Loading ROMs from a USB stick

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  shoothere 1 year, 11 months ago.

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    Hi all,

    I recently purchased a 32gb USB stick to store my roms on.

    Copied everything I wanted to the stick, make a symlink with the following command (as somebody else suggested in the forums):

    ln -s /media/usb/roms/ ~/RetroPie/roms

    After a reboot the roms were seen and all was well…exceeeeept:

    NES/SNES/Megadrive/gba just will not load. runcommand.log is empty.
    I expected at this point that none of the emulators would work but much to my surprise FBA and the PSX roms loaded fine.

    Also it seems the Selph’s Scraper has the path hardcoded into it and it will not fall for the symlink trick.

    Any ideas on the matter?




    Perhaps some additional info after some searching:

    The stick is FAT32 formatted, although it should not matter, perhaps it does?

    The stick is mounted as read only and I cannot get it to mount as read/write. Yet again I would not expect this to matter but again: perhaps it does?

    Is the symlink approach the wrong one? I could not find where to set the path where retroarch looks for its files as it seems online guides apply to 2.6 and not 3.X.



    I’m new to this as-well, i tried what someone else suggested, editing the emulationstation/es_systems.cfg
    by pointing it to my USB folder

    But that is not working either. i have formatted my usb to EXT4 and the emulation I’m trying is FBA

    Its working when i put the roms on the SD, but not of the USB



    yup gettin the same problem



    Hello all!

    I have all of my ROMS on a 128GB thumbdrive with the es_systems.cfg for all systems pointing directly to my USB drive, and it works great.

    A few things I discovered in the process:

    1. I had to get rid of the tilde “~” in the roms path when pointing to my USB stick. This is Linuxese for ‘go to root’.

    2. I had to be sure where Retropie saw my stick. In my case it was USB0.

    So my roms path for SNES looks like this:


    This works well for me, but I am looking into using symlinks in the future because every time I update my systems I have to re-edit my es_systems.cfg file… which is a pain.



    o, so how can i change the permissions so i can set the drive to read/write so i can add files via filezilla mac.

    oh, symlinks i’d be interested in using those too, but have no idea how




    Changing the paths in /etc/emulationstation/es_systems.cfg did not work for me.

    @momaw27: are you running 2.6 or 3.X?



    So this is what i did to get my to work retropie 3.1

    I went to /home/pi/RetroPie/roms
    Deleted my rom folder (fba)

    and created a symlink like this
    ln -s /mount/usb0/fba /home/pi/RetroPie/roms

    now all my roms from my usb are showing
    as well as all my images from using the scraper

    now i need to look into deleting the gambles games from my list and racing games



    @fvargasfrank: the ones that were already scraped will show properly, running a new scrape will result in an error. And oddly, FBA works with the symlink, just not other emulators.

    Happy it works for you but, sadly, does not solve our problem haha!

    oh and PS: gambling games ok but racing?! Come on! 😛



    Just tried the snes rom super mario, I created a hyperlink just as before and then i change the emulator to snes9x and the rom loaded



    So it seems emulator related. I will have a look at the different emulators although I would like the Libretro ones to work as they seem to work best.

    Is this an issue that is perhaps being adressed? As it seems some people manage to run them off external drives without any troubles.

    Thanx for the tip!



    I’d recommend making links one system at a time. Aside from that, check for case sensitivity and emulator file type compatibility.



    symlinks should work fine. i use them with all the systems, and the sselph scraper. if your symlink is set correctly, the rom file structure should look exactly the same to anything accessing it, as if it was in the normal place.

    the only problem i had was making sure the usb auto-mounted each boot, and with the right permissions. i can’t remember how i did this, but as a linux newbie i just googled until i found something to copy 🙂 it was something to do with fstab and fat32 permissions. my /etc/fstab looks like this:

    proc            /proc           proc    defaults                0       0
    /dev/mmcblk0p1  /boot           vfat    defaults                0       2
    /dev/mmcblk0p2  /               ext4    defaults,noatime        0       1
    # a swapfile is not a swap partition, so no using swapon|off from here on, use $
    UUID=E44B-FC4E  /media/usb      vfat    nofail,user,umask=0000  0       2

    (last line is the usb)



    @jedimaster666: unfortunately per system links do not work either. As stated above not all systems are affected, strangely enough. It seems more emulator related than anything else as switching to some other emulators for, say, SNES work (although these are not the emulators of choice, as one would prefer the libretro ones).

    @dankcushions: did you symlink the roms folder in its entirety? I take it you are running 3.X? So I take it your USB stick is read write? The USB stick mounts fine each boot, just as read only. I altered the SRM directory to reside on the SD as the size is not that big of a problem



    i’d previously manually set up the symlinks for each rom folder, but i’ve just done a re-build and attempted to do it with one link of the whole folder (i copied the contents of the stock roms directory to my stick beforehand), and it worked fine. saves time, cheers!

    my USB stick is read/write (thanks to that fstab line) and i’m running 3.2.1 (although it worked fine before)



    Well with version 3.5 it works! Pretty much out of the box working!

    Only thing that still requires a manual run is Sselph’s scraper, which is easily downloaded and run from inside the new USB directory as per this documentation:


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