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Yuzu the Switch emulator for PC, Complete Guide

Yuzu the Switch emulator for PC, Complete Guide

Emulate the Nintendo Switch with Yuzu

Nintendo Switch is the successful Nintendo console that has portable, desktop and tabletop modes, the games can be in cartridge format or you can buy them in their online store, the eShop. The user community outside of Nintendo has developed an emulator for Nintendo Switch games, so you can play these games on your PC, her name is Yuzu and in this guide we are going to teach you everything about Yuzu, the Switch emulator for PC .

Yuzu is not yet in its final version and is open source, so we can find its code on GitHub , and if we know how to program in C ++, make our own version or help the community. Yuzu requires some special characteristics in order to function . In addition, being in the experimental phase it can suffer stoppages, FPS drops or even not work with all games. The hardware requirements to run Yuzu are:





Intel Core i5-4430

AMD Ryzen 3 1200

Intel HD 520


AMD Radeon R7 240



Intel Core i5-10400

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Intel UHD 630


AMD RX Vega 56

16 GB

The Nintendo Switch game catalog has been exponentially increased when video game developers have seen the success it reaps come, hundreds of games have started to come out, many that come from other platforms, or even Nintendo itself has proposed to relaunch many of the existing ones for WiiU.

With Yuzu we can play the games that we have purchased on our console, one of the options is to transfer backup copies of your own games to the computer to be able to use them with Yuzu, there are also many other ways to get games for the Nintendo Switch emulator, We are going to tell you how to make these copies of your own games so that you can use them in the emulator.

Download and install Yuzu on your computer

Yuzu is downloaded from its website, where we can choose the version for Windows or Linux , it also indicates that for Windows it is necessary to have Microsoft Visual C ++ 2019 or later installed to be able to use it, let's see how to do all this.

  1. We enter the Yuzu website and click on Download to access the downloads section.
  2. If we do not have it already installed, we download Microsoft Visual C ++ 2019 by clicking on the link, once the download is finished we install it on our PC. If you don't know if you have it installed, you can still download it and when you run it, it will check if it is on your PC .
  3. Now we download Yuzu for Windows x64 by clicking the Download for Windows x64 button
  4. To install Yuzu we only double click on the file that we have downloaded yuzu_install.exe.
  5. There are two ways to install Yuzu, the Early Access version that is only available for subscribers, or the normal one that is marked by default, we leave this and click Install .
  6. Now it will start to download the most recent version of the emulator, it is 73 MB so it won't take long. Once finished we click on Exit.
We already have the Nintendo Switch emulator, Yuzu, installed on our PC, now we will configure it for use.

How to copy games from your Nintendo Switch to PC for use with Yuzu

Now we will tell you how to transfer your games from your Nintendo Switch to the pc to be able to run them in Yuzu, this is a technical guide, so it is highly recommended to carry out the steps to the letter , first we will need to meet a series of requirements.

  • We need a Nintendo Switch that is vulnerable to the fusée gelée RCM exploit , you can check it by entering the serial number of your console. The Nintendo Switch lite or the 2019 version among others will not be valid.
  • An SD card with at least 30GB of available space, the more space you have available, the better.
  • A cable to connect the console to the PC , the console has a USB type C connection, at the other end it must be in a port compatible with your computer, either USB type A or type C.
Once all the software is downloaded, we can start preparing the micro SD card .

Preparing the microSD

  1. Unzip the Atmosphere Master file and the Hekate file and copy them all to the root of the microSD card without creating any extra directories.
  2. Now we rename the hekate_ctcaer file that has a .bin extension to the name reboot_payload.bin and move it to the atmosphere folder , when it asks you if you want to replace it,  answer yes.
  3. Now we will have to place the files fusee-primary.bin, lockpick_RCM.bin and TegraExplorer.bin inside the bootloader-> payloads folder.
  4. Now create a folder called nxdumptool inside the switch folder of your microSD card and copy into the file nxdumptool.nro .
  5. Once these steps are finished, we can insert the microSD into our Nintendo Switch.

Booting the Nintendo Switch in RCM mode

To perform the following steps it is necessary to start the Nintendo Switch in RCM mode.

  1. Install and run the TegraRcmGui program that we have downloaded.
  2. Now you must install the console drivers for it to work properly, enter Settings and click Install Driver .
  3. Connect your Nintendo Switch to the PC with the appropriate cable and while it is connected, turn off the console .
  4. Now is the time to insert the RCM Jig into the right JoyCon slot , (there are other tricks without using this, such as with a paper clip). When it is properly inserted, press the Vol + and Power buttons at the same time , if the console starts normally, something is not working correctly, repeat from step 3.
  5. The start in RCM mode will be correct when we can see the Nintendo Switch icon flashing green in the lower left corner.

