Tutorial Cleaning up NAND to play online safely

lordelan

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Important note

This only works if your Switch hasn't ever been online. If it was, you might already be banned for whatever reason OR Nintendo has some kind of a "log snapshot" that will be different from the one that will be created once you go online again with your Switch at the end of this tutorial (leading to a ban).
The only use case for this is, if you have a Switch, that never went online (!) and you started using CFW/NSPs/Homebrew WITHOUT creating a clean NAND dump BEFORE.


I had a friend that never went online but also never created a NAND dump and started using all the custom firmware niceness as it came out. Now that it's easy to create an emuNAND for that, he wanted to go online with his sysNAND. @shchmue helped me out on Discord cleaning up his NAND to remove all logs and afterwards he indeed was able to play online (and still is).

Obviously I'm not responsible for any bricks or other bad and explosives things happening to you following this.
Also I can't guarantee it will work as intended and/or you won't be banned. There's a thousand reasons the latter could happen (or already happened for whatever reason). However this guide is the only way for this specific use case and should work.


Steps

Since this involves using memloader and HacDiskMount to mount your NAND (aka eMMC) in Windows, I'll save myself a lot of time by pointing you to Raj's fantastic guide (because why writing everything down another time?) so let's get started:
  1. Use hekate (faster and probably better than SX OS) to create a NAND backup (aka eMMC dump). Dump both, Boot0/1 and the full raw NAND.
    Seriously this is like the most important step ever! If anything goes wrong or you accidentally delete one more thing than you should, restoring your NAND backup only takes around 15 - 20 minutes in hekate and lets you start over.
    1. Optional: Create an emuNAND/emuMMC out of your current "hacky" sysNAND to continue using CFW there after your sysNAND is clean.
  2. If you haven't ever used your Switch in combination with your computer you need to install the USB drivers first. You can follow the first step of this guide to do so.
  3. Follow this guide by Rajkosto to the point where you are able to mount your NAND in Windows.
  4. Mount the USER partition and delete everything on it. Unmount it afterwards.
  5. Mount the SYSTEM partition and delete everything on it except these two things:

    content (folder)
    8000000000000120 (file that is inside the save folder)

    Unmount if afterwards.
That's it! You should end up with only two folders and nothing else on your SYSTEM partition: content and save.
And inside that save folder you deleted everything except that single file I mentioned above (8000000000000120).

Credits

@shchmue for telling me exactly what to do
@rajkosto for his HacDiskMount guide and all his fantastic tools
@CTCaer for his work on hekate (dumping/restoring NAND is so fast and easy nowadays)
@m4xw for making my life complete with his libnx RetroArch port (actually not related to this guide but had to mention it)
 

KHANV1CT

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Following. I doubt I'll ever need to bring my Switch online though. I really can't remember if my Switch has ever been online, I KNOW it has never accessed the eShop though.
 
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lordelan

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Does downloading updates count?
Count for what?
If you downloaded an update the official way (either eShop or plus menu of game) Nintendo has a timestamp of your console, yes.
I can't garantee it in that case but you might be lucky.
 

lordelan

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I thought the same, just confirming. Ill try it anyways. Thanks for the info.
If that helps, here's what I did with my own Switch without getting banned (just to let you know):
  • used some homebrews with PegaSwitch hbmenu on 3.0.0
  • made a NAND backup on 3.0.0
  • used SX OS when it came out to launch XCIs (was on 4.1.0 at that time)
  • updated those XCIs the official way (very foolish but wasn't aware of those things)
  • used some homebrews
  • stayed completely offline from that point
  • went to 8.1.0
Then when m4xw came up with his emuMMC solution:
  • turned my NAND into an emuMMC
  • restored that "dirty" 3.0.0 backup to sysNAND
  • used ChoiDujourNX to update sysNAND to 4.1.0 (since that was the FW I've been online with the last time)
  • used official way (system settings) to update sysNAND
Didn't get banned there. So you never know what gets you banned and what not.

Still I don't garantee you will be lucky if you ever went online. :P
 

DontShootUp

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Do I need to do this is I haven't gone online with CFW at any point? I made an emunand as soon as I got my switch and haven't touched my sysnand or connected to a Nintendo server since. Would I still benefit from this?

Sorry for the noobish question.
 

DragonPunch

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Do I need to do this is I haven't gone online with CFW at any point? I made an emunand as soon as I got my switch and haven't touched my sysnand or connected to a Nintendo server since. Would I still benefit from this?

Sorry for the noobish question.
Im still noob myself but if you did not do anything on your sysnand you would not need to clean it as it never had anything illegal installed?
 

lordelan

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Do I need to do this is I haven't gone online with CFW at any point? I made an emunand as soon as I got my switch and haven't touched my sysnand or connected to a Nintendo server since. Would I still benefit from this?

Sorry for the noobish question.
Since you wrote you never went online with CFW it sounds like you were using homebrews. Did you even install NSPs? In that case your log is full of ban worthy things and you're done as soon as that is commited to Nintendo by going online.
So yes, to be sure I'd follow the guide.
In fact it's made for your exact case.
 
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DontShootUp

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Since you wrote you never went online with CFW it sounds like you were using homebrews. Did you even install NSPs? In that case your log is full of ban worthy things and you're done as soon as that is commited to Nintendo by going online.
So yes, to be sure I'd follow the guide.
In fact it's made for your exact case.

Thank you! I wasnt sure if I was safe since everything was done on emunand.
 

ClintYip_92122

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I modded my switch for the first time yesterday
- Booted into Hekate for the first time
- Took a sysNAND backup
- created emuMMC

I have never booted into sysNAND with Atmosphere.

Do i still need to do the steps you've listed to ensure i have a clean sysNAND for online legit games?
 

Zris96

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I used this metod to clean my nand back in june/july when atmosphere emummc compatibility launch and i'm playing online right now with my switch... I never make a nand backup before I use CFW in my switch so i had no other option than have faith... I don't know if it was just luck or something, but if you won't be able to play online anyway, it's worth to try (if you know what you're doing of course, because there's always a risk of brick).
 

michaelcast2007

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hey guys my switch online is working again ! can you believe it? i was reading through this thread and thought maybe i need to create sysnad, but it is working online again :) i thought nintendo banned me but i am in the clear now, how do i prevent future ban?
 
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