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I am trying to sync Ethereum-Wallet (aka Mist) for the first time. Unfortunately, it is taking a really long time (days) and I was told that this should only take a couple hours.

What can I do to troubleshoot my problem or otherwise speed up the process?

  • Are you using a SSD or HDD ? – Ellis Jun 26 '16 at 20:51
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New versions of Ethereum-Wallet (aka: Mist) will do a fast sync the first time they startup. However, if you quit Ethereum-Wallet before it is done syncing it will switch to slow-sync from then on because fast sync can only be done on first launch.

Fast sync is much faster than normal sync, it should only take a couple hours on a modern internet connection and computer. Because of this, it can often be worthwhile to restart your sync from the beginning even if you are a good chunk of the way through syncing if you are in normal mode.

Luckily, it is possible to "start over" and sync from the beginning.

  1. Locate your chaindata folder. Instructions for this can be found here: https://ethereum.stackexchange.com/a/6551/704

  2. Quit geth, Mist, Ethereum-Wallet and any other Ethereum software you may have running on your computer (Ethereum related websites can remain open).

  3. Rename, move or delete the chaindata folder. Personally, I delete it when I am following this process as its contents are completely recoverable. However, if you are uncertain or uncomfortable with this you can simply move the chaindata folder somewhere else or rename it. If this process doesn't work you can always move/rename it back and pick up where you left off before attempting to follow these instructions.

  4. Launch Ethereum-Wallet. It is critical that you launch Ethereum-Wallet first after doing this, not something else like geth. Ethereum-Wallet will start its own copy of geth behind the scenes for you in fast mode. It is also possible to launch geth in fast mode with geth --fast, though for beginners I recommend using the UI rather than the command line.

  5. Wait for it to sync. As mentioned earlier, this process should only take a couple hours on a modern connection and computer. You should see the block numbers going up much faster than before, assuming you were in normal mode previously.

  6. Don't quit Ethereum-Wallet! Leave it open and running (you can minimize/hide it) until the initial sync is complete. If you quit and re-launch it you'll restart in normal (not fast) mode and you will have to follow these instructions again if you want to get into fast mode again.

  • This is by far one of the most helpful pieces of information I've found as part of getting up and running. There are no warnings either on start, or in the getting started docs about the FAST on first load, so it's pretty easy to end up in this situation. – Stephan Jun 10 '17 at 17:55
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Ethereum Wallet is also included in the latest parity release 1.2 and since parity provides much more convenience regarding the blockchain pruning, a workaround could be to simply run:

parity --pruning fast --webapp

Pruning fast will allow a fast synchronization process with a small blockchain footprint on your harddisk. The webapp provides you with the Ethereum Wallet on http://localhost:8080/wallet

webbapp screenshot

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Check the "node.log" file and see if there are warnings about time differences. If your BIOS clock is significantly out of sync with the current time, it may prevent you from downloading.

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