GUIDE: Hacking the Switch with SX OS - the guide i wish I had when I started

drewbuntu

Noob Account
Dec 21, 2018
7
1
<insert long, whiny story about how no one had published a guide that worked for me 100%>

There! Now that you know my reasoning for writing... yet ANOTHER guide, heres a guide that helped me accomplish my Switch hacking goals 100%!

Disclaimer: I have spent 5-10 hours reading tutorials, trying to figure this out myself. dont anything I saw as gospel. If your Switch gets banned, sorry. Following the steps below, mine did not. If I do get banned does, i will update this tutorial. Lastly, if youre reading this and a. incorrectly explain a concept / step b. do not provide enough detail and you had to go research something or c. think something could be updated, please LMK.

My Goals:
1. Play backedup cartridges without them physically present
2. Play emulators ps1 and below (n64 not working (yet))
3. Stream PC games

My starting point:
- Pre-July 2018 Switch
- FW 6.2
- SX Jig + OS
- 128GB microSD blank and formatted exFAT
note: the SX Pro comes with both jig & license. the Gear (dongle) can work like a pro, just buy a license


Overview

All of my listed goals require installing Homebrew, a generic term for apps that aren't included natively with the Switch. In order to install homebrew I need to exploit my switch, run a custom firm ware (CFW), and I need to do it safely, so I'll backup my original firmware and create a emuNAND which will create a copy of the switch system OS so my changes arent applied directly to the original firm ware (OFW).


Steps:

1. Set switch to 90dns
2. Download SX OS, SX Dumper and place at root of microsd
3. Replace joycon with jig and boot into RCM
4. Activate license (i did offline initially)
5. Dump NAND (backup) and save to PC !CRITICAL!
6. Create emuNAND
7. Install applications

Ban precautions:

1. 90DNS
2. Stealth mode (built into SX OS)
3. emuNAND


Lets begin! 1. Set switch to 90dns

A precautionary step, you should set your Switches DNS record to point to 90DNS. 90DNS does not forward requests to Nintendos content delivery network (CDN) which will help make sure you do not connect online at the wrong time, by accident. You will not be able to connect to the eShop while connected to 90DNS.

settings -> internet -> manual setup -> input your SSID (network name), password, etc.
- Primary DNS: `163.172.141.219`
- Secondary DNS: `45.248.48.62`


2. Download SX OS and place at root of microsd

All of the hacking / homebrew you use will be stored on your microsd. I recommend you format to exFAT.

download the latest sx os
unzip the package and place the `boot.dat` on the root filesystem: `/boot.dat`


3. Boot into RCM

recovery mode is pre-OS, it allows you to load custom firmware, backup your firmware, and other things

power off the Switch.
insert the microSD that now has `/boot.dat` on it, insert the jig, place the SX dongle (Gear or Pro) into the usb c.
boot into recovery mode (RCM): hold + volume and hold the power button.


4. Activate license (i did offline initially)

Because the SX Gear doesnt come with a license preloaded, I had to active. If you have a Pro you may not need to do this step.

press "load CFW"
if a popup to activate your licenses appears, follow the directions. I did mine offline (because i did not setup 90DNS first). but you can do yours online


5. Dump NAND (backup) and save to PC !CRITICAL!

I highly recommend you do this step next. It takes a while to complete and do the data transfer but its worth the wait! besides, you can research while its working

next we're going to do a backup of our system AS IS, before any changes.

boot into RCM mode
press "other options" -> NAND -> full backup (might say full raw backup or something)
once this finishes, remove your microsd, place into your pc, copy the backup folder to your desktop.

*ensure this folder is in a safe place (or multiple places). you can never get this back if you lose it and something happens to your switch!*


6. Create emuNAND

now we will create an emulated version of the NAND you just backed up. the idea is that you will do hacky stuff in the emulated NAND and mostly leave the CFW as is. this also allows you to run multiple firmware versions, but i havent done that yet.

boot into RCM mode (did you remember to put your micro SD back?)
other options -> emuNAND -> create

*note: this will erase your whole microsd. if you started with a blank SD, this should be fine for you to do.*


7. Install applications

we're mostly past the boring stuff! onto the MEAT! we will install the applications that let us actually complete our original goals!

