How to Hack a Nintendo DSi-XL
By Katina Oxendine
Updated September 22, 2017
Items you will need
Computer with WinRAR program
MicroSD card adapter
The Nintendo DSi-XL is a handheld gaming system capable of taking pictures, recording sound, connecting to other players via the Pictochat application and -- of course -- playing games. By hacking the system, you can push this sophisticated console even further and break the limits set by the manufacturer. Hacking allows the console's power to be extended beyond the manufacturer's intent by installing extra software. This software can span anything from video to music and even game cheats.
Check which version of firmware you have installed on your system. You can do this via the "System Settings" menu. Look for the number displayed in the bottom right-hand corner of the upper screen. If this number is 1.4 or higher, you will need an additional update in order for your flash card to work.
Go to the manufacturer's website for your flash card. If your DSi firmware is version 1.4 or higher, you will need to update. Flash cards use the firmware installed on them to override the system firmware, allowing your DSi to read the data stored on the microSD card. You must install the flash card firmware that matches the firmware already on your DSi so the override can proceed smoothly. The necessary update will be on the flash card manufacturer's website, with instructions on how to install it to that specific card.
Choose the DSi flash card that best suits your purposes. Some cards are limited to only allow cheats and multimedia access, while others allow users to play backup games. Select the card that best suits your needs and price range. Make sure that the card is compatible with the Nintendo DSi specifically; these cards are usually labeled as "i" cards. Other cards will not work with this particular system.
Purchase a microSD memory card with enough memory to support your requirements. MicroSD cards come in sizes ranging from a few hundred megabytes to 64 GB, though the higher-range cards can be rather expensive.
Place the microSD card in the memory card adapter. Most PCs don't have microSD slots, but will have SD slots that can be used by inserting the microSD card into an adapter that will allow the computer to read the microSD card as an SD card. Make sure the lock switch is turned to the off/unlocked position on the card and the adapter, then insert it into your computer's SD card slot.
Open your browser and access the manufacturer website for your DSi flash card. Navigate to the latest firmware version for that specific card and download it to your computer. The file will likely be compressed into .ZIP or .RAR format. Use a program like WinZip or WinRAR to unzip the file contents once it's finished downloading.
Select all files in the unzipped folder except those that end in the extension ".txt." Do this by holding down the "Ctrl" key on your keyboard and clicking the files until the desired ones are selected. Right-click over the selected files and click "Copy" in the menu. Open the root folder of the microSD card and paste the copied files into it (either right-click and select "Paste" or use the Windows keyboard shortcut "Ctrl" and "V"). The transfer can take up to a few minutes to complete.
Transfer your music, games and movies onto the microSD card. Be sure to convert movies to the ".dpg" format with a movie converter or they will not play on your system. Check to be sure that your flash card supports nested folders. These are folders within folders, usually made to organize music or games. If the flash card does not support them, avoid using nested folders or the DSi will not be able to read your data.
Currently a Botany major at University of North Carolina, Katina Oxendine has worked in veterinary care, gaming and numerous other environments. Her writing experience spans more than 13 years, with expertise in research-based writing. Oxendine especially enjoys finding and discussing practical tips, specializing in informative pieces covering complex scientific topics.