Start with the Hekate menu

When the console is already started in RCM mode we have to start Hekate from RCM mode .

  1. We create a folder to work with on our PC and copy the hekate_ctcaer_version.bin file from the hekate zip that we downloaded earlier.
  2. We execute TegraRcmGui and in the Payload tab we click on the folder icon to navigate to the folder that we have created to work on our PC that contains the hekate_ctcaer_version.bin file .
  3. Now we just have to click on inject payload and we will be starting the Switch with the Hekate menu.

Copy Keys to Yuzu emulator

The next step is to dump Prod.keys and Title.keys.

  1. We make sure that the console is started with the Hekate menu .
  2. Click on Payloads to display the list.
  3. We click on Lockpick_RCM.bin that we can find in the list.
  4. When it has been loaded correctly, we press the power button to select Dump from SysNAND .
  5. We will wait until you finish extracting the keys , these will be found by default within the Swtich directory of the microSD.
  6. To return to the menu we press any button, now we navigate to Payloads with the volume buttons and select it with the power button.
  7. Now we select reboot_payload.bin from the list and reboot Hekate .
  8. We mount the SD card as a unit of our PC from Hetake. Remember these steps , as you will have to repeat them several times later. a. In the hetake menu we select Tool . b. Click on USB tools. C. Now we click on SD card to mount the microSD card as a unit on our PC.
  9. Now we copy the generated files prod.keys and title.keys to the keys folder of the Yuzu emulator . The folder is found by pressing the Windows key + R and we write Appdata, when the window with that folder opens we enter Roaming and then Yuzu.
  10. Now we safely remove the drive where the microSD card is mounted. These steps will help you later as well.
a. Eject the unit mounted on our PC.
    b. Click on close to return to the Tools menu .
      c. Click on Home to return to the Hekate menu.

      Make a Backup of the NAND of your Nintendo Switch

      It is highly recommended to make a Backup of the NAND of the console , for this we repeat steps 3 to 5 of the section to start the Nintendo Switch in RCM, then we start with Hekate repeating steps 2 to 3 of the section to start with the Hekate menu .

      1. In the Hetake menu, click on Tools and select Bakcup eMMC .
      2. Now click on eMMC BOOT0 & BOOT1 . Wait patiently until it finishes and you can see the message of Completed and verified . You will be able to see the path where the copy made has been created.
      3. Now click on Close and select eMMC RAW GPP . Be patient as this step may take 15-45 minutes depending on the speed of the microSD card. You may be able to see the bar recede at some points , this is normal and you should not worry. At the end you can see the location of the file.
      4. Click on Close twice to return to the Tools menu .
      5. We mount the microSD card as a unit on our PC by repeating steps a, b and c in the previous section and copy the Backup folder in our PC work folder.
      6. Now we disassemble the unit by repeating the previous steps.

      Keep this copy well, it can be useful.

      Install Console Firmware to Yuzu

      The next step is to update the Yuzu firmware to the latest version , some games require an updated version of the system to work, we are going to pass the firmware of our console to Yuzu to be able to play all the games, even if they require the firmware is up to date.

      1. We start our console in RCM mode following the previous steps, once finished we enter the Hekate menu as we have seen previously.
      2. Click on Payloads to see the list and select TegraExplorer.bin to load it.
      3. We navigate with the volume buttons to the Dump Firmware option and select it by pressing the power button .
      4. At the end we will have on our microSD card a file with the extension. nca in the folder tegraexplorer / firmware.
      5. We press any button to return to the main menu.
      6. Now we will have to return to the Hekate menu . We select Reboot to bootloader / update.bin .
      7. Again we mount the microSD as a unit of our PC following the previous steps.
      8. We copy the contents of the Firmware folder of the microSD that you created in the Yuzu firmware folder, which is located in * / Yuzu / nand / system / Contents / registered.
      9. At the end of the copy we can safely unmount the unit as we did in the previous steps.

      Already have Yuzu prepared to be able to play our games , but we lack the games, if we have many purchased we will see how to put them on a cartridge to the PC to add them to Yuzu and be able to play them.

