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Don’t Fret: How to Recover Bitcoin You Thought was Lost Forever

How to recover your crypto

Guest Post – DYOR

Losing bitcoin is beyond panic-inducing. However, all may not be lost. Try these tactics if you think you may have misplaced your bitcoin.

Sometimes, just the thought of misplacing or losing your bitcoin is enough to send anybody into a tailspin. But, it does happen, to novice and experts alike. Sometimes, bitcoin gets deleted, corrupted, lost, or hacked. While it’s not always recoverable, make sure to employ any and all possible restoration attempts before giving up completely. 

While this is probably the worst time to remind the reader about steps to take against losing your coins in the first place, it needs to be said. In the future, always have a current backup of your wallet and a copy of your keys. This can help reduce the chance of heartache in the future. If you’re new to bitcoin or trading, make sure you have a new user-friendly trading platform, to begin with. Exchanges like Bitvavo are designed to keep you and your coins as safe as possible while you learn the ropes. 

Now that little PSA is out of the way, let’s go back to focusing on what you came here for How to recover lost bitcoin. 

Recovering and Restoring Lost Bitcoin

Depending on what happened to your bitcoin in the first place, there are a few different viable recovery avenues to take. There’s no guarantee that these will work, but they’re always good to know and keep stored away should something happen in the future. 

1. Don’t Panic

The solution might be as simple as your Bitcoin core is out of sync, or an app is taking longer than usual. As with all troubleshooting guides, it helps to start at the easiest, and most obvious, problem. 

If you’re running a full node (generally because you’re using a bitcoin core wallet), you’ll have to wait until the network has fully synced. This can take a surprising amount of time, especially if you haven’t checked in on your coins in awhile. Try reloading the network if it seems to be taking too long. 

2. Forgotten Key

Perhaps the most common- and frustrating- of all the ways to lose your bitcoin, forgetting your private keys can be a maddening experience. If you don’t have a written backup of them there are still options for you going forward. 

Thanks to the collective brilliance of Reddit and Github, an open-source tool has been created for just this problem. Redditor u/Coding_Enthusiast has created a “FinderOuter”, which is a program designed to figure out lost keys from partial data. If users enter any partial data into the program for Base-58 or Base-16 keys, the open-source tool can recover the entire key.  

3. Accidental Deletion

Another common and gut-wrenching loss of coins occurs most often in conjunction with computer crashes and corruption. There are a ton of tools out there should this be the case. Hard drive recovery is something that your local computer geeks should be able to perform. If you’re a bit tech-savvy yourself, there are a number of software and hardware applications that you can use to recover the drive at home. 

Data recovery software like CrashPlan, OneTrack EasyRecovery, and Data Rescue 5 are all readily available and easy to use, even for the geek in training. This is largely because most systems don’t “fully delete” files, instead they just mark them as available for overwriting. So if you’ve recently deleted your wallet or coins, you can generally recover them without much fuss. 

4. Restoring Wallets

Restoring wallets is something that the crypto community has down to an art. So should you need to, depending on the wallet you’re using, there’s generally a plan at hand. 

  • Hardware Wallet

Hardware wallets get lost. USB drives are tiny, Trevor and Ledger Nano are often misplaced, and sometimes hardware just gets destroyed. Such is the way of the portable computer. Most hardware wallet systems have recovery keys or passphrases that can be used to “restore wallet” onto new devices. 

Hopefully, if you’re using the USB hardware wallet, you’ve made a clone and stored it in a secure location. 

  • Mobile Wallet

Restoring mobile wallets can be a bit more tricky and are often app-specific. While they definitely can be done, it’s best to go directly to the apps creator and look for troubleshooting info there. 

  • Core Wallet

Bitcoin core wallets are fairly easily found once you know where to look. The file in question is ‘wallet.dat’. Make sure that when you’re looking for core files, that you have your file browser set to show hidden files. As these files are generally hidden data on both Linux and Windows operating systems. 

In Linux based OS, ‘/home/username/.bitcoin/wallets/‘ is the go-to place, where in Windows, it may be hidden under the ‘AppData’ directory. 

If you’re using Exodus, you will have been emailed a restoration link when you first installed the app. Click the link and follow the directions.

Thank you for reading the article.

Guest Post by:
Sarah Barrow, with a background in Medical Area but a love for writing, Sarah decided to leave that life to pursue writing and content creation full-time.


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