Moving a wallet.dat file to another computer and Electrum wallet

Bitcoin Questions and AnswersCategory: General questionsMoving a wallet.dat file to another computer and Electrum wallet
AZ asked 2 weeks ago

Hi,
my question is regarding the moving or importing of the wallet.dat file from a Macbook laptop that barely functions (it’s very old) and Bitcoin QT software that doesn’t open anymore (keeps crashing) to a new Mac computer and new wallet – Electrum. Just to explain it a bit better – I bought some coins back in 2013 and didn’t touch them until I went to check up on them a few weeks ago. Weeks ago I could open the Bitcoin QT and saw that my bitcoins didn’t sync up as they were ‘Unconfirmed’, but didn’t understand much about how to get the private key etc.. Now that I have read up on that, I was going to go into Bitcoin QT and get the key, but this time the software crashed and wouldn’t open again. So then I went to the actual folder where the wallet.dat file is kept and copied it over to a USB stick. On my Mac computer I have downloaded the Electrum wallet (with seed), but I’m kind of stuck as what to do next. I have read many forums and it looks as though I just copy over this file into the Electrum folder and when I run the Electrum, the coins (even if they’re unconfirmed) should show up. However, being super cautious – I’m still unsure how to do it securely. The wallet.dat is non-encrypted. Is it ok to copy this file over to the Electrum folder while I’m online? I have tried it while switching off the internet, but obviously I couldn’t do anything as you need internet to run the software.. My main worry is – am I ok to copy this file onto my computer while I’m online? Should I encrypt it first? If yes, how? How would I encrypt it if my laptop barely functions? If I don’t need to do it, is it just a simple matter of copying the file from my USB to Electrum data folder and bam, I should have my coins? Also, regarding the unconfirmed coins – they should still show up, right? And what do I need to do to confirm them?
Hope I’m making myself clear. If you have any questions, please ask. Thank you so much for any answer.

3 Answers
Steven Hay answered 2 weeks ago

Hey AZ,
 
OK, what I recommend you do is download the latest version of Bitcoin Core onto your new Mac machine. Run it and allow it to sync, it’ll take a while. Then close Bitcoin Core.
 
If you then navigate to the default data directory, which on a Mac should be “~/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/” you may copy your old wallet.dat file over the existing (empty) one.
 
Ensure that you have good, multiple backups before doing this, of course.
 
The next time you open your wallet, you should see your old Bitcoin balance in the new Core wallet. You may then use this wallet normally. If you still want to export your bitcoins to Electrum, that’s fairly easy too, so let me know and I can help you with that process.

AZ answered 2 weeks ago

Hi Steven,
thank you for your advice. Very much appreciated.
I will download the Bitcoin Core to my new Mac, no probs at all, I have a lot of space on my disc. 
One more question though – my laptop was offline therefore my wallet.dat file was/is safe from hacks or malware. Once I copy it over to my Mac which is online all the time, would this file still be safe in this new data directory? Can anyone get the info from this folder? Or is there any encryption I should do when I first download the Bitcoin Core? I just want to be super safe, leaving nothing to chance. 
 
Thank you,
Andrea 

AZ answered 2 weeks ago

Hi Steven,
thank you for your advice. Very much appreciated.
I will download the Bitcoin Core to my new Mac, no probs at all, I have a lot of space on my disc. 
One more question though – my laptop was offline therefore my wallet.dat file was/is safe from hacks or malware. Once I copy it over to my Mac which is online all the time, would this file still be safe in this new data directory? Can anyone get the info from this folder? Or is there any encryption I should do when I first download the Bitcoin Core? I just want to be super safe, leaving nothing to chance. 
 
Thank you,
Andrea 

Your Answer
4 + 15 =