      Copy your cartridge games to your PC

      1. As always we start in RCM mode and then in Hekate mode .
      2. Click on Payloads and select fusee-primary.bin to load it.
      3. Now the console will restart with a CFW or custom firmware mode, which is a modified operating system to be able to perform other actions. Once started, hold down the R button on the controller and play a game , by doing this will load the menu to be able to copy the game to the microSD.
      4. Navigate to the nxdumptool option and select Dump gamecard content to copy the cartridge content.
      5. Select the Cartridge Image (XCI) dump option .
      6. At the end of the copy, press any button to return to the previous menu and press the + button to return to the Homebrew menu.
      7. Now we select Reboot to Payload and press the - button to return to the Hekate menu.
      8. Now we can mount the microSD as a unit of our PC as we did before, we can follow the previous steps.
      9. The game has been copied to the folder / switch / nxdumptool / XCI , we may find parts of the game with .xc0 .xc1 extensions, etc . In this case we can use nxDumpMerger that we had previously downloaded, its operation is very simple. a. We start the nxDumpMerger program by unzipping it and running it. B. We click on the button with the three dots followed by Input and select one of the files divided into parts , select open. C. Now we click on the button with the three dots followed by Output and select the folder on our PC where we want to save the games. D. Now we click on Merge Dump , at the end we will have a single file with an .xci extension
      10. At the end we must extract the mounted unit and return to the Hekate menu.

      Copy the games purchased in the eShop to the PC

      Well, we already have the cartridge games on our PC to install in Yuzu, but what if we are fans of buying games in the eShop ? Now we are also going to see how to copy these games to our PC .

      1. We will know by heart, we start in RCM mode and then in Hekate .
      2. Now click on Payloads and select fusee-primary.bin again .
      3. The Switch will enter CFW mode as before in the cartridges section, we press the R button and run a game to start the Homebrew menu .
      4. We select nxdumptool as in the previous section but this time we will choose the option Dump installed SD Car / eMMC Content .
      5. Now select the game you want to copy and select the Nintendo Submission Package (NSP) dump option , since this type of file is what Yuzu recognizes.
      6. The games often contain updates or DLC, when copying them we can also copy all these options so we will see options for Dump base application NSP to copy the base game, Dump installed update NSP to copy game updates and Dump installed DLC NSP to copy the DLC if it had them . First we will choose Dump base application NSP and select Start NSP dump process and wait for it to finish.
      7. At the end we can return to the previous menu by pressing the B button on the console, we repeat the process for updates and for DLCs .
      8. Once finished with that game, we change for another one by repeating the previous steps to copy the base game, the updates and the DLC if it had them.
      9. When we finish copying all the games (or in case we run out of space in the microSD) we press the + button to return to the previous menu and select Reboot to Payload , then we press - and we will return to the Hekate menu.
      10. Now is when we can mount the microSD as a unit of our PC and copy the games, follow the previous steps to mount the microSD and be able to access it from the PC.
      11. The copy must be in / switch / nxdumptool / NSP it is possible that, as we have previously told, you will find files divided this time in extension 00, 01, 01, etc. In this case, you must use ncDumpMerger again to create a single file with an NSP extension, it works the same way, you can follow the steps in the previous section.
      12. At the end we will have the games in the folder of the PC that we have chosen to save them.

      Copy saved games to PC

      Now we have the cartridge games and the ones we bought in the eShop ready to install in Yuzu, but… Would you also like to continue where you left off? We are going to save the files of the game saves  to continue your adventure without losing any progress.

      For this section we will need to download the Chekpoint.nro program that will work on our Switch.

      1. We start the Switch in RCM mode and then Hekate .
      2. Now we mount the microSD as a unit of our PC, we follow the previous steps.
      3. Now we create a folder in the microSD and inside the switch folder called Checkpoint , we copy the file that we downloaded earlier, chekpoint.nro inside.
      4. Now we can safely remove the drive from our microSD card by following the steps above.
      5. Click on Payloads and select fusee-primary.bin from the list.
      6. It will start our Switch in CFW mode and press, as we have done before, the R button and run a game to launch the Homebrew Menu.
      7. Now we select Checkpoint to execute it.
      8. To save the saved games of the games, we select the game or games of which we want these games and we press the L button to save them, to select multiple games we press the Y button on the remote.
      9. At the end of copying, press any button to return to the previous menu and press + to return to the Homebrew menu .
      10. Now we select Reboot to Payload , press the - button and we will return to the Hekate menu, ready to copy these games to the PC.
      11. We mount the microSD as a unit of our PC as we have seen previously.
      12. We can find the saved games in the swtich / Checkpoint folder , we copy the content to the PC games folder to add them later.
      13. Now we can safely disassemble the unit.
      At the end of all these sections, we can return our Switch to the original mode, simply click on Reboot in the Hekate menu, click on OFW and it will restart with the original firmware.

