Skip to main content

Brit loses $7.5m in Bitcoins after throwing away hard drive

PayPal won't let you buy Bitcoins
Image used with permission by copyright holder

An unlucky British man is regretting discarding an old laptop hard drive after realizing it contained over $7.5m worth of Bitcoins. James Howells, from South Wales, originally mined his 7,500 coins in 2009, when Bitcoins were worth a fraction of their current value.

After complaints from his girlfriend about the noise and heat coming from the laptop, Howells stopped mining new Bitcoins, and quickly forgot about the hoard after spilling lemonade over his Dell XPS N1710 in 2010.

The laptop was dismantled for parts and Howells discovered the old hard drive in summer this year, promptly throwing it away. He realized his mistake last week. “I’ve searched high and low,” he told the Guardian. “I’ve tried to retrieve files from all of my USB sticks, from all of my hard drives. I’ve tried everything just in case I had a backup file, or had copied it by accident. And … nothing.”

In an attempt to recover the drive, Howells has visited the local landfill site. “I had a word with one of the guys down there, explained the situation. And he actually took me out in his truck to where the landfill site is. He said something from three or four months ago would be about three or four feet down.”

Despite missing out on the fruits of his investment, Howells is mostly philosophical about the affair. “I’m at the point where it’s either laugh about it or cry about it,” he said. “Why aren’t I out there with a shovel now? I think I’m just resigned to never being able to find it. It’s my mistake throwing the hard drive out, at the end of the day.”

Bitcoin prices continue to soar and have topped $1,000 repeatedly over the last couple of days. There are currently just over 12 million Bitcoins in existence, with the master algorithm capable of creating around 21 million in total.

Editors' Recommendations

David Nield
Dave is a freelance journalist from Manchester in the north-west of England. He's been writing about technology since the…
Best gaming chair deals: Save on Corsair, Razer, and more
Razer - Iskur Gaming Chair.

Playing video games for hours can be pretty brutal to your back and body, especially if you're an older gamer; as such, buying yourself a purpose-made chair can certainly help keep you healthier. While gaming chairs won't compete with chairs that are made specifically to take your health into account, they do offer better padding and a more hugging feeling than you'd find with your average low-end office chair. To that end, we've gone out and found some of our favorite gaming chair deals out there to make your life a little bit easier.

That said, if you're still in the shopping phase and haven't fully built your gaming setup yet, be sure to check out these gaming PC deals, gaming monitor deals, and gaming console deals to deck yourself out with the best stuff.
Homall Massage Gaming Chair -- $80, was $170

Read more
Google just broke search
AI Overviews being shown in Google Search.

Google AI Overviews were announced a couple of weeks ago at Google I/O, and they've already proven to be rather controversial. The aim to provide high-quality answers to your questions summarized from the web, but a series of recent X (formerly Twitter) threads show how big of a fail it's already proven to be.

The response that went viral involves a very dubious pizza recipe. As reported, when prompting Google for an answer to the issue of "cheese not sticking to pizza," the AI Overview suggests adding nontoxic glue to your pizza to prevent the cheese from sliding off. The exact words the AI overview gave are as follows: "You can also add about 1/8 cup of non-toxic glue to the sauce to give it more tackiness." Where did the Google AI overview get the info as a source? An 11-year-old Reddit comment from this thread, in what was clearly a joke.

Read more
Windows is about to axe these three iconic apps
A top-down view of the Surface Laptop Go.

Microsoft's upcoming Windows 11 24H2 update will include many new features, including a controversial new app. But PCWorld reports that the following major Windows 11 24H2 updates will also remove three iconic apps you may currently use: WordPad, Cortana, and Tips.

Although each of these are being discontinued, there are some specific details for how Microsoft is rolling out the changes. This change affects Cortana in Windows as a standalone app, but it will remain within other applications, such as Microsoft Teams Display, Outlook Mobile, Teams Mobile, and Microsoft Teams Rooms. Of course, Microsoft's push into AI with a full-screen version of Copilot will take the place of Cortana. This update to Copilot treats it more as a proper app, not unlike the ChatGPT Mac app that was recently announced.

Read more