Is My Nintendo Switch Serial Code “XKW” Patched?
Is my switch patched xkw? The serial code on your Nintendo Switch can reveal important information about whether your console is patched and hackable or not. Specifically, the “XKW” serial code indicates that your Switch is most likely patched and unable to be hacked via the Recovery Mode (RCM) method.
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In this comprehensive 2000 word guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the “XKW” serial code, including:
What Does the “XKW” Serial Code Mean?
The “XKW” serial code refers to the first 4-6 characters of the full serial number printed on the bottom of your Nintendo Switch. This serial code provides information about the production batch of your console.
The “XKW” code means that your Switch was likely manufactured after June 2018. Nintendo released a hardware patch after June 2018 that fixed the exploit in the Recovery Mode (RCM) that allowed the Switch to be hacked.
So if your serial code begins with “XKW”, it unfortunately means your Switch has the patched hardware and cannot be hacked using the RCM method that requires an unpatched Switch.
Background on the RCM Hack Method
To understand why the “XKW” Switch cannot be hacked, we need to first cover some background on the RCM hacking method.
The RCM hack takes advantage of the Recovery Mode in the Nintendo Switch, which is a special maintenance mode that can be accessed by pressing certain buttons on startup.
Early unpatched Switch consoles had a vulnerability in Recovery Mode that allowed external devices to force the Switch to load arbitrary unsigned code via the USB connection. This vulnerability enabled hacking the Switch to install custom firmware and homebrew software.
The RCM exploit method requires the Switch to be unpatched in order to work. After June 2018, Nintendo released a hardware fix that removed the Recovery Mode vulnerability, patching and fixing the exploit.
So Switch consoles with the “XKW” serial code and other codes indicating a post-June 2018 manufacture date contain the hardware patch that makes them immune to the RCM hack method.
Signs Your Switch is Patched
The most reliable way to check if your Switch is patched is to look at the serial code prefix.
But here are some other signs that can indicate your console is likely patched:
- Serial code begins with “XAW” or later – Any serial starting with “XAW” or beyond was produced after the patch release in June 2018.
- Unable to enter RCM mode – Patched Switched cannot enter Recovery/Maintenance Mode, which is necessary for the hack.
- Payload test fails – Sending a dummy test payload to the Switch in RCM results in no response on a patched console.
- Unable to launch hacking tool files – Hacking tools and custom firmware installation will fail on a patched Switch.
- Console banned from online services – Nintendo may ban patched consoles that try to access online services with modified firmware.
So if you see any of those signs in addition to the “XKW” serial, it’s safe to say your Switch is most definitely patched and not able to be hacked currently.
Why You Can’t Hack a Patched Switch
Now that we’ve established that the “XKW” Switch is patched, let’s discuss why patching prevents the console from being hacked.
As mentioned earlier, the patch released by Nintendo after June 2018 fixed the vulnerability in Recovery Mode that allowed external code execution. By patching this vulnerability, the Recovery Mode is no longer accessible to users.
On a hardware level, the patched Switch consoles have an updated configuration of the Boot ROM and key generation process that protects against the RCM exploit vector.
Essentially, they eliminated the very oversight in the bootup sequence that was taken advantage of to allow custom code to be injected and unauthorized modifications to be made.
With Recovery Mode inaccessible and the hardware boot process secured, there is currently no known way that patched Switches can be hacked using the RCM method. Any attempts to hack a patched console via RCM at this time will fail.
Consequences of Hacking a Patched Switch
While it’s currently not possible to hack a “XKW” patched Switch, some users may still be tempted to try to find workarounds and unconfirmed methods.
It’s crucial to know the risks and potential consequences of attempting to hack a patched Nintendo Switch console.
The most likely outcome is that any hacking attempt simply will not work, and result in wasted time and effort.
But there are some other serious consequences to consider as well:
- Bricking – A failed hacking attempt could corrupt the Switch’s boot ROM and essentially “brick” the console, rendering it unusible.
- Banning – Nintendo actively bans consoles that try to access online services with unauthorized modifications. A banned console loses access to the eShop and online multiplayer.
- Malware – Unofficial guides promoting ways to hack patched Switches often link to malware and suspicious software that can harm your computer or Switch.
- Legal Issues – Modifying the Switch against Nintendo’s terms of service and end user license agreement can violate copyright law and lead to legal consequences in certain jurisdictions.
The potential downsides are significant. While we cannot recommend ways to hack a patched console, the wiser choice is to use your Switch as intended by the manufacturer.
Safe Uses for a Patched Switch
Although a patched Switch with the “XKW” serial code cannot be hacked for now, the console can still be used safely and enjoyably with some limitations compared to unmodified consoles:
- Play all games as intended – All Switch games will function normally, except for unauthorized titles from sources like homebrew.
- Access official eShop – You can still make purchases from the official Nintendo eShop normally.
- Update to latest firmware – Keeping your console updated will allow you to continue to use the latest features and fixes.
- Use online features safely – Play online, share screenshots, and use communication features without fear of banning.
The Switch still offers plenty of excellent gameplay and features even if hacking capabilities are restricted. Focus on the massive great library of games available and the streaming and online functionality that a stock Switch provides out of the box.
Outlook for Potential Hacks in the Future
While the current patched Switch consoles seem to be resistant to hacking, the homebrew community continues to search for an exploit that can successfully hack even patched devices.
Here is a quick outlook on the future possibilities:
- Hardware Modchips – Modchips that require soldering to the motherboard show some promise of hacking even patched devices, but they carry serious risks.
- Firmware Exploits – Vulnerabilities may be found in current or future system firmware that could allow custom firmware on patched devices.
- BootROM access – Direct access to write to the BootROM would allow bypassing of the patch, but this is highly difficult to implement.
- SoftMods – Potentially replicating the patch via software rather than hardware modifications may open possibilities.
The outlook for hacking patched Switches remains unclear, but always proceed with caution if attempting any unsupported modifications, as there are risks involved.
To wrap up, the “XKW” serial code on your Nintendo Switch definitively indicates that your console contains the critical hardware patch that blocks the RCM hacking method.
While disappointing for homebrew enthusiasts, this patching was necessary to protect the console’s security against unauthorized modifications.
There are currently no safe and confirmed methods to hack a patched Switch, so use your console in compliance with Nintendo’s guidelines and terms of service.
Focus on the excellent gaming experience and online features that the Switch offers even without custom mods. And stay tuned for any potential future breakthroughs that may open up new possibilities for patched console hacking down the road.