      How to install games on Yuzu emulator

      Now we are going to see how to transfer the games that we have copied to the Yuzu emulator, although we have opted for the legal version, there are many ways to get these files if you do not have a Nintendo Switch.

      1. We open Yuzu and double click to add a new directory to the games list.
      2. We select the folder where we have the games and click on Select folder
      3. Now we right- click on the installed game and we can add the save file, navigate to its location, select it and it will be added.

      Now we just have to double click on the game we want to play and we will start the adventure. 

      The Yuzu emulator and its options

      The emulator, like any software, has multiple options with which to configure to our liking, we can modify graphics options , sound or even add controls to play,  whether they are those of the console or other controls of other consoles or for PC.

      Let's see the different menus and the most noteworthy options that Yuzu offers us .

      In the File menu we find the most common options that are offered in all programs. The first option allows us to install the games on the NAND , we select the game and it will be installed as if it were on the console. The following options offer us the possibility of loading a game or a folder with games , in Recent Files we will find the recently opened files previously.

      An interesting option that the console offers us and that this emulator also offers us is the possibility of using Amiibos , with this option or by pressing F2 we can load the information of an Amiibo by applying the corresponding advantages in the game. The last option on this menu is to open the folder where Yuzu is installed.

      In the emulation menu we have the basic controls for the games, start, pause, stop or by pressing F5 or restart also with F6. We also have the Configure and Configure current game options .

      If we enter the Configure option we can change some aspects of the emulator, although preferably it is better not to touch if you don't know what you are doing, there are some simple options that can be modified without “breaking” anything. We find 6 options and each option has some tabs. Let's see the most significant.

      In the General option we find the General tab, we find an option that may be interesting, Pause emulation when the window is in the background , when activating it and if we change the window during the game, it will be paused automatically.

      In hotkeys we can see a summary of the keys used by the emulator, we can also change them to our liking by double-clicking on one, this will allow us to assign a new key to that function.

      In the UI tab of the User Interface, we can change the language, which by default will take the system, and the Theme that will allow us to choose between 6 different color options.

      In the System option and in the tab that has the same name as this option, we can change the Language, the region, the time zone and the audio output , although the correct one should appear by default. This is useful for games from other regions.

      In the profiles tab we can manage the different profiles of the users who are going to use the emulator, as in the console you can have several users, here it is also possible.

      The CPU and Graphics options are better left as they are, in graphics we can choose between OpenGL and Vulkan, although this is something that the system does automatically.

      The audio options are basically in choosing the audio output device through which we want to reproduce the sound of the emulator, this can be chosen in the drop-down of the Audio Device option , we can also adjust the volume.

      In the Controls option we have the possibility to configure the controls for up to 8 users, in Player 1 we have selected the Connect the Controller option to be able to play with the Nintendo Switch Pro controller and thus have a game experience as similar as possible, to less as far as controls are concerned. By clicking on each option we can change the corresponding button, for example, if we want to invert the axes, or change the button A to B.

      Only when we are playing a game will the Configure current game option be enabled  , which will allow us to change some aspects only for that game, the most remarkable thing is that we can configure the language and the region  for this game in the system tab , useful when we want play games from other regions and change the aspect ratio to adapt it to our monitor, if we go to the graphics tab.

      In the View menu we have the typical options to put it in full screen, set it to 720p or 1080p, show the status bar or the filters bar.

      Tools gives us the possibility of restarting the Keys that we had previously created or taking a screenshot of the emulator screen, the latter can also be done by pressing Ctrl + P

      Finally, in the help menu , we can find the Yuzu manual in English, its FAQ and about the emulator.

      How is the experience emulating Nintendo Switch games on PC with Yuzu?

      Playing a game with Yuzu is a bittersweet experience . On the one hand, we see how the options and the type of game offer us a complete Nintendo experience , but on our usual computer, the options are very complete and all work correctly, but it is spoiled by a drop in FPS as soon as a new one scene appears in the game.

      The emulator promises to have a good future, you just have to improve the optimization in the games and be polishing certain options while adding others, especially a more fluid video in the games to avoid this drop in frames that make it difficult to play in some scenes .

      We have tried one of our favorite games, Mario Oddysey, each time the character performed a new action, be it a jump, become a frog, or throw the cap, there was a brutal stoppage of frames , although this is repeated in some games The more we have tried the emulator becomes very playable. It is preferable to play in full screen, in this mode the fps drops are much lower.

      In general, it is a very good option to enjoy these exclusive and unique Nintendo Switch games with the convenience of doing everything on your PC and the possibility of using even the same controls as on the console.