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Dumping Save Data from a 3DS Console

How to Transfer 3DS Save Data to Citra

There are multiple ways to transfer 3DS save data to Citra in a usable form, but the important thing to note is that whatever tool used to get the save data off of the 3DS supports exporting expanded save data. Save data lives in Citra’s emulated SD card directories (user/sdmc/Nintendo 3DS/000...0/000...0/title/[game-TID-high]/[game-TID-low]/data/00000001/). The below tutorial uses Checkpoint, which is easy to install and use.

Required tools

  • A 3DS with boot9strap installed
  • Checkpoint.
  • SD card reader (preferred), or a way to use wireless file transfer

Installing Checkpoint

  1. Download Checkpoint from the link above.
  2. For cia installation, transfer the cia file to the SD card and install it with a cia installer such as FBI. For Rosalina-based Homebrew Launcher, transfer the 3dsx file to /3ds/ on the SD card. Hax-based Homebrew Launchers are not supported by Checkpoint.

Transferring Save Data

  1. Open Checkpoint. If this is the first time launching Checkpoint, it may take a considerably longer than usual depending on the amount of installed titles.
  2. Highlight the game you want to dump by navigating to it with the D-pad.
  3. Press A and select Backup on the bottom screen. You will be prompted Yes or No. Select Yes by pressing A.
  4. You will have the option to name the save folder. Name it whatever you want or use the name given to it. Press OK on the bottom screen.
  5. The top screen will flash a message Success! Progress correctly saved to disk. Exit out of Checkpoint.
  6. Transfer all files located in /3ds/Checkpoint/saves/[Game Name]/[Folder created in Step 4] to the computer.
  7. Place the files in Citra’s emulated SD card’s save directory. You can open the save directory by right-clicking on a game in Citra and clicking "Open Save Data Directory". If the directory doesn’t exist, start the game once and the directory will be created.
Example diagram showing the correct location of New Super Mario Bros. 2 save data in Citra’s User Directory.
"User directory"
└── sdmc
    └── Nintendo 3DS
        └── 00000000000000000000000000000000
            └── 00000000000000000000000000000000
                └── title
                    └── 00040000
                        └── 0007ae00
                            └── data
                                └── 00000001
                                    └── BigRedSave.dat