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Core dump

A core dump is a file containing the contents of memory at the time a program or computer crashed. It can be loaded into a debugger to get some idea of what the program was trying to do when it crashed.

In the early days of computing, computer memory was made of wires passing through tiny doughnut-shaped magnetic rings called cores. Hence the term "core" means memory. A dump is to transfer the content of the memory verbatim to record the state of the computer. In early days, a dump was actually a stack of computer printout a few hundred pages long containing all hexadecimal numbers. Programmers read these reports to investigate the cause of a crash.

The term is sometimes used on Usenet for a posting that describes what has been happening in the poster's life, especially if it involves emotional stress; the implication is that the material has not been edited or analyzed.