GOAL 1. Play backedup cartridges without them physically present

SX Dumper: performs dumps of Switch games so you can play without the physical cartridges

- download from SX
- place the sxdumper.nro file at `/switch/sxdumper.nro`

How to perform a dump:

1. boot into CFW
2. click on the photo album to open the SX menu
3. scroll right to 'homebrew tab' and start sxdumper
4. insert a cartridge if you havent already
5. adjust options before starting:

options:
trim: remove unused space from backup (recommended 'yes')
splitting: split files. only if using FAT32 format on sdmc (fat32 cannot support files bigger than 4GB)
remove cert: removes unique identifier for YOUR GAME (that specific copy (cartridge or digital download)),
this is ideal if pirating or sharing. keep your cert include if you dont intend to share your backup
since its safer if you want to play online. recommended 'no'
*MORE:* keeping the cert and sharing could actually be OKAY... however, if someone else uses the same game
with the same cert and you both play online at the sametime, could result in a ban

GOAL 1 COMPLETED!


GOAL 2. Play emulators ps1 and below (n64 not working (yet))

Retro Arch: retro arch is a emulator platform that can play many emulators ("cores")

1. download retro arch and unzip. there are 2 main folders you need to place, 1: retroarch 2: switch
2. unzip contents and place on your SD card (try enabling FTP from SX menu so you dont have to remove your microsd)
3. place retroarch folder on the root `/retroarch`
4. place the contents of the switch folder inside your existing switch folder
5. place a rom anywhere on the switch filesystem

PS1 game:

1. load retroarch
2. download the ps1 core: online updater -> core updater -> Sony - PS1
3. enable threading: 2nd menu icon -> video -> threaded video (on)
4. play the game! load content -> point to your rom


GOAL 3.
Stream PC games

coming soon!
 
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Reactions: astrocapsule

drewbuntu

Noob Account
Dec 21, 2018
7
1
<insert long, whiny story about how no one had published a guide that worked for me 100%>

There! Now that you know my reasoning for writing... yet ANOTHER guide, heres a guide that helped me accomplish my Switch hacking goals 100%!

Disclaimer: I have spent 5-10 hours reading tutorials, trying to figure this out myself. dont anything I saw as gospel. If your Switch gets banned, sorry. Following the steps below, mine did not. If I do get banned does, i will update this tutorial. Lastly, if youre reading this and a. incorrectly explain a concept / step b. do not provide enough detail and you had to go research something or c. think something could be updated, please LMK.

My Goals:
1. Play backedup cartridges without them physically present
2. Play emulators ps1 and below (n64 not working (yet))
3. Stream PC games

My starting point:
- Pre-July 2018 Switch
- FW 6.2
- SX Jig + OS
- 128GB microSD blank and formatted exFAT
note: the SX Pro comes with both jig & license. the Gear (dongle) can work like a pro, just buy a license


Overview

All of my listed goals require installing Homebrew, a generic term for apps that aren't included natively with the Switch. In order to install homebrew I need to exploit my switch, run a custom firm ware (CFW), and I need to do it safely, so I'll backup my original firmware and create a emuNAND which will create a copy of the switch system OS so my changes arent applied directly to the original firm ware (OFW).


Steps:

1. Set switch to 90dns
2. Download SX OS, SX Dumper and place at root of microsd
3. Replace joycon with jig and boot into RCM
4. Activate license (i did offline initially)
5. Dump NAND (backup) and save to PC !CRITICAL!
6. Create emuNAND
7. Install applications

Ban precautions:

1. 90DNS
2. Stealth mode (built into SX OS)
3. emuNAND


Lets begin! 1. Set switch to 90dns

A precautionary step, you should set your Switches DNS record to point to 90DNS. 90DNS does not forward requests to Nintendos content delivery network (CDN) which will help make sure you do not connect online at the wrong time, by accident. You will not be able to connect to the eShop while connected to 90DNS.

settings -> internet -> manual setup -> input your SSID (network name), password, etc.
- Primary DNS: `163.172.141.219`
- Secondary DNS: `45.248.48.62`


2. Download SX OS and place at root of microsd

All of the hacking / homebrew you use will be stored on your microsd. I recommend you format to exFAT.

download the latest sx os
unzip the package and place the `boot.dat` on the root filesystem: `/boot.dat`


3. Boot into RCM

recovery mode is pre-OS, it allows you to load custom firmware, backup your firmware, and other things

power off the Switch.
insert the microSD that now has `/boot.dat` on it, insert the jig, place the SX dongle (Gear or Pro) into the usb c.
boot into recovery mode (RCM): hold + volume and hold the power button.


