1. arawitch

    OP arawitch Member
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    I just got my SX Core installed, and was quickly overwhelmed afterwards as a newcomer to Switch homebrew scene by the sheer amount of options, information and "best practices". This guide is aimed for those who've recently got into homebrew with their Mariko (v2, 2019) Switches, and will hopefully cover the most essential parts of what to do next right after you're done with installing SX Core.

    Disclaimer: As mentioned, I've only recently got interested in the scene as well. So there might be mistakes and missing parts in this guide. Please feel free to comment if you notice any. This guide in no way makes any guarantees to you, so take anything below with a grain of salt. Don't PM me if your Switch is now broken or some homebrew app killed your cat.

    0) Prerequisites
    • SX Core installed to your Mariko (v2) Switch as described in Xecuter website.
    • SX License activated through the Xecuter license page.
    • A microSD card: min. 64 GB, half of it (around 30GB) will be used by emunand. 128 GB is recommended. I use 512GB.
      • SD Cards nowadays are super cheap, and major titles can easily take 10 - 30 GB each, so when in doubt, go for the bigger one.
      • Check this guide here: https://www.nintendolife.com/guides/best-nintendo-switch-micro-sd-cards for the tips around speed & class of the SD card, it's important.
      • It's recommended to format this card to FAT32 first. Switch tends to format bigger cards (>64 GB?) exFat, so you'll need to do this on your PC.
    So basically you need a Nintendo Switch that is ready to boot into CFW and has a sufficiently large microSD card.

    For better protection, do not connect your Switch to Internet until you're done with this guide.

    Tip: Ideally your Switch should be on the most recent supported firmware version. Currently 11.0.0 is, and most recent firmware (11.0.1) is not supported by SXOS. If you're on the most recent version, please read Appendix A below to learn more about Atmosphere.


    1) First things first: backups
    No, not those juicy "backups" you'd like to play until morning. I mean NAND backups. This is a very important step, as it might save you if/when your console is bricked for one reason or another, or if you'd like to ever go back to pre-CFW state of your Switch. DO NOT SKIP THIS.

    NAND backup
    • Hold volume up button while powering up Switch to open up SX OS boot manager.
    • Select "Options", and then "NAND" from the sidebar.
    • Click on Dump NAND.
    • Wait until it's done. This will take a long time, easily an hour or so.
    • After it's finished, power off your Switch. Take out the SD card and plug it into your computer.
    • In sxos/backup/ directory you will see "boot0", "boot1" and a multi-part big file (that is your raw NAND), copy all of them to your computer.
    • After copying is done, remove the files from your SD card.
    • Make sure you never, ever lose those files. Upload them to cloud, take another backup elsewhere etc.
    Tip: Since Raw NAND backup is rather large (around 30GB), it's a good idea to compress this file afterwards. It'll probably be compressed really well.
    Tip #2: It's a good idea to check md5sums of files on your SD Card and your PC before deleting it from the card, to verify integrity.

    Creating an emuNAND
    An emuNAND is useful in multiple ways:
    • It lets you do all the hackery in a duplicate system that boots from your SD card, so you can still boot to a clean system if need arises (for playing games legitimately owned, or if your emuNAND is corrupted etc)
    • While it's not going to protect you %100 from bricks, it's still an additional protection against misbehaving or incompatible hacks, bugs etc.

    Okay now the guide:
    • Again, open up SX OS boot manager as described above.
    • Select "Options" and then "EmuNAND". Click on "Create EmuNAND".
    • It's up to you to decide if you'd like to have a hidden partition or a flat file.
      • An hidden partition is better protected against accidental deletion by user or apps, and also "might" provide better protection against Nintendo's checks.
      • A flat file is easier to backup & restore if your SD card becomes corrupted.
    • This will take a long time. Expect more than an hour, possibly two or more.
    • After it reports successfully completed, reboot your Switch.
    • Hold "volume up" button again to show SX OS boot manager.
    This time you'll see an orange "EmuNAND enabled" button over boot into CFW option. If you see this, now you have an emuNAND. Now click on "Boot custom FW" to boot from your EmuNAND.

    From now on whenever you power up your Nintendo Switch, it will boot into EmuNAND-backed CFW, so you don't have to hold "volume up" and pick that option yourself.

    The "Album" app
    Before the next step, this is a good time to introduce you to the "Album" if you haven't been already.

    Normally Album is an official app for you to view your screenshots & videos. It's the third application (blue icon) on the bottom row of your home menu.

    SXOS replaces Nintendo's Album app with its own app, and this app offers capability to mount XCI, run homebrew, cheats, FTP server etc. among other things. Take a quick look into it now to get familiar.

    Tip: Fret not, your official Album app is still there! If you hold "L" button (not ZL) and launch Album, it will open the official Album.

