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Managing 3DS Saves: Using Checkpoint

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Checkpoint is a 3DS homebrew application that can backup and restore save files for 3DS cartridges, 3DS eShop titles (including GB and GBC virtual console), and NDS cartridges. This tutorial will walk you through its installation and usage.


In order to use Checkpoint, you will first need access to CFW. A comprehensive guide on how to set it up can be found here. If you do not have what you need, you cannot use Checkpoint.

What you need

  • A 3DS with CFW
  • The latest version of Checkpoint. A mirror of the CIA version can be found here. A mirror of the 3DSX version can be found here.


If your CFW is Luma 3DS, then Rosalina makes it possible to use the Homebrew Launcher as an alternative to the CIA version. You cannot use Checkpoint with the Homebrew Launcher without Rosalina's Homebrew Launcher.

If you wish to use the CIA version:

  1. Download the CIA version of Checkpoint and put it on your 3DS's SD card.
  2. Use your CIA installer to install it

If you wish to use Rosalina's Homebrew Launcher:

  1. Create the folder /3ds/Checkpoint on your 3DS's SD card if it does not already exist
  2. Download the 3DSX version of Checkpoint and put it the folder you just created

When you are finished, you can proceed to the next step: Using Checkpoint


Once you have installed Checkpoint, these steps will guide you through backing up and restoring save files. Once complete, any saves you back up will be located in /3ds/Checkpoint/saves on your 3DS's SD card.

1. (If you're backing up a cartridge save and not an eShop title) Insert your cartridge, and make sure the 3DS menu can see it. This is important because sometimes the system can't read the cartridge unless it's inserted just right.

2. Launch Checkpoint.

3. Use the DPad to select the game whose save you want to backup or restore. Then press A to select the game.

4. Use the DPad to select the save slot you wish to use (the selected slot has a blue background). If backing up the save, you can select "New..." to create a new slot. Be careful not to overwrite anything important.

5. Press either the Backup or Restore button on the touch screen.

6. Press "A" to confirm.

7. If you chose to create a new save slot, use the on-screen keyboard to give it a name, then press "OK".

8. If the save was exported correctly you should see a success message appear.


9. Your backup is complete. Exit Checkpoint, and your save should be located on your SD card under /3ds/Checkpoint/saves/(your game)/(your save slot).


EXTRA. Things to take note:
1. Your file in the folder MUST be named main
2. There cannot be other files in the same folder your import from (such as main.bak)

Credit to @NinFanBoyFTW for the screenshots.

View full tutorial

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  • 3 months later...

Thanks, for the post I actually figured this all out by myseld last night and now trying to figure out how to exactly inject the PKhex files, as well as poke edit (the website) files. Wondering if I can inject pokemon into 4th Gen specifically Pearl and Platinum, specifically Poke Edit's files as they are older, aslo they have download of what seems to be the entire game. Idk need to look into it more. Also XY and ORAS I have all 4 and and under the impression you cannot attach items in XY? or you can it just doesn't look 100% legit but nobody would know if your just doing this for you self and maybe trade later? I wish Black and white and even the DS gen 4 games could link, the original games can link via the cored why shouldn't they beable to via wirless, should be an easy update to wireless component you would think. 


I guess just figure out thwere exactaly to put the files, because I can't imagine just dropping them in the dave and they are their? Or how to edit a pokemon already in your save? Not to worried about that but the knowledge can't hurt. Off to research, amd find a file with every event pokemon.


If anyone has tips or methods not involving QR codes message me or reply. My 2ds that has all CFW drom the offficial guide has no rear camereas, I fixed it, bought it broke on ebay. Sadly the day I went to hack one of my newer consoles they updated that day to 11.7 and 11.8 no time for seedminer at the second. Plus seems to be a long process ect. Non the less good post for people who were in my position last night, I for some reason was under the impression I could find the files if I just saved the game (im sure you could) and use check point but I was wrong and this is much easier to find them and back files up, especially for gen 4 games that the battery is about to go on. Big thatks to JK for making this possible and the creator or Checkpoint whom I don't know off the top of my head sorry :(

Edited by Mizat
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  • 1 year later...
2 hours ago, BlackShark said:

The file you got from Checkpoint should already be a main file. Don't rename files or change their extension.

What kind of file did you get instead?

main file is what i got, another question, i see that someone uploaded a 807 shiny pokémon file how can i insert that file to my main file that i got from checkpoint ?

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3 hours ago, Darkcaliber said:

main file is what i got, another question, i see that someone uploaded a 807 shiny pokémon file how can i insert that file to my main file that i got from checkpoint ?

rename it into main, place it into a JKSM folder with main (keep a safe copy on your PC, then overwrite the one on your SD card).

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  • 1 month later...

Hey I am new to the modding area and I've recently downloaded a cfw to my 3ds. I used a .gba that was converted to a .cia file then loaded into my 3ds through fbi. The problem is that checkpoint (save manager) isn't recognizing the game, I've refreshed it and went into the game to save, still nothing. Was wondering if I could get some help on my situation. 

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  • 1 year later...

Hello, is it normal that my checkpoint backup file is named POKEMON W.sav instead of "main" ? 

I'm using a physical copy, I Also would like to know if there is any risk with my physical game and if my original backup is still avalaible

EDIT: I can use pokehex on save, i havn't injected the save yet I don't know if it may cause problem to my game

Edited by ShinyEntei
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9 hours ago, theSLAYER said:

* Except in the case that it is a VC save (or it's pretending to be a VC save).

PKHeX identifies a VC save via its save name sav.dat, and has it's legality checking tweaked for VC.
Any other save can be any other save name

What is a VC save ? I'm a complete neophyte 😅

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32 minutes ago, ShinyEntei said:

What is a VC save ? I'm a complete neophyte 😅

Virtual Console. Virtual Console games are a bunch of older games for older consoles re-released to be playable on the 3DS.
(Game Boy games, Game Boy Advance games, N64 games, etc)

In the context of our forums, when we refer to VC saves, we normally mean Gen 1 or Gen 2 Pokémon games.

Yes, the 3DS can play Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Gold, Silver, Crystal.
And an additional tidbit: the mons can be transferred up to Generation 7 and up.

The saves of those games are have the same data structures as their retail counterpart, hence why PKHeX needs to check the save name to ensure it has the correct legality checks.

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