The Homebrew Launcher 3DS

From GameBrew

The Homebrew Launcher
AuthorMany people
Last Updated2022/06/05
TypeTitle Launchers

The Homebrew Launcher, also known as Homebrew Menu (hbmenu for short), is the main menu used to list and launch homebrew applications. It is essentially a graphical shell around an existing homebrew loading mechanism. The following entrypoints are supported:

  • Luma3DS Rosalina (recommended) - Works on all system versions from 4.0 onwards; provides unrestricted access to 3DS system resources and extra features such as remote debugging (GDB).
  • Legacy *hax 2.x - This is a now-obsolete homebrew loading system. Support for this entrypoint is deprecated and may be removed in a future release.


To install hbmenu, simply copy boot.3dsx to the root of your SD card.

If you are using a recent version of Luma3DS you probably already have a copy of hbmenu installed, as it comes bundled with it.

User guide

How to use

hbmenu starts in the sdmc:/3ds/ directory for applications and it will look for 3dsx files inside it. You can navigate the directory tree and open/browse folders as you would expect. Additionally, folders containing a 3dsx file with the same name as the folder (or alternatively boot.3dsx) will be detected as an application bundle folder, and it will be presented as a single icon that can directly launch the application.

Here is an example directory structure that hbmenu will have no trouble recognizing:

sdmc:/ (root of SD card)
  |  |-games/
  |  |  |-Hermes.3dsx
  |  |  |-cubemadness.3dsx
  |  |-Checkpoint/ (this folder will be detected as an application bundle)
  |  |  |-Checkpoint.3dsx
  |  |  |-...
  |  |-ftpd.3dsx
  |  |-mgba.3dsx
  |  |-3dscraft.3dsx
  |  |-blargSNES.3dsx
  |  |-gameyob.3dsx
  |  |-3dnes.3dsx

If hbmenu does not find an icon file (either embedded in the executable or provided separately) to associate with a given 3dsx, it will display a default icon and the path to the executable as a fallback.

Please keep in mind that you should not hotswap the SD card while hbmenu is running, since it compromises the 3DS OS's stability amongst other things. It is recommended that you instead use a file transfer homebrew application such as ftpd to transfer files without rebooting.


You can use the starring feature to bookmark applications, so that they are shown at the beginning of the list.

Create shortcuts

hbmenu also allows you to create shortcuts which are xml files containing a path to a 3dsx file and optional arguments to pass to the .3dsx. This file can also include a path to icon data as well as name, description and author text using tags as follows:

    <executable>The path to the 3dsx file goes here.</executable>
    <icon>path to smdh icon data</icon>
    <arg>Place arguments to be passed to 3dsx here.</arg>
    <name>Name to display</name>
    <description>Description of homebrew app</description>
    <author>Name of the author</author>

Arguments are space or tab separated but can use single or double quotes to contain whitespace.

Name, description and author will be read from the .3dsx if it has embedded SMDH data or from the supplied icon path. The fields in the xml file will then override their respective entries.


hbmenu contains support for the 3dslink protocol, which allows you to remotely load applications. Please refer to the repository of more information.


D-Pad/Circle Pad or Touchscreen - Navigate and select an application

C-Stick (n3DS) - Scroll the list of applications.

A or Touchscreen - Start application

B - Exit submenu/selector

Select - Star/unstar currently selected homebrew application

Y - Launch NetLoader

Home - Go back to 3DS Home Menu

On *hax 2.x, it is not possible to go back to the 3DS Home menu with the Home key. You can use the Start key to reboot your console or relaunch Home menu instead.


Homebrew Launcher for Nintendo 3DS (Kevin Muldoon)

Known issues

Please see


v2.4.0 2022/06/05

  • Added support for filetype associations, backported from Switch Homebrew Menu (Feature developed by @TurtleP).

v2.3.0 2022/01/29

  • Built with latest tools and libraries.
  • Added support for 3dslink server option (requires 3dslink 0.6.1, available via devkitPro pacman).
  • Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience.

v2.2.0 2020/07/16

  • Built with latest tools and libraries.
  • Added starring system (backported from nx-hbmenu): press SELECT to star or unstar an application.
  • Added key repeat support for scrolling.
  • Added wave rendering.
  • Removed support for ninjhax 1.x.
  • Simplified app bundle detection support, removing some obsolete edge cases.
  • Miscellaneous optimizations and bug fixes.
  • Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience.
  • Binary hotfixed on 2020/07/18 01:50 (UTC+2) to solve a hax 2.x compatibility problem.

v2.1.1 2020/04/26

  • Built with latest tools/libraries.
  • Minor text fixes.

v2.1.0 2019/06/29

  • Added netsender functionality, for sending homebrew to other 3DSes directly from hbmenu.
  • Added Chinese language support.
  • Improved Korean and Japanese translations.
  • Now displays Wifi strength in status bar.
  • Hidden files and dotfiles are now hidden.
  • Fixed text rendering in non-JPN/USA/EUR system fonts.
  • Fixed positioning of the HOME button icon in New 2DS XL systems.
  • Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience.

v2.0.0 2017/06/05

  • Complete rewrite.
  • Now using GPU hardware rendering and stereoscopic 3D.
  • Rosalina support.
  • Translations for all 3DS system languages (except for Chinese).
  • Maybe others forgot to mention.


  • smea - Code & original hbmenu version.
  • fincs - Code & rewrite.
  • GEMISIS - Code.
  • mtheall - Code.
  • WinterMute - Netloader code.
  • Fluto - Graphics.
  • Arkhandar - Graphics.
  • dotjasp - Graphics (regionfree icon).
  • gruetzkopf, TuxSH, AuroraWright, Soph1a7, SentientTurtle, Yami-chan, d3m3vilurr, daedreth, JixunMoe, yy-codes, MCPE-PC - Translations.

External links