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Tools:Memory Imaging

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Memory Imaging Tools

x86 Hardware

WindowsSCOPE CaptureGUARD PCIe card (commercial) - desktops, servers
Publicly available, supports Windows XP through Windows 10
CaptureGUARD Gateway enables DRAM acquisition even on locked computers
Inquire at
WindowsSCOPE CaptureGUARD ExpressCard (commercial) - laptop applications
Publicly available, supports Windows XP through Windows 10
CaptureGUARD Gateway enables DRAM acquisition even on locked computers
Inquire at
Tribble PCI Card (research project)
CoPilot by Komoku
Komoku was acquired by Microsoft and the card was not made publicly available.
Forensic RAM Extraction Device (FRED) by BBN
Not publicly available.

Windows Software

There are many Windows memory acquisition tools. Most of them will not work on Windows Vista or 7, as user programs have been denied access to the \Device\Physicalmemory object starting in Windows 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows Vista. Modern tools acquire physical memory by first installing a device driver, so administrative privileges are needed.

We have edited this list so that it only includes current tools:

Belkasoft Live RAM Caputer
This free forensic tool, unlike many others, works in kernel-mode, which allows bypassing proactive anti-debugging protection used by many modern applications such as online games and intrusion detection systems. Kernel-mode operation yields more reliable results compared to user-mode tools.
Designed specifically for computer forensics. Fully portable, runs off a flash drive, produces uncompressed raw binary output of the computer’s volatile memory. Includes kernel-mode drivers for all Windows OS’es including XP, Vista, 7, 8, 2003 and 2008 Server. 32 and 64-bit drivers are included.
WindowsSCOPE Cyber Forensics, available at
Can capture, analyze, graph in depth physical and virtual memory codes and structures
Proprietary and standard formats (windd), snapshot repository, snapshot comparison
All Windows OSs (XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1, 10), 32 and 64 bit supported
Phantom Probe USB based fetch
CaptureGUARD PCIe card and ExpressCard for hardware-assisted DRAM acquisition
CaptureGUARD Gateway enables DRAM acquisition of locked computers
Launched in 2011
winen.exe (Guidance Software - included with Encase 6.11 and higher)
included on Helix 2.0
Mdd (Memory DD) (ManTech)
Can capture and analyze memory. Supports reading dumps (raw/dd format) from other tools.
This utility is used to generate a physical memory dump of Windows machines. It works with both x86 (32-bits) and x64 (64-bits) machines.
The raw memory dump is generated in the current directory, only a confirmation question is prompted before starting.
Perfect to deploy the executable on USB keys, for quick incident responses needs.
Fastdump and Fastdump Pro
Fastdump (free with registration) Can acquire physical memory on Windows 2000 through Windows XP 32 bit but not Windows 2003 or Vista.
Fastdump Pro Can acquire physical memory on Windows 2000 through Windows 2008, all service packs. Additionally, Fastdump Pro supports:
-32 bit and 64 bit architectures
-Acquisitions of greater than 4GB
-Fast acquisitions through the use of larger page sizes (1024KB) but also supports a strict mode that enforces 4KB page sizes.
-Process probing which allows for a more complete memory image of a process of interest.
-Acquisition of the system page file during physical memory acquisition. This allows for a more complete memory analysis.
FTK Imager
FTK Imager
FTK Imager can acquire live memory and paging file on 32bit and 64bit systems.
OSForensics can acquire live memory on 32bit and 64bit systems. A dump of an individual process's memory space or physical memory dump can be done. Output can be a straight dump or a Microsoft crash dump file, for use with Micrsoft's WinDbg debugger.
WinPmem is a free, actively developed, opensource forensic memory acquisition tool for Windows. It supports Windows XP to Windows 8, both 32 and 64 bit architectures. It can produce raw dumps as well as dumps in crashdump format (for analysis with Volatility or windbg). It supports output to STDOUT for piping the dump through tools like netcat or ssh. WinPmem can be used together with the Volatility Technology Preview to analyse a live windows system for live response and triaging.
Windows Memory Reader
Windows Memory Reader is a simple command-line utility to capture the contents of physical RAM. Results are stored in a Windows crash dump or raw binary file. Researchers can also use Windows Memory Reader to capture memory-mapped device data, such as shared video memory. Windows Memory Reader supports Windows XP through Windows 8, both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and is available free of charge.


