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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]

Main article: Disk image

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.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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658 news items

 
Denton Record Chronicle
Fri, 11 Jul 2014 20:37:11 -0700

A Windows System Image does everything the cloud storage does, but with one major difference. It backs up everything! That means not only do your precious documents and photos get saved, but also things like all your installed programs. Admit it right now.

Columbus CEO

Columbus CEO
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 16:03:45 -0700

If I made a system image on a spare internal hard drive externally, could I use this spare to replace the crashed hard drive to fix the problem? If not, is a recovery disk/USB along with a system image on an external hard drive the best way to fix the ...
 
Network World
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 05:45:00 -0700

Cisco also rolled out a new Nexus switch for small, space-constrained aggregation designs. The Nexus 3164 is a 64-port 40G QSFP fixed switch that runs the same NX-OS operating system image on the Nexus 9000 series switches. The Nexus 3164 is priced ...
 
FedTech Magazine
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:03:45 -0700

PBGC may have found a solution in Microsoft Windows To Go, a fully manageable, enterprise operating system image installed on a bootable, certified USB drive. A user inserts the drive into any USB port of any system to create a secure instance of the ...

AnandTech

AnandTech
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:03:09 -0700

Windows 8 is even better, having the most feature-rich WinPE environment, with native bare-metal recovery (easily restore any system image to any hardware configuration without generalizing) but Windows 8 is hated on in corporate sectors, so us IT ...

Latin Post

Latin Post
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:15:00 -0700

... been released by Google and it can be installed on the Nexus 5 or the Nexus 7, it is not yet advised to do so especially if the device is your main smartphone or tablet. According to Google, it is merely a preview system image and is not yet a ...
 
Streetsblog Capitol Hill (blog)
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:19:01 -0700

Rights-of-way controlled by the Houston utility company CenterPoint (the dotted lines) could combine with trails planned as part of the Bayou Greenways system (the blue lines) to create a grid of off-street biking and walking routes covering much of ...
 
ZDNet
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:27:16 -0700

The only safe way is to bypass the software installed on the PC by booting off a CD or USB key with an operating system image you control and trust. Obviously the computer needs to be configured to allow you to boot of the removable media. There are ...
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