getblocktemplate — Bitcoin

Trying to salvage some coins from 2013. Core (bitcoin-qt.exe v0.8.1-beta on Windows 8.1) is taking weeks to DL the blockchain as expected but keeps crashing now. Can I upgrade to a newer version without losing what I've gotten already (about 75% complete)?

Currently there are 134305 blocks remaining. When I start it up it works pretty smoothly for a while but then slows down. I leave it running while I'm gone but the last several days when I've come back it has crashed and gives me an I/O error, and I have to hit OK then start it back up. It does appear to be further along when I start it back up but not by a whole lot. So this has really slowed my progress. It's reindexed about 75% though, and so I don't want to start over from the beginning.
The drive it is on has ~400gb of free space so that's not the issue. I have 8gb of memory, and the task manager says bitcoin is taking up about 500mb, but it's using 60-85% of my cpu at a time.
If I download a newer version of core, I can just copy/paste the old wallet.dat file, right? But wouldn't it have to start downloading the entire blockchain again from the beginning? If so, is there any quicker method?
While typing this, it crashed twice. It only runs for about 10 minutes.
The version I have doesn't have any settings I can change. I read that there's a db size limit you can change in later versions that could help. This one does have a "debug window" with a command line console but I don't really know what to do with it. Here is a list of available commands: 
addmultisigaddress <'["key","key"]'> [account]
createmultisig <'["key","key"]'>
createrawtransaction [{"txid":txid,"vout":n},...] {address:amount,...}
getaddednodeinfo [node]
getbalance [account] [minconf=1]
getblocktemplate [params]
getnewaddress [account]
getrawtransaction [verbose=0]
getreceivedbyaccount [minconf=1]
getreceivedbyaddress [minconf=1]
gettxout [includemempool=true]
getwork [data]
help [command]
importprivkey [label] [rescan=true]
listaccounts [minconf=1]
listreceivedbyaccount [minconf=1] [includeempty=false]
listreceivedbyaddress [minconf=1] [includeempty=false]
listsinceblock [blockhash] [target-confirmations]
listtransactions [account] [count=10] [from=0]
listunspent [minconf=1] [maxconf=9999999] ["address",...]
lockunspent unlock? [array-of-Objects]
move [minconf=1] [comment]
sendfrom [minconf=1] [comment] [comment-to]
sendmany {address:amount,...} [minconf=1] [comment]
sendtoaddress [comment] [comment-to]
setgenerate [genproclimit]
signrawtransaction [{"txid":txid,"vout":n,"scriptPubKey":hex,"redeemScript":hex},...] [,...] [sighashtype="ALL"]
submitblock [optional-params-obj]

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This site aims to provide the docs you need to understand Bitcoin and start building Bitcoin-based applications. Stop bitcoin server. N submitblock <hex data> [optional-params-obj] Attempts to submit new block to network. N validateaddress <bitcoinaddress> Return information about <bitcoinaddress>. N verifymessage <bitcoinaddress> <signature> <message> Verify a signed message. N walletlock: Removes the wallet encryption key from memory, locking the wallet ... NetworkParameters params; ... which is not a public network and requires you to run a bitcoin daemon with the -regtest flag yourself. Each network has its own genesis block, its own port number and its own address prefix bytes to prevent you accidentally trying to send coins across networks (which won’t work). These facts are encapsulated into a NetworkParameters singleton object. As you can ... Bitcoin Core integration/staging tree. Contribute to bitcoin/bitcoin development by creating an account on GitHub. getrawmempool¶. getrawmempool (verbose). Returns all transaction ids in memory pool as a json array of string transaction ids. Hint: use getmempoolentry to fetch a specific transaction from the mempool.

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