Linux Memory Extractor (LiME) is a Loadable Kernel Module (LKM), which allows the acquisition of volatile memory from Linux and Linux-based devices, such as those powered by Android. The tool supports dumping memory either to the file system of the device or over the network.
Linux Memory Grabber by Hal Pomeranz
a tool to create Linux Volatility profiles and dump memory (using LiME) from an USB Key, without installation on local HDD. Very useful
On Red Hat systems (and those running related distros such as Fedora or CentOS), the crash driver can be loaded to create pseudo-device /dev/crash for raw physical memory access (via command "modprobe crash"). This module can also be compiled for other Linux distributions with minor effort (see, for example, When the crash driver is modified, compiled, and loaded on other systems, the resulting memory access device is not safe to image in its entirety. Care must be taken to avoid addresses that are not RAM-backed. On Linux, /proc/iomem exposes the correct address ranges to image, marked with "System RAM".
On older Linux systems, the program dd can be used to read the contents of physical memory from the device file /dev/mem. On recent Linux systems, however, /dev/mem provides access only to a restricted range of addresses, rather than the full physical memory of a system. On other systems it may not be available at all. Throughout the 2.6 series of the Linux kernel, the trend was to reduce direct access to memory via pseudo-device files. See, for example, the message accompanying this patch:
Second Look: Linux Memory Forensics
This commercial memory forensics product ships with a modified version of the crash driver and a script for safely dumping memory using the original or modified driver on any given Linux system.
fmem is kernel module that creates device /dev/fmem, similar to /dev/mem but without limitations. This device (physical RAM) can be copied using dd or other tool. Works on 2.6 Linux kernels. Under GNU GPL.
lmap and pmem
pmem is a loadable kernel module that exposes /dev/pmem. lmap allows to inject the pmem functionality into existing kernel modules to bypass having to build a pmem kernel module for every different kernel version.

Mac OS X

Goldfish is a Mac OS X live forensic tool. Its main purpose is to provide an easy to use interface to dump the system RAM of a target machine via a Firewire connection. It then automatically extracts the current user login password and any open AOL Instant Messenger conversation fragments that may be available. Please see [1] for more information.
Mac Memory Reader
Mac Memory Reader is a simple command-line utility to capture the contents of physical RAM. Results are stored in a Mach-O binary or raw data file. Mac Memory Reader is available free of charge. It executes directly on 32- and 64-bit target machines running Mac OS X 10.4 through 10.7 and requires a PowerPC G4 or newer, or any Intel processor.
The OSX Memory Imager is an open source tool to acquire physical memory on an Intel based Mac. The imager supports multiple output formats, at the moment these are Mach-O, ELF and zero-padded RAW.


Qemu allows you to dump the memory of a running image using pmemsave.
e.g. pmemsave 0 0x20000000 /tmp/dumpfile
Xen allows you to live dump the memory of a guest domain using the dump-core command.
You can list the available machines to find the host machine you care about using xm list and see the configuration.
Dumping is a matter of sudo xm dump-core -L /tmp/dump-core-6 6
One way to make a memory dump on ESXi is to make a snapshot of the running instance. This can be done using one of the
client side tools for ESXi, but also on the ESXi ssh shell.
To make a snapshot on the ESXi ssh shell the following commands can be used:
  • vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms
  • vim-cmd vmsvc/get.summary vmid | grep [some identity e.g. ip address if name is not known]
  • vim-cmd vmsvc/snapshot.create vmid [snapshotName] [snapshotDescription] [includeMemory (thus 1)] [quiesced]
the .vmsn file can be copied from the ESXi using e.g. scp
volatility can be used to convert the memdump into a raw dump. In my experience it is not possible to use volatility directly on the non-converted dump.

See Also