How to import saves from DraStic to DeSmuME and vice-versa

May 12, 2020
Updated • May 12, 2020
Tutorials, Windows software

DraStic is hands down the best Nintendo DS emulator for Android devices. It's a premium application that I've been using for years.

Did you know that saves that you make in-game using the app are compatible with other emulators on PC (and other platforms)?

Here's why I became interested in it. Recently I began playing Chrono Trigger on my Android phone using the DraStic DS Emulator. I'm really not a fan of the touch screen controls of the official port of the game and I have the game on my Steam account.

But there are 2 areas in the game where touch screen controls are horrid. One involves a "rodent", the other a "treacherous mountain". It was the latter that was causing a problem for me. I tried getting past it about 20 times to no avail, because the touch controls aren't fluid.

That's when I wondered, could I move the saves from DraStic (on my phone) to DeSmuME (on my laptop)? I knew that the keyboard controls could help me get past the area I was stuck in. I came across the solution at the official DraStic forums, though the process wasn't fully explained, and needed a bit of tinkering with. But sure enough, it worked like a charm on my first try.

How to import saves from DraStic to DeSmuME

Please note that we cannot use save states directly, the in-game saves are the one we need. For e.g. Chrono Trigger's over-world map lets you save the game anytime.

1. Save your progress using the built-in option in the game.

2. Connect your phone to the PC, or send the following file to yourself via email or an IM app.

3. Open the DraStic backup folder on your phone and look for the game's DSV file. For e.g. /storage/emulated/0/DraStic/backup/Chrono Trigger.DSV

4. Transfer the file to your computer.

5. Rename the file's extension from .DSV to .SAV. For e.g. Chrono Trigger.SAV

6. Run DeSmuME and start the game. You will see that the only option on the screen is to start a new game.

7. Click on the File menu and select "Import backup memory" and select the save file (.SAV) that you transferred from the phone.

8. In the pop-up window that appears, select Manual EEPROM 64kbit. Hit OK

Note: If you select "Auto" in step number 8, DeSmuME imports a 1kb file to the Battery folder and it gets stuck on "Intializing save file memory" screen after importing the SAV.

If the import worked correctly, the game will reload and you will see other options on the main screen. Click on load game and the save file is ready to be used.

Let's say you want to do this the other way, it's possible too.

How to import saves from DeSmuME to DraStic

Note: On your phone, take a backup of your current save file (.DSV). This is only required if you went from phone to PC and back again.

This is a straightforward process.

1. Rename the .SAV file from the battery folder in DeSmuME's directory, to end with .DSV. For e.g. C:\Users\Ashwin\Emulators\desmume-0.9.9a-win64\Battery

2. Transfer this file to the DraStic backup folder on your phone. e.g. /storage/emulated/0/DraStic/backup.

3. Start the game using the DraStic app. Load the save using the game's built-in "load" option. You're good to go.

Article Name
How to import saves from DraStic to DeSmuME and vice-versa
Learn how to to import saves from DraStic to DeSmuME and vice-versa. This is a fairly simple process.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Anonymous said on February 14, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    ok i try the drastic to desmume method with pokemon mystery dungeon explolers of sky and it doesnt work for me for some reason i just get new game option X_X

    1. Jesus Christ said on April 9, 2022 at 11:10 pm


  2. Wouter said on February 3, 2021 at 9:22 am

    Transferring the file from Desmume to Drastic doesn’t seem to work for me. I have a DSV and a NDS file with the same name in the backup folder from Drastic on my phone. But when I boot up the game in Drastic it just starts a new game. Anyone an idea what I could be doing wrong?

    1. guille said on March 8, 2021 at 1:40 pm

      Try changing the save file to .dsv instead of .sav, worked for me.

  3. delt said on September 10, 2020 at 7:46 am

    Thanks for the info. I was playing a game called “Last window: secret of Cape West” (which wasn’t released where i live) and at one point there’s a puzzle that makes a rather weird usage of the DS’s hardware sensors, which i needed to test on a real DS.

    To convert a Drastic save file into a usable save file for the DSTwo cartridge, you just need to shave off the extra bytes with a command like:

    dd bs=1024 count=256 if=”input.dsv” of=”output.sav”

    …for a 256Kb save file. This should work on any Unix system, ie. Linux (including Android itself) BSD, MacOS etc. For winblows, well….

    Haven’t (yet) tested the reverse operation, but i’d presume if simply copying the file saved on the DSTwo back to the Drastic dir on my phone doesn’t work, i’d just need to re-append the extra few bytes at the end.

  4. Mageia said on July 12, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    I don’t have those options ‘Import Backup Memory”

    I have desmume 0.9.11 x64 on Linux

  5. Trey said on May 12, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    Nice tip foolishgrunt.

    Off topic but does anyone know the best way to play the original Majora’s Mask on Win10? Best emulator for it I guess?

    1. Ashwin said on May 14, 2020 at 5:27 am

      Project64 Pretty straightforward to use. Enable the N64 plugin.

      You could try Mupen64, it’s good too.

      There are some pretty good texture packs that you can install to make the graphics look better.

      Just FYI, the 3DS remake which has some QoL improvements, runs flawlessly on Citra.

      1. Trey said on May 15, 2020 at 7:19 pm

        Thanks Ashwin

  6. foolishgrunt said on May 12, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    I recently played through Chrono Trigger (a few times) on DraStic myself, and I know exactly what parts you’re referring to. :)

    Also, for extra credit.

    DraStic’s .dsv files are essentially raw .sav files, but with a few bytes of DeSmuME-specific data appended to the end (specifically so that this procedure outlined by Ashwin will work). On the other hand MelonDS (my preferred DS emulator on PC) cannot interpret this DeSmuME-specific data, and will need to be stripped out by a hex editor. In this case, you need to use a hex editor to strip it out. Open the file, find this at the very end:

    |<–Snip above h
    ere to create a
    raw sav by exclu
    ding this DeSmuM
    E savedata foote
    UME SAVE-|

    …remove it, and save. Now you have a save file that you can import into any DS emulator that supports raw .sav files (presumably DeSmuME as well, though I have not tried).

    1. Ashwin said on May 14, 2020 at 5:09 am

      Thanks for that.

      MelonDS is pretty good too. There is a new QT version in the works.

      1. fakewooder said on July 26, 2021 at 8:19 pm

        This worked from DraStic to MelonDS Android as well!

        DraStic seems smoother for the time being, but it’s nice to know you can transfer anytime.

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