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File descriptions

This is a technical article aimed at people with working knowledge of navigating files on their computer.

When MultiBit HD runs, it creates various files on your computer. This help section describes what each of these files is for.

Installation directory

The installation directory is where you installed MultiBit HD. No configuration files or wallets are stored there normally.

If you chose the default installation options, you will find the MultiBit HD application in one of the following locations:

  • Windows (7,8) - C:\Program Files\MultiBit HD
  • OS X - /Applications/MultiBit HD

Application directory

The application directory is where MultiBit HD will store your configuration and wallets. This allows you to safely upgrade MultiBit HD without worrying about deleting important data.

In the following section [EXAMPLE] is used to indicate an environment variable called "EXAMPLE". Environment variables are used to provide common starting points for directories. If you have an unusual set up you may need to refer to these to locate where MultiBit HD has placed its application directory. Open a "command prompt" or "Terminal" and type "set" or "export" to see a list of them.

Before exploring environment variables, try one of the following locations.You may need to enable hidden directories.

Windows

  • [APPDATA]/MultiBitHD. Windows (Vista,2008,7,8): C:\Users\example\AppData\Roaming\MultiBitHD
  • [APPDATA]/MultiBitHD. Windows (XP and below): C:\Documents and Settings\example\Application Data\MultiBitHD

OS X

In OS X the user Library directory is normally hidden. Follow the show hidden files instructions to reveal it in the Finder.

  • [user.home]/Library/Application Support/MultiBitHD. OS X 10.5+: /Users/example/Library/Application Support/MultiBitHD

Linux

In Linux the user home directory is normally hidden due to the leading ".".

  • [user.home]/.MultiBitHD. Ubuntu/Debian: /home/example/.MultiBitHD

Contents of application directory

Here is a list of the files that MultiBit HD uses:

  • mbhd.yaml - Contains general preferences and configuration information (theme, exchange etc).
  • mbhd.checkpoints - A Bitcoin checkpoints file, used when syncing your wallet.
  • mbhd.spvchain - A Bitcoin block store, used when syncing your wallet

Application logs

All logs are stored in plain text in the logs directory as follows:

  • multibit-hd.log - This is the latest log
  • multibit-hd-[timestamp].zip - This is a ZIP of an old log

Log files are automatically deleted after 14 days and all times within are in UTC. At present MultiBit HD is not configured to automatically log to syslog.

The log files are extremely useful for debugging and are included in an error report upload. In rare circumstances you may may be asked by a member of MultiBit HD support staff to search your logs as part of an investigation into an Issue that you have raised with us. The procedure for this search is as follows:

  1. Create a new blank text document using the standard text editor for your system (e.g. Notepad, TextMate, gEdit etc)
  2. Locate multibit-hd.log on your system (it may be in a hidden folder)
  3. Use your text editor to open it
  4. Search for "stack_trace" (no quotes) using the editor's search tool
  5. Copy a few lines before and after the big block of technical info if found
  6. Paste these into the blank text document you prepared earlier
  7. Return to the log and attempt to locate another "stack_trace" and repeat the copy/paste until all are covered
  8. Return to our Issue database on GitHub and paste the stack traces into your Issue. We'll tidy them up as necessary.

Wallets

All wallets are stored encrypted in directories of the form mbhd-[some long number] as follows:

  • mbhd.wallet.aes - This is the main wallet file containing your private keys and transactions.
  • contacts.aes. In the ‘contacts’ directory is stored a file ‘contacts.aes’. This contains your contacts information.
  • payments.aes. In the ‘payments’ directory is stored a file ‘payments.aes’. This contains your payments information.
  • rolling-backup. In your rolling backup directory you will see files with the name ‘mbhd-YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.wallet.aes’. These are rolling wallet backup files. Every time the wallet writes to disk, the existing wallet is kept as a backup. The main purpose of this file is to recover from any sudden loss of power that prevents a clean wallet save. The last four rolling backups are kept.
  • zip-backup. In the directory ‘zip-backup’ are stored encrypted zip copies of all the files in your wallet directory.

If you have a cloud backup directory set for your wallet, the local zip backups are regularly copied to your cloud backup directory.

Troubleshooting file problems

Occasionally people make changes to the application directory in error. Here are some helpful tips to assist in recovery.

I've accidentally deleted something!

Don't worry. So long as you have your wallet words you can recover your bitcoins. See "Restoring a wallet" for step by step instructions to recover.

First try to simply Undo the delete (use CTRL+Z if it's the most recent thing you did) or fish around in your Recycle bin. If you've only just discovered the problem then assess the impact below.

Deleting different files/directories will have different impacts:

  • logs directory - No problem. MultiBit HD will simply create new logs when it next starts
  • mbhd.yaml file - You'll need to work through the welcome wizard but you can select "Use an existing wallet" when prompted
  • mbhd.checkpoints file - Synchronization will take a very long time, it is best to re-install MultiBit HD
  • mbhd.spvchain file - Synchronization will take a long time based on how old your wallet is
  • mbhd-[some long number] directory - You've deleted a wallet. Refer to "Restoring a wallet" for step by step instructions to recover.

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