How Do I Transfer ROMs to RetroPie?

Article author
Michael
  • Updated

Transferring ROMs

There are many issues involving copyright laws regarding the usage of ROMs, so in order to preserve the integrity and longevity of the RetroPie project, the download locations of ROMs will not and cannot be added to the Wiki. That being said, in the search of your childhood - Google is your friend.

Transferring ROMs

There are three main methods of transferring ROMs: via USB stick, via SFTP, and via Windows (Samba) shares.

USB stick

  1. Ensure that the USB stick is formatted to FAT32 or exFAT, and that the SD card has enough free space to hold all ROMs
  2. Create a folder called retropie on the USB stick
  3. Plug it into the RetroPie system. If the USB stick has an activity light, wait for it to finish blinking, else wait a few minutes
  4. Remove the USB stick and plug it into the computer containing the ROMs
  5. Add the ROMs to the USB stick inside their respective folders within the retropie/roms/$CONSOLE folder, where $CONSOLE is the name of the target console, e.g. snes or arcade.
  6. Plug it back into the RetroPie system. If the USB stick has an activity light, wait for it to finish blinking, else wait (with many GBs of ROMs, wait several hours)
  7. Remove the USB stick. The ROMs have now been transferred from the USB to the RetroPie system's SD card
  8. Refresh the game listing in EmulationStation by pressing F4, or press Start on your controller > Quit > Restart EmulationStation
  9. The transferred games should now be visible within EmulationStation. If any are missing, return to step 6

SFTP

SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is a network protocol that allows you to securely transfer files over the internet or locally on the same network when both the PC and RetroPie system are connected to the same router via ethernet or wifi.

SFTP/SSH connection instructions are available on the SSH page. Once you've enabled SSH and connected to your chosen client, you can simply drop the files in the ~/RetroPie/roms/$CONSOLE folder, where $CONSOLE is the name of the target console, e.g. snes or arcade.

Samba-Shares

Samba is a software suite that allows you to access file systems over the network. Naturally both your PC and Pi will need to be connected to the same network via Ethernet or Wifi in order to successfully transfer your files.

  • On Windows, type \\RETROPIE into the computer folder. You can also replace RETROPIE with your Raspberry Pi's IP address

samba

  • On Mac OS X/macOS, open Finder, select "Go" menu and "Connect to Server". Type smb://retropie and hit "Connect".

Manually copy files from USB-stick

RetroPie version 3.0+ contains a file manager. It allows you to manually transfer files between USB-stick and Raspberry Pi SD card. The file manager can be run from 'RetroPie' EmulationStation menu > File Manager.

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