An image is the currently loaded ECM configuration which contains the VIN. The image is saved as file for transport and manipulation. Essentially when it is on a computer or SD card or tuner it is a file, once it is installed on the ECM it is referred to as an image.
No idea why it is locking the ECM image like that, might be something in the OS of the Smarty is wrong or the existing image it has is out of date. What Smarty is loading is all pulled form Tech Authority to get the latest up dates to the ECM files then modified by the box tunes. If all else fails updated the handheld to the latest revision and try agian.
Ok I updated the smarty and nothing. I think I'm going to go with EFI Live. I hate the dealers in the area and they dont want to re flash the ECM with any guarantee that it will work after . Sucks I have a programmer already but wont work because smarty somehow put something in the file to not let it read and then want to sell you a clean file, which makes no sense. If your smarty is not supposed to do what it has done, why would you try to sell me a file that will unlock the read function??