@jengun That did the trick! Thanks a lot for your help and insight. Hopefully this is a solution for others. FYI @gmsinger8808
Glad it works because, to be honest, I don't have Windows 10: it remains a mystery to me that helpful error messages only appear on the command line and that updates sometimes overwrite settings. Why SSH doesn't work for you remains to be clarified (in another thread) ... :-)
I had issues with Pi4 wifi too. In my case I was noticing it when sending files over Samba from W10 or using FTP, and also scraping problems. I'd get constant disconnects and transfer speeds of around 200kb/s even when it would stay working.
I found mentions online of known issues where noise from the HDMI output can disrupt the wifi signal. Every instance I saw talked about said it was only over a certain resolution (1440 I think), but I decided to try disconnecting my 5" screen anyway, which runs 800x480, and as soon as I did that the speeds went up to around 3-5MB/s and the connection stays stable.
You can set it in the file /home/pi/.emulationstation/es_settings.cfg via the line <bool name="ParseGamelistOnly" value="true" />.
Finally got around to try that out. I didn't notice any real difference in starting time. It spends 80%-ish of the EmulationStation load screen with "Loading system config". The total time from console to be in the UI is ~1 minute regardless if ParseGamelistOnly is set to true or false.
It might be my setup, because there's no es_settings.cfg file available so I had to create it myself:
Would adding async to my fstab improve things do you think?
The async option would be ok, but I don't know if it would solve anything. You can just try different mount options - the less mount options you have, the easier it would be to test different combinations.
Today I tried again with a new reflashed image on my pi zero w, I just added Wifi and autostart.sh entry and it worked fine. Guess I will just start over with my pi 3 to get the actual system running from network.
You can use the fstab to mount server shares on availability as well but I have never done this. Nor have I learned about layering filesystems. the ubuntu fstab help page, example
//server/share /media/samba cifs user=user,uid=1000,gid=100 0 0
Sorry for my late reply. Unison and rclone are programs to sync local or remote directories. Both are available in the official software repositories of Debian and thus, also in Retropie. Both can be used over an ssh connection, see Transferring ROMs how to enable ssh on Retropie.