Guide to the installation and configuration of Yuzu, the Nintendo Switch emulator

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Joel Fulleda
Author and references

Last updated - 18/11/2020

Emulators, as you well know, allow you to play titles from another platform directly on your PC. Unlike what you might think, it's fair to know that it's perfectly legal software, of course, as long as you don't download pirated games.

The latest technical prodigy that has gained the interest from many users was CEMU, which owes its success not only to the possibility of emulating the entire Wii U title park, but above all to the excellent work of optimization and improvement done with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Now, however, it's time to get acquainted with Yuzu, an emulator capable of running the latest Nintendo Switch games on your computer. In this guide we will help you to install it and configure it to the best in order to get the maximum performance from any title.

We also remind you that at the following link you will also find our guide to configuring Ryujinx, an emulator very similar to Yuzu but which also allows you to play online: Guide to Ryujinx.

DISCLAIMER - assumes no responsibility in case of non-compliant use of this guide. The emulators are fully legitimate only if the user physically owns the game from which he can obtain the files necessary for the emulation.

Before moving on to the various phases, we report the minimum and recommended requirements to be able to use the program:

Minimum requirements (2D games)

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit or better / Linux 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 520 / NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 / AMD Radeon R7 240
  • RAM: 8 GB

Recommended requirements (3D games)

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit or better / Linux 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-8600K / AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB / AMD Radeon RX 470 8GB
  • RAM: 16 GB

Important premises:

  • It is highly recommended to have a PC compatible controller in order to comfortably use all key combinations in games.
  • The guide was written based on Windows 10, so the settings names or some steps may differ for other operating systems.
  • If you have installed Yuzu previously and, starting it, the automatic update bar does not appear, it means that your version is obsolete. In this case, type% appdata% in the Windows search bar and completely delete the yuzu folder. Then re-download the emulator following the steps described below.

1 - Download the latest drivers for your graphics card

First, make sure you have installed the latest updates available for your graphics card:

NVIDIA: by clicking on this link or through the GeForce Experience application.

AMD: by clicking on this link or through the Auto-Detect Tool application (downloadable from the same address).

2 - Download and install Yuzu

To access the official Yuzu page, click on the following link: Download Yuzu. First, download the latest version of Microsoft Visual C ++, as reported on the same page, and install it.

Once done, download the Yuzu installer, run it and continue with the installation without changing the default checkmarks.

Start the application: after a short update (new updates will always be made automatically, ed), when opening you will be shown a message that warns you of some missing files for the correct functioning of the program:

If you don't know how to recover these files, refer to the last sentence of the guide for information.

  • On the Yuzu home screen, at the top click on File → Open Yuzu folder.
  • Create a new folder called keys:
  • Drag the required file into the newly created folder.
  • Close and start Yuzu: if everything went well, the warning message will no longer appear.

3 - Yuzu configuration

At this point, we can proceed with the configuration of the various emulator settings.

In Yuzu's home screen, enter the Emulation → Configure ... menu, then:

"General" tab

  • In General, check the Multicore CPU Emulation option.
  • In UI, select Row 2 Text → None to make Yuzu's interface much cleaner.

"System" tab

  • If you share Yuzu with some friends but want to have separate game saves, you can create different profiles. To do this, click on Profiles → Add and enter the desired names. To switch between the various users, simply select them.
  • In Services, in the BCAT Backend entry, select None.

"CPU" tab

  • Select Accurate from the drop-down menu.

"Graphics" tab

  • First check the Asynchronous GPU Emulation option.

If you have one AMD graphics card:

  • Under API, select Vulkan.
  • In Advanced, check Use asynchronous shader building.

If you have one NVIDIA graphics card:

  • Under API, select OpenGL.
  • In Advanced, check Use assembly shaders.

Audio card"

  • Set the default volume of the games according to your preference (we recommend reducing it enough and managing everything through the volume control of speakers / headphones).

"Controls" tab

  • First connect a controller, preferably that of the XBOX 360 or XBOX One.
  • Under Connect Controller select Pro Controller.
  • Next, under Input Device, select XInput Controller 0.
  • At the bottom, on Console Mode, select the Docked Mode option.
  • At this point, set the buttons on your controller based on the respective joycon buttons on the Switch, creating the appropriate mapping.

To set the analog sticks, simply click on the relevant controls and move the sticks in their respective directions. By doing so, you should already set the directional sticks correctly. About the deadzone, set them both to 10%, while leaving the Modifier entry blank ([unused] should appear).

Please note: the only game for which you have to check the Joycons Docked option is Pokémon Let's Go. In this case, make sure the Controller Type is None in Player 1, then proceed with the mapping as described above.