4. Activate license (i did offline initially)

Because the SX Gear doesnt come with a license preloaded, I had to active. If you have a Pro you may not need to do this step.

press "load CFW"
if a popup to activate your licenses appears, follow the directions. I did mine offline (because i did not setup 90DNS first). but you can do yours online


5. Dump NAND (backup) and save to PC !CRITICAL!

I highly recommend you do this step next. It takes a while to complete and do the data transfer but its worth the wait! besides, you can research while its working

next we're going to do a backup of our system AS IS, before any changes.

boot into RCM mode
press "other options" -> NAND -> full backup (might say full raw backup or something)
once this finishes, remove your microsd, place into your pc, copy the backup folder to your desktop.

*ensure this folder is in a safe place (or multiple places). you can never get this back if you lose it and something happens to your switch!*


6. Create emuNAND

now we will create an emulated version of the NAND you just backed up. the idea is that you will do hacky stuff in the emulated NAND and mostly leave the CFW as is. this also allows you to run multiple firmware versions, but i havent done that yet.

boot into RCM mode (did you remember to put your micro SD back?)
other options -> emuNAND -> create

*note: this will erase your whole microsd. if you started with a blank SD, this should be fine for you to do.*


7. Install applications

we're mostly past the boring stuff! onto the MEAT! we will install the applications that let us actually complete our original goals!

GOAL 1. Play backedup cartridges without them physically present

SX Dumper: performs dumps of Switch games so you can play without the physical cartridges

- download from SX
- place the sxdumper.nro file at `/switch/sxdumper.nro`

How to perform a dump:

1. boot into CFW
2. click on the photo album to open the SX menu
3. scroll right to 'homebrew tab' and start sxdumper
4. insert a cartridge if you havent already
5. adjust options before starting:

options:
trim: remove unused space from backup (recommended 'yes')
splitting: split files. only if using FAT32 format on sdmc (fat32 cannot support files bigger than 4GB)
remove cert: removes unique identifier for YOUR GAME (that specific copy (cartridge or digital download)),
this is ideal if pirating or sharing. keep your cert include if you dont intend to share your backup
since its safer if you want to play online. recommended 'no'
*MORE:* keeping the cert and sharing could actually be OKAY... however, if someone else uses the same game
with the same cert and you both play online at the sametime, could result in a ban

GOAL 1 COMPLETED!


GOAL 2. Play emulators ps1 and below (n64 not working (yet))

Retro Arch: retro arch is a emulator platform that can play many emulators ("cores")

1. download retro arch and unzip. there are 2 main folders you need to place, 1: retroarch 2: switch
2. unzip contents and place on your SD card (try enabling FTP from SX menu so you dont have to remove your microsd)
3. place retroarch folder on the root `/retroarch`
4. place the contents of the switch folder inside your existing switch folder
5. place a rom anywhere on the switch filesystem

PS1 game:

1. load retroarch
2. download the ps1 core: online updater -> core updater -> Sony - PS1
3. enable threading: 2nd menu icon -> video -> threaded video (on)
4. play the game! load content -> point to your rom


GOAL 3.
Stream PC games


Actually pretty simple with this guide: https://wccftech.com/nintendo-switch-streaming-pc-games/

Hope this was helpful!
 

moler

Junior Member
May 15, 2019
12
1
Denmark
Nice guide.very simple and easy to use.
Have you experienced any problems with sd card formatted to ex-fat?
did you need to update the switch in order to accept the sd card formatted as ex-fat?

Things to include could be :
how to update xci games and add dlc content
how to restore system with the nand backup
 

Tainted

Noob Account
Aug 6, 2019
9
1
None
Can I ask:
remove cert: removes unique identifier for YOUR GAME (that specific copy (cartridge or digital download)),


Is this the same process to backup your digital download eShop purchased games?
 

moler

Junior Member
May 15, 2019
12
1
Denmark
Nice guide.very simple and easy to use.
Have you experienced any problems with sd card formatted to ex-fat?
did you need to update the switch in order to accept the sd card formatted as ex-fat?

Things to include could be :
how to update xci games and add dlc content
how to restore system with the nand backup
My switch needed update when I inserted exfat sdcard
I just put dlc content in the root of sdcard and install with sxos installer