I have a new computer, and my Bitcoin keys are on my old PC.

  • Is all of my private data in wallet.dat?
  • What is the procedure to make the transfer properly from my old PC to the new one?

3 Answers 3


Your wallet.dat file records all of the important information. I don't know if the other files also contain confidential information, but two things are sure:

  1. Your private keys are only stored in wallet.dat. If you keep that file safe, and all of the other files get leaked out, nobody can steal your money (though they may find out other things about you).
  2. The wallet.dat file contains everything you need to recover all of your money, as well as your address book. If you delete all the other files, and just keep wallet.dat, you will still have all your money and all of the addresses in your address book.

The other files are mostly just the downloaded block chain history. If you lose those, you are in for a big download, but nothing too serious.


It looks like you do just have to backup/transfer the wallet.dat file.

From their FAQ:

How do I backup my wallet?

Your wallet.dat is stored in the directory ''%appdata%\Bitcoin'', which is typically:

Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Bitcoin

Windows Vista: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Bitcoin

Linux: ~/.bitcoin

You need to make a backup of the wallet after every transaction, as the old backup file will be partially or fully invalid. Wait at least a few seconds after your last transaction before making the backup.

If you want to encrypt your backup, you can use some program like TrueCrypt. An in-built tool for encrypting your wallet will be included in Bitcoin later on.

  • Fine! But What about my adresses ? Is it in addr.dat ?
    – 1213
    Apr 13, 2011 at 12:53
  • First google result for 'bitcoin addr.dat' should explain that
    – Pricey
    Apr 13, 2011 at 13:03
  • I moved wallet.dat and addr.dat, and I have this error EXCEPTION: 11DbException Db::open: Invalid argument bitcoin in AppInit() I know how to use Google. There is no answer to my questions.
    – 1213
    Apr 13, 2011 at 13:11
  • The bitcoin wiki suggests deleting any blkindex.dat file to ensure things are rescanned. This forum topic suggests launching the client with -rescan which should do the same. Either way, transferring the wallet should be enough. If it isn't, you probably haven't installed it properly. Does it launch fine with wallet removed again?
    – Pricey
    Apr 13, 2011 at 13:23
  • 1
    Woop woop! :-) Glad to hear it.
    – Pricey
    Apr 13, 2011 at 14:30

I had this problem on Mac OS 10.5.8.

  1. I didn't realize I had to download the "block chain" before starting - which is probably how I got the error in the first place.
  2. After getting the error, I needed to go to (User)/Library
  3. Rename/delete the Bitcoin folder.
  4. Once renamed/deleted, I could launch and run Bitcoin, no problem.

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