After you have done everything, click OK to save the changes made.

4 - System performance optimization

To get the best performance in games emulated with Yuzu, you need to make some changes directly in Windows as well.

  • Click on Start → Settings → System → Power and sleep.
  • Go into Additional Power Settings and make sure you have High Performance selected.
  • Go back to Settings → System → System Information and enter the System Information item.
  • On the left, click on Advanced system settings → Advanced tab → click on Settings in the Performance section.
  • Advanced tab → Change… in the Virtual Memory section.
  • Uncheck the top, then select your fastest HDD / SSD (where you should have installed Yuzu). Now manually set the initial and maximum size values ​​to 20000 if you have 8GB of RAM; if you have at least 16 of RAMinstead, increase both to 25000.
  • Click OK to confirm the changes and then Apply.
  • Restart your PC to make everything take effect.

Now go back to Yuzu's home screen, then:

  • Click on File → Open Yuzu Folder and close the emulator.
  • From the path reached, at the top select AppData → Local → yuzu.
  • Right click on maintenancetool.exe → Properties and check the option to start as administrator, then confirm.
  • Now enter the folder ending with msvc, right click on yuzu.exe → Properties and check the previous option here as well.
  • Repeat the above for the folder ending with early-access if it exists.
Maximum performance on NVIDIA GPUs

If you have an NVIDIA graphics card and want to get the best possible performance, follow these tips.

  • Right click on the desktop → NVIDIA Control Panel.
  • 3D settings → Adjust image settings → check Use advanced 3D image settings → Open page.
  • Program Settings Tab → Add → select Yuzu and add it.
  • In the parameter list, change the following:
    • Vertical synchronization - Disabled
    • Threaded optimization - On
    • Triple buffering - On
    • Power Management Mode - Prefer maximum performance
    • OpenGL GPU rendering - select your GPU
  • Click Apply.

5 - Load the games on Yuzu

We have reached the last part of the guide, or how to mount the titles on Yuzu and finally start playing. Game files are recognizable by their extensions .xci e .nsp:

  • L'estensione .xci it is the exact copy of the original game cartridge extracted directly from the installation on the internal memory or SD card.
  • L'estensione .nsp turns out to be the best as they are games downloaded directly from the eShop.

Basically, however, there is no difference in performance or operation, but the second type of file is always preferable.

For obvious reasons, we will not give you any indication on how to obtain these files, reminding you that the operation is only legal by purchasing the original version of the game.

ImportantNot all Switch titles are 100% compatible with the emulator, effectively resulting in startup issues, delayed audio, and other inconveniences that undermine the gaming experience. To check the fully functional games, click on the following link: Yuzu - Game Compatibility List.

To load games, launch Yuzu and on the home screen:

  • Double click to find the folder in which to find the files of the individual games.
  • Select it and automatically all the titles contained will be loaded.

Note: the folder must contain only .xci or .nsp files; if there are other subfolders, the application will not be able to retrieve them.

  • To start a game, just double click on it.
  • To quit a game, click on Emulation at the top and then on Stop.

6 - Install game updates

If you have an update in .nca format:

  • Click on File → Install files to NAND….
  • Select the .nca update.
  • In the drop-down menu, select the game update option. If an error is displayed, check the encryption keys and download.

If you have .nsp version update (recommended):

  • Click on File → Install files to NAND….
  • Select the .nsp update.
  • The program will inform you that it will proceed with the installation, so accept.

If you have updates installed on the NAND or SD card:

  • Copy the entire NAND to% appdata% / yuzu / nand / user or the entire SD card to% appdata% / yuzu / sdmc.

7 - Install the DLCs

The installation of the DLC is identical to that of the updates, so follow the procedure described above.

If the update or DLC has been installed successfully, a message will appear next to all games in the add-ons column of the game list with the word Update or DLC.

If you have only installed an .nca update, it will probably only say Update. If, on the other hand, you have copied the entire NAND or SD or used an .nsp update, the version of the update and the DLC will also be displayed. Don't be alarmed if the numbers don't match the installed version. The version in the game list is the one determined by the Nintendo servers, while the in-game version is independent.

Congratulations, Yuzu is now perfectly configured to run as many Switch titles as you want. For any request or doubt, you can contact us through our Facebook page or directly enter our official Telegram channel, tagging @ Ping1995 for any information.

Frequently asked questions and answers

Go to the start screen and select the archived game.
Press the download option and the game will be transferred to your microSD card.
Keep in mind that the saved data will always and under all circumstances be saved to the console's local storage.

Compilation of frequently asked questions that our users have sent us and that our experts have answered.

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