[Bitcoin-development] Suggestion: easy way to restore wallet.dat backup

Casey Rodarmor casey at rodarmor.com
Wed Dec 4 05:16:18 UTC 2013


On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 11:59 AM, Dâniel Fraga <fragabr at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>         Today, when a user uses bitcoin-qt client, it can make a backup
> of wallet.dat easily through menu, but when he/she needs to restore
> this backup, he/she must copy the file to the correct folder and
> execute "bitcoin-qt -rescan".
>

I actually think this is part of a larger and somewhat subtle UX problem
with bitcoin-qt – and, to be totally fair, a whole bunch of other wallet
programs.

I think the issue is that bitcoin-qt should have a document-oriented
approach to wallets. It should make you select a location to store your
wallet, just like a word processor, when you create a new wallet. It could
open the most recent wallet when you run the program, or allow you to open
a wallet by double-clicking it directly in the OS.

I think this would solve this particular issue nicely, just double click
the wallet file. Also, the menu item can just be labeled "Open Wallet". It
might also prevent those kind of heartbreaking posts which read something
like, "I just wiped my hard drive and reinstalled bitcoin-qt, where are my
coins?" People don't have the expectation that if they get Word on a new PC
that their documents will somehow magically be available, I think in part
because Word forces you to deal with the documents and the save location
yourself.

I know that this would bring with it a host of other considerations: Can
multiple wallets be open at the same time? What happens if a wallet file is
moved while it's open? What happens when there are two versions of the same
wallet? Will users understand that they need to backup their wallets
periodically?

But, I think it would be a big enough usability win that it should be
considered. Also, if at the same time bitcoin-qt were to adopt BIP 32 style
deterministically derived private keys from a single seed, a bunch of the
issues above would also go away: There are never two versions of the same
wallet, since they're the same seed, and periodic backups are unnecessary.
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