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3DS: How to backup/restore your retail cartridge save file for 3DS games


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This guide is woefully outdated, and is not viable for save editing. Please look here instead.

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I could have added this to my other thread for NDS games, but I made a new thread for the sake of simplicity, and so I can discuss the state of things in the 3DS save hacking world.

Please note: Some (if not all) games encrypt the save in such a way it cannot be put on a different card. This means no downloading saves from the internet and putting them on your game, and no save editors for the time being.

As of now, there is no way to backup the save file from the cartridge for Pokémon X or Y (or Animal Crossing: New Leaf).

There's four methods I know of. 3 of them are USB adapters. The 4th lets you use a flashcart, DS lite (or original DS), and Wi-Fi.

DSaveManager:

 

DSaveManager

Pros:

 

-Some people won't have to buy new hardware

 

 

-Backing up 3DS saves works on most games

 

Cons:

 

-You'll have to cut off that plastic tab thingy keeping the game from entering the DS. Unless newer games put part of the cartridge in that, no harm should come to your game.

 

 

-The DS lite and original DS require unsecured or WEP Wi-Fi, both of which are insecure and outdated. Most everybody's Wi-Fi is WPA now.

 

 

-Some games don't backup properly.

 

 

-I have absolutely no idea if this supports regular DS games

 

Now for USB adapters. I recommend the NDS Backup Adapter Plus:

 

NDS Backup Adapter Plus:

Pros:

-Supports updates so games that currently are unsupported may be supported in the future.

-Supports backing up games with IR ports

-Supports backing up 3DS save files (with firmware upgrade v3.0)

-Simple software. Beginner friendly.

Cons:

-Windows 7 64 bit drivers require Driver Signature Enforcement to be overridden. Options include pressing F8 on start up then selecting Disable Driver Signature Enforcement, or using the Driver Signature Enforcement Overrider. Use these steps to use it on Windows 8.

-Doesn't backup ROM data (however, this could save you legal trouble)

Where to buy:

Amazon - Amazon is always a good store to buy from. As of 10/14/13, this is shipped from Amazon, so they'll give customer service if needed.

Quicker Buy - I haven't heard of these guys until I did a bing search to find other stores to link to here. Buy at your own risk (however, they may still be a good store)

Then there's the SMS4:

 

SMS4:

Pros:

-Supports updates so games that currently are unsupported may be supported in the future.

-Supports backing up games with IR ports

-Supports backing most up 3DS saves

-Supports backing up NDS ROMS

Cons:

 

-I have yet to find a store in or adjacent to the United States that sells one.

 

 

-
Its software is confusing, and in order to have full functionality. you must use two programs. I've put together
that should make figuring this out way easier.
I have yet to try out the latest program update. This may fix the problems I had.

 

 

-Requires
in order to work on Windows 8

 

Where to buy:

 

 

 

- Where I bought mine from. Their shipper's tracking system was fail, but it got here right on time.

 

And there's also the R4i Save Dongle:

 

R4i Save Dongle

I don't actually have one, so here's the summary of a review I found, along with a few of my notes:

Pros:

 

-Backups and Restores your own saves perfectly

 

 

-Easy to use

 

 

-Easy to upgrade

 

Cons:

 

-Save Backup/Restore Tool Crashes a Lot (for the reviewer, at least)

 

 

-Like the NDS Backup Adapter Plus, doesn't backup ROMs

 

I don't know if it has signed drivers or not. If you have any problems, refer to my thread on how to make it work.

If anyone finds anything else, tell me so I can add it to this list.

[Edit]

There's a new method, only for those with a 3DS at 4.x firmware.

ifyfg said:
anyone who has a ds mode flash cart and if their 3ds is on version 4.1-4.5 can download the 2.1 gateway loader, you need the gateway card to go into 'gateway mode', but you are able to boot up the menu and dump your 3ds games without the gateway card. the save file is inside the dumped rom, and once you have extracted the save from it you can use it with things like keysav, etc etc :)
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Are you using a newer 3DS game? There's some problems restoring saves on some games, but that error message looks like another problem.

