How to export/save Cardano private key/wallet?

I downloaded Daedalus yesterday and I set it up, on Windows 10. I let it fully sync, I updated it, and I wrote my password and 24 word seed phrase. I sent some Cardano to my wallet, and I staked it. So far so good.

Then I wanted to export my private key, only to discover that Daedalus doesn’t give you your private key. So then I researched on how to backup my wallet. I found some threads on this forum, one talking about the “secret.key” file and one talking about the “Secrets-1.0” and “Wallets” folders.

I can’t rely only on my 24 word phrase for backup, I don’t feel good about that. I need to have another backup with a different method.

But my “Secrets-1.0” folder is empty. And yes, I did tick the option to “show hidden folders.” So the methods for backup up that I found on this forum won’t work for me.

How can I backup my Daedalus wallet?

Thank you

Not sure if I understand your concern, why would you prefer an unencrypted/insecure raw private key more than the mnemonics which will help you derive the key? Even if you do save the raw private key, Daedalus will not allow you to restore wallet using raw private key anyways.

Those were only valid for cardano-sl nodes, please do not rely on physical folder level backups. The recommendation is always to use mnemonics, and then best-effort support is provided for backing up your wallets folder, not Secrets-1.0 or Wallets-1.0-acid - as long as you remember the spending password, as Daedalus will not store the keys in insecure/unencrypted ways.

If in spite of knowing that there isnt a GUI way to restore wallet to Daedalus using raw key, you still need to find root private key anyways, you can go to the Install Directory (by default, that would be: C:\Program Files\Daedalus Mainnet) and then execute the command below on cmd:

cd "C:\Program Files\Daedalus Mainnet"
# replace phrase from arrive with actual mnemonics
echo arrive raw sight riot .... pony deliver | cardano-address key from-recovery-phrase Shelley > root.prv

Humor me for a second please. Just humor me.

Let’s assume that next week my lap top explodes. I get a new lap top and put Daedalus on it, and try to restore my wallet using the mnemonics, and it won’t work. It won’t work because God himself decided to make it not work.

So now I’m sitting there, and it’s game over for me. I still have my password.

So if I understand you correctly, if I have the “Wallets” folder saved on a USB, I can restore my Daedalus wallet, correct?

That would only occur if you’ve noted down the mnemonics incorrectly (it is why when creating wallet Daedalus asks you to re-enter the seed to verify you wrote it down correctly) - which by similar assumptions would be same for saved private key as well :slight_smile:

Yes - for the versions until the storage layout of wallets is not changed (this happened to users who were relying on Secrets-1.0 in cardano-sl and got stuck for a while until IOG had to provide a patch to allow Importing using folder for those users).

Great, so I have my second method of backing up my wallet. I’ll backup the “Wallets” folder right now :slight_smile:

I have one more question to that. Should I backup the wallets folder just once?

Maybe I should do a monthly backup, because of rewards from staking or if I send/receive more ADA something changes.

Or maybe it’s enough to backup the folder again only in case I create a new wallet. Like now I only have 1 wallet in Daedalus, but who knows, maybe in the future I create another one for whatever reason.

So, 3 choices:

  1. Backup 1 time
  2. Backup monthly
  3. Backup only after creating/deleting wallets

Which is it?

p.s my “Wallets” folder has 4 files in it. It has 3 of them with a long string of characters and with these extensions - “.sqlite”, and “.sqlite-shm”, and “.sqlite-wal”. And there’s one callled “stake-pools.sqlite”

Okay, so I backed up my wallets folder. Zipped it up with a password protect, put it on an external USB which is never used for anything, all good.

I’m not entirely sure if I should do regular backups. I figure I don’t have to do that.

But I created a new wallet in Daedalus, and as expected, more files were created in the “Wallets” folder. So I figure if I ever create additional wallets, then I’ll backup that folder again… if I remember…

Yes yes I know, “the mnemonics is all you need,” la la la. But I want a second method of backing up! I hope that this is it.

If anyone has anything to add here, please do.

If in future there is a major release for Daedalus , always a good practice to backup updated wallet folder - in case there are any changes

Killer, thank you. That’s what I was looking for.

Okay, I’ll put it on my to-do list to do it to backup the folder every 6 months. That should be good enough.

Cheers :slight_smile:


I also have somehow the same problem and question!

I use Exodus wallet and have some ADA in it. So I have a 12-word recovery phrase. Will that work with Daedalus wallet to recover my ADAs in there?

And if not, I also have my ADA address’s private key. Can I use this raw text key to recover my ADAs in Daedalus wallet?

Thanks a heap,

That won’t work, because Exodus is an exchange platform, and your 12-word recovery phrase won’t work in Daedalus. I recommend that you create a new Daedalus wallet and transfer all your ADA from Exodus to it. Then you will have the option to stake/delegate if you wish to.

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@rdlrt There is one point I do not quite understand here. The recovery phrase is suppose to be used only to encrypt/decrypt the private key. If I lose the private key file itself e.g. laptop explodes, how is it possible to restore my wallet on a different device? Is my private key stored somewhere on the cloud and will be downloaded and then decrypted with the recovery phrase? Correct me if I am wrong but the recovery phrase cannot actually regenerate a lost private key.

The 12 to 24 word recovery phrase (AKA mnemonic phrase) does not decrypt the private key, it is the private key. Some wallet software has you create a password. That password encrypts and decrypts your keys but is separate from the recover phrase. So to your last point, the recovery phrase CAN actually regenerate your private keys. That is its purpose. The recovery phrase generates all your keys anywhere you take it. It is your keys, and that’s why it’s so important that it’s kept secret and safe, and best kept off a computer on a piece of paper stored someplace safe. It’s also the only thing you need to backup your keys.

If you know your seed phrase it is likely that you can generate the private key from the seed phrase, but you have to know how the Cordano Daedalus wallet protocol works.

I found some information about these: (Please don’t arbitrarily enter your own seed phrases on these sites they have the potential to steal or a plugin in your browser can steal, unless you take this page download to your computer for your own disconnected network research!!!)

Cordano Daedalus wallet: It’s a standard BIP-39 word list of 2048 words