This is a list of all the CFWs that exist for the 3DS. CFW is an acronym for Custom FirmWare, which means a customization of the stock 3ds's firmware. Because of bootloader checks, these firmwares can't be installed directly onto the 3ds, and need loaders to modify the firmware in memory.
For some of the words used here, please refer to the 3DS Glossary.
The CFW term
The name "Custom Firmware" (CFW) is widely used by the users but doesn't really reflect what the tools are nor what they are doing.
Users are using the term "custom Firmware" to name different things, like rebooting the console in a redirected NAND environment (emuNAND) or being able to install signed cia packages on SysNAND or emuNAND.
These applications are only patching the 3DS files (mainly the firmware.bin) and are not real "custom made" firmwares. They are only patches applied in memory to edit exiting function in order to bypass some checks, allowing installation of unsigned apps, redirecting NAND access, etc.
Gateway 3DS team released these patches by integrating Nintendo files directly into their launcher.dat file with hard patches applied to them, making the launcher.dat file illegal to share on GBATemp. Nintendo sent a C&D letter asking to not host these files anymore.
The user's "cfw" projects are instead patching the files in real time. No official or patched firmware.bin files are provided, allowing their releases to be posted publicly. Some of the projects are open source and available on github.
These so called "Custom firmware" can be compared to the Wii's homebrew: Priiloader or GeckoOS.
They are only rebooters or real time patchers and are not, by themselves, considered a custom firmware.
List of patcher/rebooter
This paragraph only lists all existing firmware patcher without descriptions. For more information, see the next section.
- Yellows8's CFW
- Palantine's CFW
- Hemlok grove
- Dual-emuNAND CFW
- TRICK CFW
- Custom Firmware Switcher
- NTR-CFW 1.0 (old 3ds)
- NTR-CFW 2.0 (new 3ds)
- NTR-CFW 3.0 (old and new 3ds)
- Gateway 3DS
- Some more flashcart clones, not as widely used.
- Pasta MSET version
- Unreleased: KARL
- Unreleased: Govanify's CFW (He teased it on his site, so I guess it gets a place here)
- Unreleased: Some other private CFWs
Patcher/rebooter with Descriptions
This section sorts the existing projects by groups and has additional descriptions.
These patch signature checks = illegal games, and provide DevMenu installation, and only load with MSET on 4.x. These are pretty hard to set up and a bit unstable when booting.
- RedNAND : Yellows8's NAND redirection tool Leaked by govanify. Boots emuNAND.
- Palantine's CFW : Modified from yellows8's. Boots emuNAND, more stable than Yellows8's.
- Hemlock Grove CFW : Modified from palantine to add better boot success rate. Boots emuNAND.
- PBT-CFW : (Perfect Bricking tool CFW) Modified from palantine's to always Boots sysNAND instead of emuNAND. Main goal was to install cia to sysNAND to update system apps like browser for users with old browser version not compatible with Ninjhax.
- Dual-emuNAND CFW : Modified from palantine's. Boots second emuNAND partition.
- TRICK CFW : Modified from PBT CFW with an additional menu to boot either SysNAND (like PBT) or emuNAND (like Palantine) or second emuNAND (like Dual-emuNAND).
4.x to 9.2
- Gateway (old and new 3ds) : Patches signature checks = free games and emuNAND support via MSET + spider on firmware 4.0-9.2. Requires DRM card. Classic mode only does the emuNAND stuff and supports emuNAND without DRM card until something like 7.x.
- MT-card (old 3ds) : Was used for cartless emuNAND on 4.5 before rxMode came to life. Same stuff as gateway, only boots via MSET on 4.x, supports emuNAND until 9.5, Classic mode works without DRM card.
- Some more Flashcart clones, not as widely used.
- Pasta CFW : Only patches signature checks on firmware 4.0-9.2 via Cubic Ninja, boots to sysNAND
- Pasta MSET version (old 3ds) : Only patches signature checks on firmware 4.x via MSET, boots to sysNAND
- rxMode (old 3ds) : rebooter mode of rxTools homebrew. supports emuNAND via MSET + spider + Cubic Ninja on firmware 4.0-9.2, signature patched, boots to sysNAND and emuNAND
- rxMode with signature patched (old 3ds) : an attempt to patch signature checks when rxTool was still closed sources.
- Custom Firmware Switcher (old 3ds) : Modified from rxTools
- NTR-CFW 1.0 (old 3ds) : Region free, cheats and plugins for MSET on 4.x. Boots sysNAND and emuNAND
- NTR-CFW 2.0 (new 3ds) : Region free, cheats and plugins for Cubic Ninja on 9.x. Boots sysNAND
- ReiNAND CFW (old 3ds) : O3ds Only, Ninjhax only, Emunand Support, Region Free, Eshop, Firm for above 9.x, Signature patches, Memory Debugger similar to NTR's, Ram Dumping, Screenshot
- Govanify's CFW : He teased it on his site, so I guess it gets a place here.
- Smea's CFW : Teased on his site.
- Some other private CFWs. (St4rk's EmuNAND, Smealum's EmuNAND, Bond697's cfw, etc.)