How to install Citra emulator on PC Windows 32/64 bit 3DS

Citra emulator PC Windows

Citra is an open-source emulator for the Nintendo 3DS capable of playing many of your favorite games.

It is written with portability in mind, with builds actively maintained for Windows, Linux and macOS.

This guide explains how to install Citra emulator on PC compatibles with Windows OS.


Software requirements

You can find all required data for your device from the link buttons below:

Citra emulatorDownload
Microsoft Visual C++Download

The software requirements for running this application must be met in order for the software to function at all.

System requirements

The hardware requirements for running the application vary depending on your current configuration.

Recommended requirements

OSWindows 10 (or higher)
CPUx64 Octa core (or higher)
RAM6 GB (or more)
GPUOpenGL 4.3 (or newer)
StorageSSD or HDD 1 GB (or more)

For the best experience, users should be running within the recommended requirements.

Minimum requirements

OSWindows 7 (or higher)
CPUx86 Quad core (or higher)
RAM4 GB (or more)
GPUOpenGL 4.3 (or newer)
StorageSSD or HDD 1 GB (or more)

We cannot guarantee the performance of system specifications lower the recommended requirements but you’re always welcome to experiment.

Install emulator

  1. Download the .zip archive
  2. Extract the .zip archive on a folder
  3. Select the folder containing the extracted file
  4. Open the file .exe as administrator
  5. Press install button
  6. Launch the software
Citra emulator PC install


There are a couple settings that can have a big impact on performance.

By default, most settings are set to what is most performant and stable.

If you’re experiencing performance issues after toggling a few settings, go to Emulation -> Configuration -> General and select Reset All Settings.

This will return all the settings to their default values.

Another thing to keep in mind is that upscaling textures is relatively heavy on the GPU.

Whilst most mid-range GPUs should be able to do this without any hit to the performance (within reason of course), low-end dedicated GPUs and integrated GPUs might struggle doing so.

Specifically for AMD GPU users on Windows: If you’re stuck on older drivers from before version 22.7.1, and are having issues with performance in a particular game, try disabling Hardware Shaders in Emulation -> Configuration -> Graphics -> Advanced Tab.

This sometimes boosts performance in some games and this will not work for users on 22.7.1 or newer.

Citra emulator PC setup

Install games

In order to run your games, Citra emulator requires that you dump your games, game updates, DLC and other 3DS system files from a hacked 3DS.

This is the only legal way to obtain these files for use in Citra.

Any other method of obtaining these files is considered piracy and therefore illegal.

Citra can run most games at variable speed, depending on your hardware configuration.

However, not all games are created equally and therefore some games will run at full speed while others might suffer from slow emulation.

You may also experience some slowdowns.

Citra emulator PC Games

Update emulator

This app is from a third-party developer, so an automatic update won’t be available.

You will need to manually update the app by removing the old version and installing the new version on the download section.

All the updates have the latest fixes and optimizations, but their constantly changing nature means that little testing has been done on them and unknown bugs may appear.

Citra emulator PC update


Citra emulator is licensed under the GPLv2 (or any later version); refer to the license.txt file included.

  • Nintendo 3DS is a trademark of Nintendo Co., Ltd
  • Windows is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation

The purpose of the emulator is not to enable illegal activity.

The emulator is not related to or endorsed by Nintendo, or derived from confidential materials belonging to Nintendo.


This guide/tutorial answers the following questions:

  • How to install Citra emulator on PC?
  • Is it possible to emulate Nintendo 3DS on Windows?
  • Can I run Citra emulator on PC?
  • How do I download and set up Citra emulator?
  • How can I play Nintendo 3DS games on Windows?