Switch Hacks - Backup and Restore NAND (EmuNAND Compatible)
hekate is a powerful bootloader for the Nintndo Switch with a variety of features and tools that will be helpful when using a hacked Switch. This guide will show you how to use hekate to backup your Switch’s internal storage (NAND) to a file on your PC so that you can restore it back to that moment at any time, in case anything ever goes wrong. This method can also be used to create a functioning EmuNAND from a previously made NAND backup.
If you are hacking your Switch for the first time, this is a great moment to create a clean NAND backup file so that you can always restore to the point before ever running homebrew on the Switch.
“The best backup is the one you never need, the worst backup is the one you never made.”
hekate also features an Auto-RCM setting that can allow your Switch to enter Recovery Mode (RCM) without using a jig every time. This is useful as you will need to enter RCM every time you boot into CFW after powering off.
Unpatched Nintendo Switch
- Not all Nintendo Switch consoles can be hacked; your Switch must be an earlier model (determined by the serial number) that is vulnerable to the fusee-gelee exploit
- Visit ismyswitchpatched.com and enter your Switch’s serial number (found on the white strip next to the USB port) to check if your Switch is hackable
- The serial number can also be found from the Nintendo Switch Home menu in [System Settings] -> [Settings] -> [Serial Information]
- A RCM Jig is required to enter your Switch into RCM mode (Recovery Mode)
- They are relatively cheap and easy to acquire online
- A USB-C to USB-A cable is required to connect your Nintendo Switch to your PC
- USB-C to USB-C cable can also be used if your computer features a USB-C port
- An SD card (and reader) is required to install and launch homebrew on your Nintendo Switch
- Your SD card must be formatted as FAT32 if your Switch does not have the ExFAT driver installed
- If you are unsure, use FAT32 to avoid errors.
- The ExFAT driver can be installed manually without updating firmware after successfully hacking the console
- 128GB or more is recommended for storing games
- 64GB or larger is required to make a full backup of your Switch so it is highly recommended as a minimum
Enter RCM and Boot into hekate
- Copy the
/bootloader/folder from the hekate
.zipto the root of your SD card
/bootloader/payloads/folder on your SD card
- Create a folder called
/payloads/on your PC
/payloads/on your PC
- Install TegraRcmGUI and the APX driver when promptedIf you are not prompted to install the APX driver, go to the [Settings] tab and click [Install Driver]
- Connect your Switch to your PC via USB and ensure it is powered off
- Enter RCM on your Nintendo Switch
- Insert your RCM Jig into the Right Joycon slot, sliding it all the way down
- Hold down the [Vol+] button and press the [Power] button, the Switch will now enter Recovery Mode (RCM) but the screen will stay off
- The icon in TegraRcmGUI should now read [RCM O.K.]
- Select the
hekate_ctcaer.binfile from the
/payloads/folder on your PC and click [Inject payload], your Nintendo Switch should now boot into HekateIf you are receiving errors or flash red / black screen when injecting your payload, it may be due to your SD card being formatted to exFAT. Reformat your SD card to FAT32 and re-attempt to push the payload.
Enable Auto-RCM (Optional)
AutoRCM will configure your Switch to always enter RCM upon powering on. You will no longer need an RCM jig as long as it is enabled, however your Switch will be unable to boot until a payload is injected. This is likely to lead to less wear on your joy con rail, and is the recommended way to avoid booting into stock and preserving your anti-downgrade fuses in case of an accidental update. This setting is completely safe and It is easily reversible from the Hekate menu.
- From the hekate menu, select [Tools]
- Select [Archive Bit – AutoRCM]
- Set [AutoRCM] to [ON]
- Select [Home] to return to the hekate main menu
Backup NAND to SD
- From the Hekate menu, select [Tools] -> [Backup eMMC]
- Select [eMMC BOOT0 & BOOT1] and wait for the process to completeToggle [SD emuMMC Raw Partition] to [ON] if you wish to create your backup from the EmuNAND partition
- Select [eMMC RAW GPP] and wait a while for the process to complete
- Select [Home] -> [Payloads] to and choose [Lockpick_RCM.bin]
- Press the [Power] button to dump your keys from SysNAND to the
/switch/folder on your SDUse the [Volume] buttons on your Switch to navigate the menu and the [Power] button to selectThis will backup your Switch’s encryption keys that are used for verifying games and software, important.
- Press any button to return to the menu and select [Power off]
- Insert your SD card into your PC
- Copy the
/backup/folder containing your NAND backup to a safe place on your PC
- Right-click the
/backup/folder and select [Send to] -> [Compressed (zipped) folder]This will save a large amount of storage on your PC as the backup file will be compressed from 32GB to as low as 4GB depending on your Switch’s internal storage before the backup
- Go to the
/switch/folder on your SD card
title.keysto the same safe location as your NAND backup file
Restoring NAND From Backup File
- Copy your
/backup/folder from your previously made NAND backup to the root of your SD card
- Go to the
rawnand.bin(including all its parts) to the
- Insert your SD into your Switch and push the
hekate_ctcaer.binwith TegraRcmGUI to boot into hekate
- Go to [Tools] -> [Restore eMMC]
- Select [eMMC BOOT0 & BOOT1] and press [Power] to confirmToggle [SD emuMMC Raw Partition] to [ON] if you wish to restore your backup to the EmuNAND partition only
- Select [eMMC RAW GPP] and wait a while for the process to completeIf you are restoring to a firmware that is lower than your previous version, it is important to ensure that Auto-RCM before rebooting in case your burnt fuses prevent your Switch from booting without CFW.
- Exit and power off your Switch
Congratulations on restoring your Switch system from a NAND backup file. Your SD card’s files will be unaffected by the process.