    Backing up your keys
    • Power off your Switch, take out the SD card and plug it into your computer.
    • Download lockpick.nro (v1.2.6) from here: https://github.com/shchmue/Lockpick/releases
    • Copy lockpick.nro to your SD card root.
    • Plug the SD card back to Switch and power it on.
    • Go to Album App, find Lockpick under "Homebrew" section and run it.
    • Once you run lockpick it will dump your keys to SD card. Now you can close the app.
    • Power off your Switch, take out the SD card and plug it into your computer.
    • Find prod.keys file and copy it to your PC. Take multiple backups of this file.
    2) Homebrew Store
    Okay now we're done with backups! And ready for more exciting stuff: Homebrew Store!

    Homebrew Store is the place where you can find many apps from the community: some very useful software, themes, games, emulators etc.


    Okay, now the guide:
    • Go to https://github.com/fortheusers/hb-appstore/releases and download the latest appstore.nro
    • Power off your Switch, take out the SD card and plug it into your computer.
    • Copy appstore.nro to your SD card root.
    • Plug the SD card back to Switch and power it on.
    • Go to Album App, find HB App Store under "Homebrew" section.
    • Since you don't have Internet yet, leave Homebrew Store here for now. You can always come back to it later.
    Now you have Homebrew Store. Be careful that not everything you see there is good for your Switch, and especially since you have a Mariko Switch -which is only very recently became capable of running homebrew- some applications there won't properly support your device and might lead to bricks.

    Always check this GBATemp thread: https://gbatemp.net/threads/sx-core-mariko-list-of-non-compatible-tools.567803/ before installing something.

    3) Measures against getting banned
    Now it's the time to take some precautions against getting banned.

    Most important thing to know here is that this is no exact science. You can follow everything here and more, and you might still get banned. Bear in mind that you're basically running closed-source software from a company that wants to monitor your usage. Embrace the ban. If you're not willing to get a ban, CFW is a poor choice for your Switch.

    Stealth Mode
    SX OS has a feature called Stealth Mode. I can't tell you what it exactly does, as it doesn't seem to be documented, or reachable over a casual Google search. Anyway it's better to have it then not.


    By default Stealth Mode is enabled. So all you need is to verify it indeed is:
    • Launch Album app.
    • Go to Options tab.
    • If you see Stealth Mode is ENABLED, you're done.
    • If it's DISABLED, enable it.
    Incognito
    Incognito is an homebrew app that removes some identifiable information from PRODINFO. Bear in mind that, it doesn't mean it removes ALL identifiable information. So this does not offer %100 protection against bans.

    IMPORTANT NOTES:
    • Only use the Incognito.nro file below. Do not install it from somewhere else. This will also protect you from installing "incognito_rcm" by accident, which is a guaranteed brick for Mariko Switches.
    • It's reported that in some rare cases Incognito.nro might brick a Mariko Switch as well. If this happens to you, you will need to recreate the EmuNAND.

    Now we took it out of the way, we can start with the guide:
    • Power off your Switch, take out the SD card and plug it into your computer.
    • Download Incognito from here: https://github.com/blawar/incognito/releases (v1.5)
    • Copy incognito.nro to your SD card root.
    • Plug the SD card back to Switch and power it on.
    • Go to Album App, find Incognito under "Homebrew" section and run it.
    • It will ask you to confirm the operation. Confirm it.
      • Even though Incognito creates a backup of your PRODINFO.bin, You must have followed the previous steps and created a NAND backup and prod.keys backup as well.
    • After Incognito is done, power off your Switch, take out the SD card and plug it into your computer.
    • Find backups/PRODINFO.bin file and copy it to your PC and multiple places.
      • Losing this file and/or NAND backups will mean you've now effectively banned yourself. Don't lose them.
    • Now you're done.
    90dns
    90dns is a volunteer DNS service that makes it harder for your Switch to contact Nintendo by blocking requests on DNS level. This is of course not perfect by nature, but still offers an additional layer of protection.

    90dns has some drawbacks:
    • It tends to mess up your system clock if time is set automatically. So don't be surprised if your Switch starts showing wrong date/time or Tinfoil starts acting up because of SSL validity checks.
      • You can manually set the correct date & time.
    • It might affect your download speeds. Though I haven't noticed anything major myself, this is indeed possible if it messes up CDN geolocation etc.
    If you'd like to enable this extra protection, GBATemp already has a guide on how to enable it: https://gbatemp.net/threads/90dns-dns-server-for-blocking-all-nintendo-servers.516234/

    Tip: You can also use "90dns testing utility" from Homebrew Store to verify that it works.

    Disabling error telemetry
    Now, open up Settings, and go to "System" tab. There you will see "Share Error Information" option, make sure it's off.

