How to Securely Sync Your BitCoins

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Since you‟re looking after your money yourself, and there‟s no built-in backup in case something goes horribly wrong and your money is lost or stolen, it‟s important that you keep your BitCoin wallet locked up and backed up.

Bear in mind, though, that some of the steps involved are quite advanced. If you‟re not at all confident in your abilities with a computer, I‟d suggest leaving this bit alone. As a general rule, if you have no idea where or what the Terminal is, you probably shouldn‟t be using it.

Windows

First up, you‟ll want to make a Virtual Encrypted Disk using TrueCrypt. Just use the basic settings, and don‟t worry about making a dynamic disk – you really don‟t want anything going wrong with it! Ideally the VED should be around 100MB in size to accommodate any large increases in file size in the future. Save the VED file to DropBox so that it‟s automatically backed up!

Before we start working with the files, start up BitCoin and take note of the receiving address. We can use this to verify that it is using the data properly.

Once you‟ve done that, it‟s just a case of finding the folder where the BitCoin client stores all its files (including your wallet file). You can usually find this by going to Start > Run (or by pressing WinKey + R and typing in the following:

explorer %APPDATA%\Bitcoin

This is the default location for BitCoin data:

C:\Documents and Settings\YourUserName\Application data\Bitcoin (XP)

C:\Users\YourUserName\Appdata\Roaming\Bitcoin (Vista and 7)

Once you‟ve found the folder, copy the entire folder into the VED that you created earlier. Take note of the drive letter you assign to the VED – you‟ll be using this in a bit when you tell BitCoin where to look for its data. For this example we‟ll assume that the drive you have selected is the E: drive.

Once you‟ve copied the files over, create a temporary backup of the file, then delete the original file from the Appdata folder. This will force the BitCoin client to use the VED as a source if everything has been done correctly, otherwise it will simply create a new folder to replace the one that was deleted.

Now that you‟ve finished moving files around, you can create a new shortcut to start the BitCoin application. Find BitCoin in your Start Menu, right click the shortcut and choose “Send to > Desktop (create shortcut)”. Then right click the shortcut you just edited and click “Properties…” and enter in the following in the “Target” field:

C:\Program Files\Bitcoin\bitcoin.exe -datadir=E:\Bitcoin

Don‟t forget to change E: to the drive letter you assigned the VED. Also, if you‟re using a 64-bit version of Windows, you‟ll need to change

C:\Program Files\ to C:\Program Files (x86)\

The first part of the Target string (starting with C:\Program Files\) is the location of the BitCoin client application, but not the wallet file or the files it works with. The –datadir switch basically tells BitCoin to load all its files from E:\BitCoins instead of the default file location in the AppData folder.

With that done, it‟s just a matter of double clicking that shortcut to use BitCoin from the secure Virtual Encrypted Drive. Just make sure that you‟ve mounted the VED before you start the BitCoin client, and that you always mount it to the same drive letter.

At this point we can start up the BitCoin client and check to see whether we have the same receiving address as the one we started with. If we do, it‟s been successful. If not, don‟t worry! Just try going through the steps again.

Mac OS X

If you‟re using OS X 10.6 or 10.7 (Snow Leopard or Lion), you‟ll need to install a free system utility called MacFUSE first that provides the software necessary to create VEDs using TrueCrypt. It uses a standard .pkg installation process, so you shouldn‟t run into any problems at all. When that‟s installed, we can get started properly.

Create a Virtual Encrypted Disk (VED) using TrueCrypt. Just use all the default settings, enter a secure password and save it in your DropBox folder. You‟ll want to allocate around 100MB to the VED to make sure that you don‟t run out of room down the line.

After creating the VED, mount it using TrueCrypt. This will mount a volume which looks just like when you mount a .dmg file to install an application. By default this will be called NO NAME – right click this in the Finder sidebar and rename it to something a bit more intuitive, such as BITCOIN (FAT, the file system used by the VED requires the name to be in capital letters).

Before doing anything to the BitCoin files, open up BitCoin and take note of your receiving address. We can use this to verify whether the symbolic link has worked correctly.

By default, the files needed by the BitCoin client are stored in the following location:

~/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin

The ~ means your home folder, not the root Library folder – these are two different folders which contain different data. Make sure you look in the right one! When you find it, copy the entire BitCoin folder to the VED and then delete the folder in Application Support. You‟ll probably want to copy it to your Desktop as a failsafe in case something goes wrong, too.

Now it‟s time to create a symbolic link to trick OS X into thinking that the folder is still there in Application Support, even though it‟s now in the VED. To do this, we‟ll need to start up a Terminal window, and enter in the following:

ln -s /Volumes/BITCOIN/Bitcoin ~/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin

Where BITCOIN is the name you gave to the VED when it‟s mounted.

That‟s the last step! Now you can start up the BitCoin client and it will take its data from the VED. Make sure you mount the VED before starting the BitCoin client, though – if you start the client without mounting the VED, it will create a new Bitcoin folder in Application Support and remove the symbolic link. If this happens, just delete the folder in Application Support, mount the VED and create the symbolic link again using the same command.

Now we can start up the BitCoin client and check to see whether we have the same receiving address as the one we started with. If so, it‟s all done and working great.

Ubuntu

First up, create a Virtual Encrypted Disk (VED) using TrueCrypt. Just use all the default settings, use a secure password and save it in your DropBox folder. You‟ll want to allocate around 100MB to the VED to make sure that you don‟t run out of room down the line.

When you‟ve created the VED, use TrueCrypt to mount it. When you choose a slot to mount the VED, it will mount it in /media/truecrypt<x>, where <x> is the number of the slot you chose. For this example, we‟ll assume you‟ve chosen slot 1, in which case the mount point would be /media/truecrypt1.

Before doing anything to the BitCoin files, open up BitCoin and take note of your receiving address. We can use this to verify whether the symbolic link has worked correctly.

By default BitCoin files are stored in the folder ~/.bitcoin, where ~ is the root of your home folder. As files starting with “.” are hidden by Ubuntu, you‟ll need to unhide the folder by pressing Ctrl + H. Then move (Ctrl + X to cut, Ctrl + V to paste) the entire .bitcoin folder to the VED, which acts just like a memory stick.

Once the files have been moved, we just need to make a symbolic link to point the BitCoin client to the VED when it‟s looking for its files. We do this by opening up a Terminal window (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and entering the following:

ln –s /media/truecrypt1/.bitcoin ~/.bitcoin

All done! If you go and start the BitCoin client again, you should notice that your receiving address is the same as before. This means that you‟ve done everything successfully and it is ready to use.

Make sure you mount the VED before starting the BitCoin client, though – if you start the client without mounting the VED, it will create a new .bitcoin folder in your home folder and remove the symbolic link. If this happens, just delete the .bitcoin folder in your home folder, mount the VED and create the symbolic link again using the same command you used before.

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Nagaraju Tadakaluri

Nagaraju Tadakaluri is a Professional Web Designer, Freelance Writer, Search Engine Optimizer (SEO), Online Marketer, Multi Level Marketer (MLM) and Business Promoter. Have developed Latest Updates in hopes to educate, inform and inspire.