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Downloading and Installing RetroArch for Steam Link

Steam Link build isn't in automated build due both SteamLink SDK and LibRetro changes. However you can download here for decent version. The download and installation process is as follows, and may change in the future. Threads, alsa, pulse, neon and shaderpipeline are disabled, RGUI theme is pre-configured and most Cores installed into the root folder for full efficiency.


This is probably the most straightforward way to install RetroArch.

  • FAT32 formatted USB


You can find a cores bundle with RetroArch by clicking here and scroll down until you see the Steam Link section.

Getting USB Ready

Setting up RetroArch

Getting RetroArch ready to install is very simple. Create the file structure in the root directory of your USB as follows:


Unzip the, move the RetroArch folder into the apps folder we just created.

Content Management

Transferring files to Steam Link can be a bit tedious. You can put your contents inside the Content folder in the RetroArch folder, however our goal is to make this process more sustainable. In this case SSH or USBmount will help us.


In order to use an SFTP connection with SSH, we must first enable SSH. It's easy to enable SSH on your Steam Link. To do this, go to steamlink folder and create two nested folders first create the Config directory then enter it and create the System directory there. The directory structure should be as follows;


Then, enter the System directory and create an empty text file named enable_ssh.txt.

Within this, create a blank text file, and label it enable_ssh.txt. The final directory structure should be as follows:



USBmount is an alternative way to connect /mnt/disk. You can find more detailed information in the link below.

Put your USBmount folder into steamlink/apps/

RetroArch is not affiliated with the above link this link may change in the future or may not be original, this subject may vary.


After completing the above operations, you should have a directory structure like the one below. Repeat the above steps until you reach the final result.

steamlink apps retroarch ...
config system enable_ssh.txt

Format your USB to FAT32 type for fresh install. Move the steamlink folder we just created into your USB root. Unplug your USB and make sure your SteamLink is completely turned off by unplugging the power cord. Plug your USB into the first USB port, and then plug in the power cable. When Steam Link boots, RetroArch structure will be read, and RetroArch will be installed. Remove the USB after you see the RetroArch logo on the home screen. You can run the application by pressing the RetroArch logo.

Content Transfer

We can transfer our content with SSH or USBmount we have previously configured.


Find out the IP address that SteamLink receives, which you can learn from your router or SteamLink network settings. Create an SFTP connection with your trusted FTP tool. SteamLink SSH username is root and password is steamlink123, 21 for FTP and 22 for SFTPthe sample scenario for this is as follows. It may be different(ip address) in your case. RetroArch is not related to the specified applications and cannot be held responsible.


Host Username Passoword Port root steamlink123 22

Go to root folder and open apps folder, you will see RetroArch folder in there. Open it and move your contents to contents folder.


Install USBmount the same way we install RetroArch. Remove the RetroArch folder from the apps directory before installation. Otherwise it will re-install on every boot.

After completing the installation, create a folder on your USB and move your contents. Then plug the USB into your SteamLink and run the installed USBmount application.

Last update: 2024-05-17