    ---
    And now you have enabled the most popular ways of ban evasion to hopefully decrease your chances of getting a ban. After this, you might want to take up some principles as well. What principles you take up is up to you, as I've mentioned, there is no exact science.

    Most effective way is to never let your Switch go online ever, but that'll also be quite limiting. My personal way is as follows, mind that it's based on just my "gut feeling" and nothing more:
    • I never launch games while online, and never ever login to eShop or let Switch update titles on its own when prompted.
    • I keep my switch on Flight Mode all the time, except when I'm installing homebrew or if for some reason I need Internet connectivity.
      • Hint: By default Flight Mode will also disable BT (remote joycons won't work) and NFC (amiibo). This behaviour can be easily changed from Settings. (Sadly doesn't seem to be retained for long)
      • Hint: You can't enable Flight Mode while your Switch is docked. Always enable Flight Mode before you dock your Switch, then it will keep the last mode.
    If you're not going to ever go online (best protection), then of course it's better to simply remove all known WiFi devices as well from Settings.

    Now you're done with the measures, you can set up your WiFi connection if you prefer, or not.

    4) Installing Tinfoil
    Tinfoil is a title management app. It lets you install backups, manage installed games, has a file explorer and such.

    • You can install Tinfoil downloading the NRO here: https://tinfoil.io/Download
    • By this point you already know what to do next: get the NRO and other files in your SD card root, run it from Album app.
    • If you're willing to enable WiFi, now you can also make use of FTP server feature in the Album app so you won't need to move SD card around all the time.
    Bear in mind that some features (like Incognito) is not supported on Mariko and might lead to a brick. Though most recent versions of Tinfoil now removed that harmful option for Mariko Switches.

    Tip: Apps like Tinfoil and HBG are sensitive to clock errors. If you have any issues, make sure your Switch's time & date is set correctly.

    5) Status of piracy on Switch
    To keep this guide in good standing and of course, to not promote piracy, there won't be any guidance on how to get pirated content on your Switch. Information below is a simple overview to report on well known services, to satiate your curiosity:

    People generally get their pirated content from one of these two sources:
    • Classic way of downloading them off Internet to their PC or Switch. These files are either in .NSP or .XCI format.
      • .NSP formatted ones get installed to Switch like any other legitimately installed game. That means they are the ones with best compatibility and ease of use, but also the most easily detectable ones.
      • .XCI formatted ones are like images. They can be mounted from Album app and act like game carts.
    • "Shops" like HBG, JITS, QuotaShop etc. Those shops all enable people to download games directly through Tinfoil app. This is similar to FreeShop in 3DS era. (Not from Nintendo CDN though).
    6) Saves
    Now you have a hacked Switch, you're not bound by the limitations around save files anymore. Simply search for "JKSV" app in Homebrew Store, or get the NRO here: https://github.com/J-D-K/JKSV/releases/

    After launching JKSV, you can simply dump all saves by pressing Y. After it's done, all your saves will be copied to your SD card.

    Try your best to copy your saves often to your PC. Otherwise if your emuNAND or SD card itself gets corrupted, you will lose all saves.

    Tip: An earlier version of this guide recommended Checkpoint instead of JKSV. While it's still a valid option, Checkpoint currently does not support "device saves", which means you can't back-up some popular games such as AC:NH and Mario Kart 8 with Checkpoint. JKSV already has this support.

    7) What next
    Congratulations! Now you have a backed up, somewhat protected CFW-enabled Switch and you know how to get homebrew and game backups installed already!

    What comes next is up to you. For most, that's already all you wanted. And while homebrew is all fun and games, there's always the risk of messing something up, especially if you're not paying attention. Always make use of the list here: https://gbatemp.net/threads/sx-core-mariko-list-of-non-compatible-tools.567803/ before installing anything major.

    If you're into tinkering, you can:
    • install various emulators and games in Homebrew Store. For emulators, give RetroArch and PPSSPP a try.
    • mod your games
    • try streaming games from your PC to Switch with Moonlight
    • use your unofficial controllers with Switch, or use your Joycons with your PC.
    • enable local wireless play over online, as a poor man's Nintendo Switch Online platform. Good thing is you don't have to pay for this one, and it doesn't ban you. Details here: https://gbatemp.net/threads/ldn_mitm-play-local-wireless-supported-games-online.525512/
    • try themes, overclocking etc. etc.

    Appendix A) What about Atmosphere?

    This is an additional section for those who are interested in switching to Atmosphere, an alternative CFW, from SXOS.

    Most popular reason for switching to Atmosphere is the bleak future of SXOS. Heads of TX, the team behind SXOS and Core chips are now in legal trouble, and it's not clear if SXOS will ever be updated in the future.

