresh Operating System every time you want to access your wallet so you aren’t keeping any information that might be malicious.

Once Ubuntu is running, go ahead and connect to the internet. If you use a hardwired Ethernet connection (actually have a cable running into your computer from your modem or router) this should be done for you already. If not click the wireless button on the top right of the screen, select your router and enter in your password.

Now we need to download the Bitcoin client and start a new wallet. Go to the official Bitcoin Homepage and remember that you are using Linux now. So don’t download the Windows edition. I always unzip the file to my downloads folder but it doesn’t matter, just remember where you extract it to. Once extracted go to your download folder and open Bin>32> and then open the Bitcoin icon. This will open the Bitcoin App. Now close it. The only reason that we opened it was to create a wallet.dat file.

The next step is to make is so we can see the hidden files on the computer. Open your file explorer (looks like a house on a folder at the top of the menu to the left), move your mouse to the top left of the monitor. You should see a familiar menu now including file, edit and more. Click edit and then preferences. See Below –

At the top of the window that just popped up an option to view hidden files. Select OK and the window should close. Now in file explorer click Ubuntu on the top left of the window and  you should be able to see a folder named “.bitcoin”.

Go ahead and open that and there is your wallet.dat file. Right click it and copy it.

Now while still in your file explorer you can select your other USB drive from the left side of that window. Right click and paste your wallet.dat file onto your USB drive. Now you have a secure wallet that is safe from malware and viruses.

When you want to access your wallet you will boot Ubuntu and install Bitcoin like you did before, but this you will want to copy the wallet.dat file from the usb drive and paste it into the .bitcoin folder and you are good to go.

Make sure that you do not overwrite your wallet.dat file and I would recommend making more then 1 thumb drive just in case something happens to your main. Some people recommend encrypting your thumb drive but I would recommend hiding it in a safe place… like a safe. If you have enough Bitcoins where you would suffer a serious loss, I would go with a safety deposit box.

If you have found this tutorial helpful – Donate to 1G1ehppEgjiFTUSHFz2xs9KLSQuWLPYF2o and if I get enough, I’ll move it to my secure wallet.

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73 Comments on "How to Create a Secure Bitcoin Wallet"

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Tony
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Tony

I have been following the above instructions but can not execute opening the Bitcoin icon in Bin 32 folder or any thing past that point. Thebin 32 folder seems to be read only andno applicaation seems to be available to open the bitcoin icon. I also don’t see the file explorer or bring up the Ubuntu containing the bitcoin folder mentioned next; only the ubuntu desktop.I am using Win 8 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

Ian
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Ian

Ok so after reading through this a few times I understand why to open in a secure environment and how to etc.
My question is, if I send bitcoins from my day to day wallet to my savings wallet, do I need to do anything else after? Once I send the coins its associated to my savings wallet and I only ever need to go through the process of opening Ubuntu and downloading the blockchain when I want to access my wallet?

Alex
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Alex

My Ubuntu won’t start, did everything like explained above, but when booting from the stick I get:
Syslinux 4.07 edd 2013-07-25 copyright and so on.
Below that is a flashing cursor, but i cant type anything, no pop up screen appearing.
Any idea whats wrong?

Baldwin
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Baldwin

I have downloaded the bitcoin qt program and am currently downloading the blockchain. I have a fast internet connection, but after 1 day of downloading I am still only at 1/3.

From what I understand I need the blockchain to transfer bitcoins from a wallet. Do I need this whole blockchain on the same secure USB as where my wallet is? If so, this USB has to be huge, right? Especially if I am planning to save this savings account wallet for later.

anthony
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anthony

Hi, I have followed your instructions for a boot able usb, changed my priority in bios to removable F which is my usb and yet my computer is still booting through windows 8. Could it be due to being Win 8? what do you suggest?

Henk Jan
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Henk Jan

I have problems with the following part:

Now we need to download the Bitcoin client and start a new wallet. Go to the official Bitcoin Homepage and remember that you are using Linux now. Once extracted go to your download folder and open Bin>32> and then open the Bitcoin icon.

After the extraction the Bitcoin icon isn’t there, because the program isn’t recognized within ubuntu.

Downloaded the Linux version. Installed the x86 version of ubuntu. Tried also the x64 version, same result.

Any suggestions?

Thanks

Marc
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Marc

So I already downloaded the Windows version of Bitcoin Wallet installed it and from the DVDs you sent I downloaded and ran the thing to get all the blocks up to date… How do I make a backup of THAT wallet.. and NOT create this thumbnail boot version that seems to require I download Bitcoin Wallet all over again onto the Ubuntu formatted thumbdrive.

Thinkweis
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Thinkweis
Hi Marc, If you are trying to make that wallet into a savings wallet, I would not advise it. If you had that wallet open on a Windows machine that you use regularly, it is not secure enough to be considered a secure wallet. I would recommend that you create a new wallet as I advised, and send the contents of your wallet to that address. If you just want to make a backup of that wallet, you can find it at C:Users(Your User Name)AppDataRoamingBitcoin and it is called wallet.dat. You may have to change your settings in windows explorer… Read more »
Travis
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Travis

Hi, so at the install bitcoin stage, which bitcoin am I supposed to install? (like the PPA official bitcoin or what) Please link to it :D

_Elmo
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_Elmo

Thank you for this article, very useful. one question I had is, how safe would it be to copy the blockchain from a sync’d version of Bitcoin from the host machines local Windows HDD. So boot into Ubuntu via USB (clean) and install Bitcoin, then copy the blockchain from c: where windows is installed and has a sync’d version of Bitcoin.

Is this even possible if it is, is it safe?

Thank you.

Thinkweis
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Thinkweis

It is possible, but you may want to consider having a wallet that is only used for saving that is only ever opened on a clean linux boot. You are much less likely to have anything stolen with malware that way.

Henk Jan
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Henk Jan

After extracting the bitcoin client and looking in the map bin, 32. I cant open the bitcoin client.

The readme file says that “You need the Qt4 run-time libraries to run Bitcoin-Qt. On Debian or Ubuntu”.

But there is no such program. Where can I download this? Or is there an other option?

Thanks