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Crashed program memory dump

Saves your data in any but the worst crash
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This Operating System feature or utility would save all memory used by a crashed program, and sift through it for usable data in the appropriate format.
Voice, May 07 2007

Wikipedia: Core dump http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_dump
[jutta, May 07 2007]

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       Like a unix core dump then? Or the memory dump that's initiated by the Windows BSOD? I suppose both of these are OS memory dumps rather than application ones.   

       I'm sure this is possible, but if you're going to use an external program to do this, you're going to have to coopt the os into telling you which bits of memory are in use by which programs.
zen_tom, May 07 2007
  

       This is something (minus the sifting, which you can use other programs - "debuggers" - for) that Unix, and before it other systems, have been doing for more than twenty years. If Windows doesn't do it, it's not because they don't know of it.
jutta, May 07 2007
  

       A core dump doesnt count. Theres no one utility that takes dumps and then finds your data in the programs in the appropriate format, and the masses don't use debuggers, nor would they recognise one if it bit them in the woozer. Also most debuggers are used for debugging, not data recovery.   

       Anyway, I'm proposing a utility that would know enough to recognize a, for example, MS Word dump, look in it for the kinds of file formats Word can use, and recover them from Data Purgatory. All without the user having to know a bit from a pointer.   

       Therefore, not widly known to exist.
Voice, May 09 2007
  

       OK, no problem. (If you wanted to, you could avoid pushing my buttons by explicitly acknowledging existing practice in the idea itself ("this is like the well-known X, but in addition, it also does Y"), and by not restricting your invention to a single operating system. (Mac applications crash, too!))
jutta, May 10 2007
  

       Think how many help-desk admins would be deprived of their sadistic pleasure derived from wagging fingers disapprovingly at users and telling them not to go so long between saves...! This would be good for badly written programs, granted, there are lots, but much better is just not to have a program that erects a tottering house of cards only in memory assuming that no force of nature (including its own bad design) is going to blow it down.
conskeptical, May 10 2007
  

       Problem: the way your document is stored in memory while you're working on it may not bear any resemblance to the way it's stored on disk. A simple text editor may just keep the document in one big buffer, but something like MS Word or Excel almost certainly does not. So, rather than looking for "the kinds of file formats Word can use" in the memory dump, you'll have to look for lots of little data structures representing individual paragraphs, formatting options, etc. - which may be linked all over the place via pointers, rather than being in anything like consecutive order - and you'd have to know quite a bit about the undocumented workings of the software in question.
hob, May 11 2007
  
      
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