Installing ROMs

Installing ROMs

Learn how to assemble, install and customize retropie to build a home emulation console.

full course
  1. Overview and Prerequisites For Building a RetroPie
  2. Flashing Retropie
  3. RetroPie First Startup
  4. Installing ROMs
  5. Scraping ROM Metadata
  6. Adding Themes and Splashscreen
  7. Adding Background Music to EmulationStation
  8. Starting EmulationStation and Theme Setup

There are a few ways to install ROMs. Some are faster than others and some need more configuration to setup. I’ll explain how to do it by copying across a network as well as installing from USB.

Copying ROMs Over the Network

This is going to be the easiest method, but probably not the fastest. Pi 4 has 1Gb/s ethernet port and if your network can support that, you should be able to get ~125MB/s file transfer rates. Pi 3 only has 100Mb/s support though (12.5MB/s). If you don’t have a lot of ROMs, I would use network. If you have a lot (over 1GB), I might consider using USB instead.

Using Windows File Transfer

The easiest way (but not quite the fastest) is to use Windows Explorer. Open an explorer window. In the nav bar type \\${ip address of your pi}\ and hit enter.

It should prompt your for a username and password. This will be pi and whatever you set the password to previously. You should now see a nework connection to your pi in explorer.

Open roms and you should see folders for every core installed. Copy your ROMs to the appropriate directory using normal windows explorer methods.

Using WinSCP

I’ve also used WinSCP which can be downloaded here. Its essentially the same process as file explorer.

Copying ROMs via USB

Pi 4 has USB 3.0 which is capable of transferring at speeds of 640MB/s. Pi 3 has USB 2.0 which is capable of transferring at speeds of 60MB/s both are probably going to be faster than a network transfer. However, this is going to be a little more technical. First make sure that you have a USB drive with all of your ROMs (ideally separated by console). Plug it into your pi (ideally a blue USB 3.0 port). Then SSH into your pi.

You may need to update your pi firmware. Might as well do that first:

sudo rpi-update && sudo reboot

Once the pi comes back up SSH into it. Lets see if we can see the USB drive

$ lsblk
sda           8:0    0  1.8T  0 disk
└─sda1        8:1    0  1.8T  0 part /media/usb0
mmcblk0     179:0    0 59.5G  0 disk
├─mmcblk0p1 179:1    0  256M  0 part /boot
└─mmcblk0p2 179:2    0 59.2G  0 part /

this shows that the usb device /sda/sda1 has been mounted at /media/usb0. You should be able to ls (list) /media/usb0 and see your files. Now you can copy them to the appropriate rom location

cd RetroPie/roms
cp /media/usb0/${your console directory}/* ./${retropie console directory}/.

Repeat the copy command for every directory that you need to copy over, making sure to put the files in the correct console directory.

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