Installing RetroPie ROMs Through a USB Drive

Introduction: Installing RetroPie ROMs Through a USB Drive

With RetroPie, you can play your favorite games on your Raspberry Pi. The only question is, how exactly do I copy my ROMs from my computer to my Raspberry Pi? There isn't a "Add ROMs And Play" Button anywhere. There also isn't a "Grab ROMs off of Dropbox and Play" button there either. Well, that is where this Instructable comes in handy.

Step 1: Install RetroPie ROMs Through USB Drives

RetroPie is a bit confusing, and it takes a while (and 7000 websites) to figure out how to install your ROMs.

RetroPie works best on a Raspberry Pi 2 or a Raspberry Pi 3 if you have one, but you can also use a Raspberry Pi B if you need to.

Here is the link to the Official RetroPie Website.

Step 2: Install RetroPie

If you've already installed RetroPie, you can skip this step.

On a Raspberry Pi 2 (or 3), the easiest way to install RetroPie is to use BerryBoot. BerryBoot allows you to install and boot multiple operating systems at a time, without the annoyance of having to switch the Pi's SD Card.

First, install RetroPie. To do this, click "Install OS". Then, under Appliances, click "RetroPie", and click "Install".

Step 3: Copy Over the ROMs to Your USB Drive

Copy the ROMs you downloaded on your computer and put it on your USB drive. The ROM file should still end in ".zip" or ".7z". Please only download ROMs if you bought at least one hard copy of the game you're downloading. If you are downloading a ROM for a game which you never bought a hard copy of, it might be illegal.

Step 4: Make Some Iced Tea

Installing RetroPie is going to take a while, so go make some Iced Tea or something and chill out. For me, it took my Pi half an hour to install it, as RetroPie is quite a large operating system (~1GB).

Step 5: Start the File Manager

Now would be the time to plug in your USB drive.

Go to "RetroPie" and push whatever key (or button) you configured as "A". Then, go to File Manager and push "A" again to enter the file manager.

To find your USB Drive, use this:

cd /media<br>

You should see something like this:

usb usb0 usb1 usb2 usb3 usb4 usb5 usb6 usb7

Look at the size of the drives. Whichever one looks like the size of your drive, it probably is yours. Next, use this:

cp /media/*your drive name*/*your rom name* /home/pi/RetroPie/roms/sega32x

Replace "sega32x" with the appropriate folder and press Enter.

Step 6: Restart EmulationStation and Enjoy!

When your Pi's done copying, push "F10" ("FN+F10" for some keyboards) to quit the File Manager. Push the key you configured as "Start" and push "Quit". Then, push "Restart EmulationStation". When your Pi restarts RetroPie, a new Emulator Icon should appear!!! If you see this, it means everything works and you can now play that game you installed! If you don't see this, it means that ROM doesn't work with RetroPie, or you did something wrong. I've noticed that RetroPie doesn't like playing some certain games, so it just exits the emulator when you start it. I've also noticed that Sega Genesis games only work when you put them in the "sega32x" folder.

Here are some games which work:

  • Sonic The Hedgehog (sega32x)*
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (sega32x)*
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (sega32x)*

And that is the end of this instructable! I hope you enjoyed it; I will also be adding more pictures soon too!

*Pokèmon Sapphire, Emerald, and Stadium are probably still trademarks of Nintendo, while Sonic The Hedgehog 1, 2, and 3 are probably also still trademarks of Sega, I included this here because I prefer not breaking copywrite laws and I would rather not be fined $200 for it. (Thank you makeosaurus)

UPDATE 04/05/2016: It turns out RetroPie DOES like Pokemon games for the GBA. You just have to unzip the .zip file and move the .gba file to a USB drive, start RetroPie, and copy the .gba file to "/home/pi/RetroPie/roms/gba". Then, restart EmulationStation and start the game, but before it starts, push "A" to configure the game. In the configuration GUI, change the "emulator for rom" to "lr-mgba". Then, push "Launch" and the gba game should launch properly.

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    6 years ago

    hi..when i copy roms to USB..and then i put my USB to raspi..i restart my retropie and the game auto save..i can play without USB..


    6 years ago

    You aren't legally able to say where roms can be downloaded in case of copyright infringement...


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thank You for pointing that out, I removed the links so, now, hopefully I won't get fined $200 for copyright stuff.