No, this cartridge was bought in 2011. However, the problem isn't even due to the cartridge. While my Acekard is still in there, it gives me the error message, meaning I can't even begin the process of restoring saves. I tried taking out the Acekard and inserting the game while the screen was blank, but it still gave me the same result.

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No, this cartridge was bought in 2011. However, the problem isn't even due to the cartridge. While my Acekard is still in there, it gives me the error message, meaning I can't even begin the process of restoring saves. I tried taking out the Acekard and inserting the game while the screen was blank, but it still gave me the same result.

Oh, it must be trying to restore to the Acekard. Since I misplaced my DS lite, I can't actually run the program, so I guess switch the flashcart as soon as possible, even before you tell it to restore.

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I didn't see (or hear) you remove the Acekard and insert the 3DS cartridge.

Even if I did that, it would come up with nothing. There are no top-screen instructions or status messages like in the backup option, and instead it's a blank screen no matter what I do.

EDIT: So, it seems that when you go to 3dbrew's page providing the DSaveManager download, it says in the changelog that they added "restore from FAT." What does this mean, exactly? That's probably the whole problem.

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Even if I did that, it would come up with nothing. There are no top-screen instructions or status messages like in the backup option, and instead it's a blank screen no matter what I do.

Don't know if I can help you. If you can't get it to work, you can try a USB adapter, I guess.

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Don't know if I can help you. If you can't get it to work, you can try a USB adapter, I guess.

Alright, thanks. I guess I'll just contact the designer of this program. It's amusing how there are instructions for backing up saves but not for restoring them.

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To evandixon: you might want to update your original post a bit. Not only are the websites for Console Source and reichi down (at least as best as I can tell), but we don't have any confirmed way of successfully backing up and restoring X and Y save files, even when it is just restoring a save backed up from the same cartridge (let alone a different cartridge). Whatever they've done to encrypt the saves and/or flummox save game backups, it is effectively impossible, at least for the time being, to back up and restore Pokemon X and Y cartridges.

(Also, for anyone who doesn't already know, digital is not an option - the feature is disabled for X and Y, and Nintendo has systems in place to make manually restoring old save files from digital games largely impossible.)

It would probably be prudent to have this on the OP, lest anyone physically alter their cartridge for no reason, purchase products that are currently useless for Pokemon (with no guarantee of future compatibility), and/or risk their save data, game, or system getting damaged.

Edited by papadragon418
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(Also, for anyone who doesn't already know, digital is not an option - the feature is disabled for X and Y, and Nintendo has systems in place to make manually restoring old save files from digital games largely impossible.)

I don't understand why folks focus on Back Up/Restore when it comes to digital save... which is already on SD cart.

If those saves can be read by a software in the future, we may simply extract/insert Wondercards and pkm directly on SD cart.

Also, if at least we could back up a game cart save proprely (which will hopefully come)... restore can wait.

Being able to store unclaimed events is the only reason to be in hurry. Any other things aren't limited in time.

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To evandixon: you might want to update your original post a bit. Not only are the websites for Console Source and reichi down (at least as best as I can tell), but we don't have any confirmed way of successfully backing up and restoring X and Y save files, even when it is just restoring a save backed up from the same cartridge (let alone a different cartridge). Whatever they've done to encrypt the saves and/or flummox save game backups, it is effectively impossible, at least for the time being, to back up and restore Pokemon X and Y cartridges.

(Also, for anyone who doesn't already know, digital is not an option - the feature is disabled for X and Y, and Nintendo has systems in place to make manually restoring old save files from digital games largely impossible.)

It would probably be prudent to have this on the OP, lest anyone physically alter their cartridge for no reason, purchase products that are currently useless for Pokemon (with no guarantee of future compatibility), and/or risk their save data, game, or system getting damaged.

Thanks for pointing all that out!

Updated OP, removing old shops, adding Amazon for the NDS Backup Adapter Plus, and warning which games this doesn't work for.

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