Getting a kernel crash dump

Matt Dillon posted this little note on how to get a kernel crash dump, which seems a good idea to archive – this may be useful again:

The best way is to get a kernel crash dump. If your swap area (typically ad0s1b) is large enough to accomodoate main memory, then ‘dumpon /dev/ad0s1b’ (and put ‘dumpdev=/dev/ad0s1b’ in your /etc/rc.conf), and then when it crashed and drops into DDB> type ‘panic’ and hit return twice and it should hopefully generate a crash dump.

For the crash dump to be really useful having the kernel.debug for the kernel that you are running is important. kernel.debug is built automatically when you buildkernel, but only the stripped ‘kernel’ version is actually installed. kernel.debug should still be sitting in the kernel build object directory which is usually /usr/obj/usr/src/sys/<KERNELNAME> (if you used ‘buildkernel’ to build your kernel).