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In computing, a system image is a copy of the entire state of a computer system stored in some non-volatile form such as a file. A system is said to be capable of using system images if it can be shut down and later restored to exactly the same state. In such cases, system images can be used for backup.

Hibernation is an example that uses an image of the entire machine's RAM.

Disk images[edit]

If a system has all its state written to a disk, then a system image can be produced by simply copying that disk to a file elsewhere, often with disk cloning applications. On many systems a complete system image cannot be created by a disk cloning program running within that system because information can be held outside of disks and volatile memory, for example in non-volatile memory like boot ROMs.

Process images[edit]

A process image is a copy of its state at a given point in time. It is often used for persistence. A common example is a database management system (DBMS). Most DBMS can store the state of its database or databases to a file before being closed down (see database dump). The DBMS can then be restarted later with the information in the database intact and proceed as though the software had never stopped. Another example would be the hibernate feature of many operating systems. Here, the state of all RAM memory is stored to disk, the computer is brought into an energy saving mode, then later restored to normal operation.

Some emulators provide a facility to save an image of the system being emulated. This is often called a savestate.

Programming language support[edit]

Some programming languages provide a command to take a system image of a program. This is normally a standard feature in Smalltalk (inspired by FLEX) and Lisp, among other languages. Development in these languages is often quite different from many other programming languages. For example in Lisp the programmer may load packages or other code into a running Lisp implementation using the read-eval-print loop, which usually compiles the programs. Data is loaded into the running Lisp system. The programmer may then dump a system image, containing that pre-compiled and possibly customized code - and also all loaded application data. Often this image is an executable, and can be run on other machines. This system image can be the form in which executable programs are distributed — this method has often been used by programs (such as TeX and Emacs) largely implemented in Lisp, Smalltalk, or idiosyncratic languages to avoid spending time repeating the same initialization work every time they start up.

Similar, Lisp Machines were booted from Lisp images, called Worlds. The World contains the complete operating system, its applications and its data in a single file. It was also possible to save incremental Worlds, that contain only the changes from some base World. Before saving the World, the Lisp Machine operating system could optimize the contents of memory (better memory layout, compacting data structures, sorting data, ...).

Although its purpose is different, a "system image" is often similar in structure to a core dump.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_image — Please support Wikipedia.
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572 news items

 
Tom's Hardware Guide
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:19:32 -0700

After the successful installation of Windows 8 on a computer, administrators are strongly recommended to create a system image backup of the operating system. Administrators do so in order to get the system back up and running in case the operating ...
 
Android Police
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:59:51 -0700

Two days ago, Google Glass received the XE16 update that bumped the device up to KitKat, introduced photo bundles, brought in sorted voice commands, and added a number of other features. This release was different for a few reasons, the most notable of ...
 
TechRepublic
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 07:43:22 -0700

However, some people have encountered problems and so, just to be on the safe side, I recommend that you create a System Image Backup of your hard disk. That way, if anything out of the ordinary were to occur as you perform the update operation, you'll ...
 
BGR
Mon, 31 Mar 2014 11:44:37 -0700

Even though OnePlus revealed some of the One's hardware details – it's one of the most exciting Android handsets so far – it revealed precious little about what CyanogenMod 11S, the official operating system of the handset, will have to offer. The ...

Gotta Be Mobile

Gotta Be Mobile
Thu, 27 Mar 2014 12:07:30 -0700

Windows 8 also includes a utility that allows users to create a system image. System images literally allow Windows 8 users to go back to the state their computer was in the moment they created that exact image. It's not really meant as an everyday ...

Otago Daily Times

Otago Daily Times
Sat, 19 Apr 2014 10:39:55 -0700

An artist's impression of a possible cycle lane on Dunedin's southbound one-way system. Image supplied. Funding for the further development of cycle lane options proposed for Dunedin's one-way system has passed its first hurdle. The New Zealand ...

PaymentsSource

PaymentsSource
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 01:20:52 -0700

The restriction gives Apple an advantage if it plans to incorporate biometrics into a broader payment system. (Image: Bloomberg News). Quixter. Quixter, developed by an engineering student at Lund University in Sweden, allows shoppers to scan their ...
 
CNET (blog)
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 09:46:51 -0700

Your USB drive will automatically be detected, simply toggle the switch to enable the File History feature and click "Back up now." You can also create a system image in case you need to get your system back to the way it was before the update.
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