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Installing RetroPie to Your SD Card For a Raspberry Pi

You’ve bought your Raspberry Pi, you’ve got all of the bits and pieces you need and you’re ready to get your operating system up and ready so you can take on the games of your youth..

First of all, you’re going to need to have an SD card reader so if you’re using a laptop/computer with one built in you’re in luck but if not, you’re going to head off to your favourite retailer and pick one up. Once that’s in hand, you’re good to go and luckily, it’s a simple process and Balena Etcher is available on Windows, OSX and Linux so this guide will work on all platforms! (Make sure that in Step 1 below, you select the correct RetroPie image for your Raspberry Pi as these differ. If you’re following this for a Pi 4 you’ll need to select the Weekly option and look for the ones that have rpi4 in the name.)

  1. Download the RetroPie image (Stable - Weekly)
  2. Download and install Balena Etcher to burn to SD (Stable)
  3. Open Etcher and select the image you just downloaded
  4. Select the SD Card “Target” to burn the image to
  5. Hit “Flash!” and wait for it to complete

Once the burning process has completed, it will verify and validate the files and let you know when it’s safe to remove the SD card from the reader so you can place it into your Raspberry Pi (or similar device if you’re not on the Pi specifically) to get up and running.

A couple of things I’d recommend doing before you put your SD card back into the Pi is to open the /boot folder of the SD card on your laptop/computer and place an empty file called ssh there so that SSH is enabled on boot. This will allow you to access your Raspberry Pi over the network via SSH and make things a lot easier going forward! If you’re planning to use WiFi too, you’ll want to create a file called wpa_supplicant.conf with the following inside (make sure you change the details to your own!)

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
update_config=1
country=COUNTRYCODE

network={
 ssid="WIRELESSNETWORKNAME/SSID"
 psk="PASSWORD"
}