Easy Guide: Install Batocera on External Hard Drive & Load Roms

If you’re a fan of retro gaming, you’ve probably heard of Batocera. This open-source operating system is designed specifically for running classic games on your computer or other devices. One of the great things about Batocera is that you can install it on an external hard drive and load your favourite ROMs onto it, giving you a portable and customizable retro gaming experience.

Installing Batocera on an external hard drive is a great way to keep your gaming setup organized and portable. By using an external hard drive, you can easily move your Batocera installation between different computers or devices, without having to worry about losing your saved games or configurations. Additionally, an external hard drive gives you plenty of extra storage space for all your favourite ROMs and game files.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of installing Batocera on an external hard drive and loading your favourite ROMs onto it. Whether you’re a seasoned retro gamer or just getting started, this guide will help you get the most out of your Batocera installation and enjoy all your favourite classic games on the go.

What You Need

If you want to install Batocera on an external hard drive and load ROMs onto it, there are a few things you will need:

External Hard Drive

The first thing you will need is an external hard drive. This will be the device that you install Batocera onto and load your ROMs onto. Make sure that the external hard drive you choose has enough space to store all of your ROMs.

Batocera Image File

The next thing you will need is a Batocera image file. This is the file that you will use to install Batocera onto your external hard drive. You can download the Batocera image file from the official Batocera website. Make sure that you download the correct version of Batocera for your external hard drive.


Finally, you will need ROMs. These are the games that you will be playing on your Batocera system. You can download ROMs from various websites on the internet. However, it is important to note that downloading ROMs for games that you do not own is illegal. Make sure that you only download ROMs for games that you own.

Preparing the External Hard Drive

Formatting the Drive

Before you can install Batocera on your external hard drive, you need to format it. Formatting your drive will erase all data on it, so make sure to back up any important files before proceeding. To format your external hard drive, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your external hard drive to your computer.
  2. Open Disk Utility (Mac) or Disk Management (Windows).
  3. Locate your external hard drive in the list of available disks.
  4. Select the drive and click on the “Erase” (Mac) or “Format” (Windows) button.
  5. Choose a file system format (e.g. exFAT, NTFS, FAT32) and click on the “Erase” (Mac) or “OK” (Windows) button to confirm.

Creating a Bootable Drive

Once your external hard drive is formatted, you need to create a bootable drive. A bootable drive is a USB drive that contains the Batocera installation files. To create a bootable drive, follow these steps:

  1. Download the Batocera installation files from the official website.
  2. Insert a USB drive into your computer.
  3. Open a disk image utility (e.g. BalenaEtcher, Rufus).
  4. Select the Batocera installation files and the USB drive as the destination.
  5. Click on the “Flash” or “Write” button to create the bootable drive.

Congratulations! Your external hard drive is now formatted and ready to be used as a bootable drive for installing Batocera.

Installing Batocera on the External Hard Drive

If you’re looking to install Batocera on an external hard drive, you’re in the right place. Follow these simple steps to get started.

Booting from the Drive

The first step is to make sure your computer is set to boot from the external hard drive. You can do this by going into your computer’s BIOS settings and changing the boot order. Make sure the external hard drive is set as the first boot device.

Once you’ve set the boot order, save your changes and exit the BIOS. Your computer should now boot from the external hard drive.

Selecting the Installation Destination

When you boot from the external hard drive, Batocera will automatically load. From here, navigate to the SYSTEM SETTINGS menu and select INSTALL BATOCERA ON A NEW DISK.

You will be presented with a list of available drives. Make sure you select the external hard drive you want to install Batocera on. This is important, as selecting the wrong drive could result in data loss.

Installing Batocera

Once you’ve selected the correct drive, Batocera will begin installing. This process may take some time, depending on the speed of your computer and the size of the external hard drive.

Once the installation is complete, you can begin adding ROMs to your new Batocera installation. Simply connect the external hard drive to your computer and copy your ROMs to the appropriate folder.

That’s it! You’re now ready to enjoy all the classic games Batocera has to offer on your external hard drive.

Loading ROMs onto Batocera

If you’ve successfully installed Batocera on your external hard drive, the next step is to load it up with your favorite ROMs. Here’s how to do it:

Connecting to the Internet

Before you can start adding ROMs to Batocera, you’ll need to connect to the internet. This will allow you to download any updates or patches that may be available, as well as connect to network shares.

To connect to the internet, navigate to the System Settings menu and select Wi-Fi. From there, select your Wi-Fi network and enter your password. If you’re using a wired connection, simply plug your Ethernet cable into your device and you should be good to go.

Transferring ROMs to the External Hard Drive

Once you’re connected to the internet, the next step is to transfer your ROMs to your external hard drive. There are a few different ways to do this:

  • USB Drive: If you have your ROMs stored on a USB drive, simply plug it into your device and navigate to the Ports System menu. From there, select OD-Commander and transfer your ROMs to your external hard drive.
  • Network Share: If your ROMs are stored on another device on your network, you can access them by navigating to the Network menu and selecting the appropriate share. From there, you can transfer your ROMs to your external hard drive.
  • FTP: If you’re comfortable using FTP, you can connect to your device using an FTP client and transfer your ROMs that way.

Adding ROMs to Batocera

Once your ROMs are on your external hard drive, the final step is to add them to Batocera. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Navigate to the Game Settings menu and select the appropriate emulator.
  2. Select the “Add games” option and navigate to the folder where your ROMs are stored.
  3. Select the ROMs you want to add and press “OK”.
  4. Wait for Batocera to scan your ROMs and add them to your library.
  5. Once the scan is complete, your ROMs should be available to play!


Congratulations! You have successfully installed Batocera on an external hard drive and loaded ROMs onto it. Now you can enjoy retro gaming on any computer that supports booting from USB drives.

Remember to always select the correct storage device when booting up Batocera, and to properly eject the external hard drive when you are finished gaming. This will help prevent data corruption and ensure a smooth gaming experience.

If you encounter any issues, refer to the Batocera Wiki or the Batocera forum for troubleshooting tips and support. You can also experiment with different emulators and ROMs to find your favorite retro games.

Thank you for following this guide and happy gaming!

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