ROM stands for Read Only Memory. In a RetroPie context, ROMs are digital copies of games which can be run on emulators (software that mimics your old gaming consoles). 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.
There are three main methods of transferring ROMs: via USB stick, via SFTP, and via Windows (Samba) shares.
- Ensure that the USB stick is formatted to FAT32 or exFAT, and that the SD card has enough free space to hold all ROMs
- Create a folder called
retropieon the USB stick
- 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
- Remove the USB stick and plug it into the computer containing the ROMs
- Add the ROMs to the USB stick inside their respective folders within the
retropie/roms/$CONSOLEfolder, where $CONSOLE is the name of the target console, e.g.
- Plug it back into the RetroPie system. If the USB stick has an activity light, wait for it to finish blinking, else wait (with many GBs of ROMs, wait several hours)
- Remove the USB stick. The ROMs have now been transferred from the USB to the RetroPie system's SD card
- Refresh the game listing in EmulationStation by pressing F4, or press Start on your controller > Quit > Restart EmulationStation
- The transferred games should now be visible within EmulationStation. If any are missing, return to step 6
SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is a network protocol that allows you to securely transfer files over the internet or locally on the same network when both the PC and RetroPie system are connected to the same router via ethernet or wifi.
SFTP/SSH connection instructions are available on the SSH page. Once you've enabled SSH and connected to your chosen client, you can simply drop the files in the
~/RetroPie/roms/$CONSOLE folder, where $CONSOLE is the name of the target console, e.g.
Samba is a software suite that allows you to access file systems over the network. Naturally both your PC and Pi will need to be connected to the same network via Ethernet or Wifi in order to successfully transfer your files.
- On Windows, type
\\RETROPIEinto the computer folder. You can also replace RETROPIE with your Raspberry Pi's IP address
- On Mac OS X/macOS, open Finder, select "Go" menu and "Connect to Server". Type
smb://retropieand hit "Connect".
Manually copy files from USB-stick
RetroPie version 3.0+ contains a file manager. It allows you to manually transfer files between USB-stick and Raspberry Pi SD card. The file manager can be run from 'RetroPie' EmulationStation menu > File Manager. A Midnight Commander file manager guide can be found here. Your USB-stick should be mounted in
/media/usb. The directories for the ROM files are located in
retropie/roms/$CONSOLE folder, where $CONSOLE is the name of the target console, e.g.