    Atmosphere is a widely used, open source and very well regarded option, mainly developed by SciresM who has an excellent reputation in the homebrew scene.

    In comparison to SXOS, Atmosphere:
    • Supports the most recent firmware version, 11.0.1.
    • Does not come with built-in support for XCI loading or loading from HDD.
    • Does not allow unsigned NSP to run, which also prevents piracy.
    • Is free, requires no license to work and has no license checks.
    • Has no legal issues currently, and in active development.
    • Has better & wider support for homebrew apps and KIPs.
    • Is currently much faster in keeping compatibitility with new firmware versions.
    • Is generally considered to be more stable.

    For a detailed guide on migration from SXOS to Atmosphere, please refer to GCS's awesome guide here: https://gbatemp.net/threads/running-atmosphere-on-patched-sx-core-switch.574083/


    A few tips before you start:
    • Make sure you've backed up all your saves and important data (such as backups and .dat files) to your PC before attempting this, as it comes with a non-zero chance of bricking & losing access to your data.
    • I'd personally suggest taking the route of EmuNAND migration, instead of spacecraft-NX.
    • If you have ever updated your emuNAND through ChoidujourNX, you'll need to backup your boot0/boot1 from SysNAND using NxNandManager and restore to your emuNAND partition.
      • Otherwise you won't be able to boot, and Atmosphere will complain about HOS version not being readable.

    Have fun!
     
    Last edited by arawitch, Jan 31, 2021
  2. kickmeh

    kickmeh Advanced Member
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    is posibble running android on mariko? did you try before?
     
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  3. Arsen12345

    Arsen12345 Newbie
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    great tutorial
     
    arawitch likes this.
  4. Dust2dust

    Dust2dust GBAtemp Advanced Maniac
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    arawitch likes this.
  5. Yamathedestroyer

    Yamathedestroyer GBAtemp Regular
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    Its not possible, as Linux4Tegra isnt ported yet. Because of the new Chip there need to be new drivers
     
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  6. kickmeh

    kickmeh Advanced Member
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    yes of course, in point "7) What next" on his guide he said to try android on sxcore, even no one confirm is work or not, just want to clarified the guide is good, or risk for other
     
  7. MomZo

    MomZo Advanced Member
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    What are these illegal numbers? I mean, what is it about as I cannot find any information about this using "search" function.
     
  8. Dust2dust

    Dust2dust GBAtemp Advanced Maniac
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    My guess is some Nintendo decryption key that TX didn't bother to obfuscate. But that's just a guess. :unsure:
     
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  9. Yamathedestroyer

    Yamathedestroyer GBAtemp Regular
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    It wont work as Mariko is a different Chip with some Changes that Break anything Linux/Android related. For the same reason you cant use atmosphere on SX Core/Lite

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    Android will propably just Crash in early boot, but it wont harm your switch
     
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  10. PizzaBitez

    PizzaBitez Shadow Clone Justu.
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    So lockpick and stuff works? Interesting!!
     
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  11. Memoir

    Memoir Hi, I'm Cynical!
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    Atmosphere doesn't work on Core? Well... Shoot... Looking to get my Switch hardmodded with one, but don't want to be tied to SXOS...
     
  12. CompSciOrBust

    CompSciOrBust GBAtemp Fan
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    Supporting the new Switches via mod chips is on Atmosphere's roadmap. Should be out some time this summer iirc.
     
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  13. Memoir

    Memoir Hi, I'm Cynical!
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    Wait.. Mine isn't Mariko, just patched. Sorry, been out of the loop for a couple of years. :v
     
  14. CompSciOrBust

    CompSciOrBust GBAtemp Fan
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    Atmosphere should work fine with it then. The only caveat is that you need to chain load Fusee-Primary or Hekate through the SXOS boot loader but SciresM says he has a way to get past the DRM that forces you to launch that first.
     
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  15. cashboxz01

    cashboxz01 GBAtemp Regular
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    This is what I was looking for. Most people aren't installing sx core on their Mariko's by themselves, and don't know the ins and outs of the console when they get it back.
     
  16. MrShadow675

    MrShadow675 Member
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    Thanks for this guide. This is just what I needed.
     
  17. Papito2111

    Papito2111 Newbie
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    Nice guide, i just installed sx core yesterday :)
     
  18. dr3n

    dr3n Newbie
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    Amazing guide thanks for sharing this... Once everything has been backed up and copied from the SD card to PC am i ok to then remove everything in the sxos backup folder from my SD card??
     
  19. Cher-78

    Cher-78 Newbie
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    Hey, any idea how we can follow their progress i.e discord or something?
     
  20. CompSciOrBust

    CompSciOrBust GBAtemp Fan
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    ArchyGamer1597 likes this.
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