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Is it possible to undo the entire computer's memory to five minutes in the past? For example, a text editor would be at a state of a 5 minutes ago as well as the web browser's state would also be at X minutes ago. The virtual machine and forensic software seems to be for analyzing the memory, but I have no need to do this, just to jump back 5 minutes ago. It's not necessarily relevant that it be exactly 5 minutes ago, but what I'm envisioning with this is a program that would have screenshots of the last half a dozen time states of the entire computer and being able to swap back to an arbitrary state 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes ago for example.

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It is possible to take snapshots periodically, but recording every state change of the entire RAM would take an enormous amount of disk space and slow down the system to the point of being unusable. The nearest thing that exists is taking snapshots of virtual machines, but even those have a very significant disk space cost and they can't "continuously" trap all operations on the system. In short, no, doing this would take up too much disk space, because RAM changes too frequently. – allquixotic Jan 11 '13 at 21:23
This doesn't need to be taking a snapshot continuously, but let's say "on the 8s" like the weather on the radio. This project is of great interest to my boss, so if it requires many physical computers that fine. If there's ANY way to do this, I need to get it done, but have no idea really where to begin this unusual project. – user114558 Jan 11 '13 at 21:46
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Short of Hypervisor based snapshots (which are outside the o/s), this is not possible.

Edit to add that snapshots are suited to temporary use (snapshot before a major change in case of rollback, then delete), not for a long-term project like you're suggesting.

These two VMware KB articles discuss snapshots and their best practices:

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That's fine, could you explain this in more detail? – user114558 Jan 11 '13 at 21:41
If you use VirtualBox or VMware Workstation to run your daily OS in, where you do all your work, you can take snapshots of both RAM and the disk together at any interval you like. You could probably also write a script or call the VirtualBox or VMware API to do it at arbitrary intervals. Be aware however that even if you only take a snapshot once every few hours, it will consume LOADS of disk space. The problem is worse the larger your VM in terms of RAM and disk and the more I/O you do. – allquixotic Jan 12 '13 at 17:19

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