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Context English State
Full memory dumps
Hold the complete contents of physical memory.
Minidumps
Hold only memory pages in use by the kernel (FreeBSD 6.2 and higher).
Textdumps
Hold captured, scripted, or interactive debugger output (FreeBSD 7.1 and higher).
Minidumps are the default dump type as of FreeBSD 7.0, and in most cases will capture all necessary information present in a full memory dump, as most problems can be isolated only using kernel state.
Configuring the Dump Device
Before the kernel will dump the contents of its physical memory to a dump device, a dump device must be configured. A dump device is specified by using the <citerefentry><refentrytitle>dumpon</refentrytitle><manvolnum>8</manvolnum></citerefentry> command to tell the kernel where to save kernel crash dumps. The <citerefentry><refentrytitle>dumpon</refentrytitle><manvolnum>8</manvolnum></citerefentry> program must be called after the swap partition has been configured with <citerefentry><refentrytitle>swapon</refentrytitle><manvolnum>8</manvolnum></citerefentry>. This is normally handled by setting the <varname>dumpdev</varname> variable in <citerefentry><refentrytitle>rc.conf</refentrytitle><manvolnum>5</manvolnum></citerefentry> to the path of the swap device (the recommended way to extract a kernel dump) or <literal>AUTO</literal> to use the first configured swap device. The default for <varname>dumpdev</varname> is <literal>AUTO</literal> in HEAD, and changed to <literal>NO</literal> on RELENG_* branches (except for RELENG_7, which was left set to <literal>AUTO</literal>). On FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE and later versions, <application>bsdinstall</application> will ask whether crash dumps should be enabled on the target system during the install process.
Check <filename>/etc/fstab</filename> or <citerefentry><refentrytitle>swapinfo</refentrytitle><manvolnum>8</manvolnum></citerefentry> for a list of swap devices.
Make sure the <varname>dumpdir</varname> specified in <citerefentry><refentrytitle>rc.conf</refentrytitle><manvolnum>5</manvolnum></citerefentry> exists before a kernel crash!

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