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There is no special version of Armory needed for the offline computer, and it does not need to be the same operating system as the online computer. As long as you can install Armory and use USB drives, it will work.
Such a computer does not have any particular resource requirements: Once you have Armory installed on the offline computer, you create a new wallet. The nature of Armory wallets is that the online computer will always generate the exact same addresses as the offline computer, but the online computer cannot spend any of the funds!
Make a paper backup! Connect a printer via USB or copy the paper backup information by hand. Make one or two copies, and store in a secure place. This is a permanent backup of every address your wallet will ever create!
Double click on the wallet and click on Create Watching-Only Copy on the right menu. Load Armory on online computer, and select Import Wallet in the upper-right corner of the main window. Import the wallet file on the USB drive. In the wallet-properties dialog, click on Belongs To , and click the checkbox that says This wallet is mine.
This makes sure that any funds in this wallet are part of your global balance. Now that the wallets are setup, you can use the watching-only wallet exactly the same way as a regular wallet, except Bitcoins cannot be sent from it. Use the Receive Bitcoins button to generate addresses for receiving payments, and incoming transactions will show up in the ledger with a slightly different color than your other wallets.
On the online computer, click the Offline Transactions button on the right, below the logo. Select Create New Offline Transaction. A window will open with the unsigned version of the transaction.
Load the file from the USB key, then press the Sign button. A confirmation window will appear. Verify the confirmation details before you sign it!
Click Save to file…. Eject the USB key and plug it into the online computer. If the original window is still open, you can click on Next Step to get to the broadcast window. If you closed Armory since then, you can use the same Offline Transactions button on the main window, and select Sign or Broadcast Transaction.
Once the file is loaded, some green text should appear telling you that the signature is valid and the Ready to Broadcast! Guidance is given at each step within the Armory software, so you may be fine without referring back to this page. And once you do this a few times, it will become a breeze! At no point in this process is any private data exposed through the transaction data.
It is perfectly safe to transfer the signed or unsigned transaction via email. The biggest threat to an offline wallet is a USB-key virus that executes when plugged in. However, such viruses would have to be highly targeted, and can be mostly mitigated by disabling USB-auto-run on the offline computer.
So, how do you calm your nerves about using such advanced features? Try it out with small amounts of Bitcoins. Whether it takes you a day or a year, you will eventually come to realize that offline transactions really do work.
Make a new wallet as described above, but you must make a backup. A digital backup is fine if you make a couple copies, just in case one becomes corrupted. Generate some addresses by clicking on Receive Bitcoins a few times.
Write down the first few letters of each address generated. Why did we just delete it? If you can restore the backup once, you can always restore the backup at any time in future. On the main Armory window, click on Import Wallet in the upper-right corner, and select the type of backup you are restoring.
Generate some addresses with the new wallet. Check that they are the same as the addresses you wrote down earlier. Import the watching-only wallet on your online computer.
Generate a few addresses and compare to the ones you wrote down earlier. I bet you are starting to feel better… Transfer 0. Wait for a few confirmations. Follow the directions above to create an unsigned transaction for 0.
You are now one step closer to realizing, it really does work! Congratulations on having mastered the most secure Bitcoin wallet functionality in existence! Once you get the hang of moving transactions around via USB drive, you should be able to execute an offline transaction in less than one minute! If you do get this far, please consider sending a donation to the Armory developers the donate button works for offline transactions, too!
This feature was the prime motivation for creating Armory, and took many months of hard work to make it available to you, for free. Intro to Offline Wallets. Send from Online to Offline Wallet. Load Armory on the offline computer Create a new wallet with or without encryption Important: Double click on the wallet and click on Create Watching-Only Copy on the right menu Save the file to the USB drive, eject, insert into online computer Load Armory on online computer, and select Import Wallet in the upper-right corner of the main window.