Setting up Lakka for the first time

Lakka is an incredibly lightweight Linux distribution which means you can get Retro Arch up and running on just about anything.  This could be a Raspberry Pi Zero or UDOO, but also you can run it on that PC or laptop you still have laying around doing nothing.  Now that PC could be a little bit more powerful than a raspberry pi, meaning you could be getting some sweet performance out of some of the Retro Arch emulators.

First things first, head over to and download the distro for your platform, you can choose between Linux, Windows or Mac.

I chose a Linux setup and I was installing this on a PC.  But as you can see from the options below, everything’s covered.


Simply download the package unzip the contents and place the image on a USB stick.
Once you’ve done this, power up your PC and enter the BIOS, this is usually done by pressing F8 or esc on the boot screen, whichever it is your PC will show this option when you power it on.

Within the BIOS ensure you can boot from USB and if necessary save and exit.
Plug in your USB stick you saved Lakka to and power your PC on again.

Simply follow the on screen prompts and you will have Lakka installed in under 10mins.

NOTE: If you choose to install to the hard-drive you will wipe the contents of the hard-drive… please be careful!

I chose to install to the hard-drive because the PC I was installing to is going to be dedicated to retro gaming.  Nothing else.

Once you’re done I recommend you setup a connection to your new retro gaming beast by setting up a SSH connection.  The best software to use for this is WinSCP –

The next step is to upgrade Lakka via the main menu, simply use the arrow keys on your keyboard to scroll down to the online updater option and press enter.


Next, connect to your PC via WinSCP.  All you will need is the PC’s IP address which you can easily find by checking out what devices are connected to your router.


Ensure you have WinSCP setup to use the SCP file protocol and “root” as the username. You can then login.

Navigate into the ROMs folder and you will see the various systems you need to drop your ROMs into.

If you don’t see the system you are looking to setup then you will need to create a folder here.  But the naming convention you use is very important as it must match what Lakka uses in the retroarch databases.

Once you’ve placed your ROMs in the relevant folders, go to the Main Menu and select “Add Content”.  You can then Scan for ROMs.  Once you’ve done this the new systems appear as you scroll to the menu options to the right.

However – Some systems are not fully supported even if the emulator now is part of the retroarch core.  Such as the popular Dreamcast emulator, Reicast.

So to make the Dreamcast system appear in the Lakka menu, you will need to setup a Dreamcast/Reicast playlist.

This is the part that took me the longest to figure out and the most googling.  So hopefully this will save at least a few of you a bit of time.

What is important here is the format in which you save the playlist and how you set the playlist file out. So I recommend you use Notepad++ and you change the EOL Conversion to UNIX.


.Ensure you see the following at the bottom of the Notepad++ window


Now use the following lines to setup the playlist.  If you are copying and pasting the text below, please remove the comment “<<-xxxxx->>”  lines.  This has been entered to explain each line.

<<-path to rom->>
<<- Name of rom ->>
<<- Path of emulator core ->>
<<- Emulator name->>
<<- Entry in the retroarch database (just have DETECT here)->>
Sega –
<<- Name of the playlist->
<<- Next ROM->>
Cannon Spike
Sega –

Save this file as a .lpl file and then upload this to the playlists folder.

Reboot your PC and you will now see an accessible Dreamcast menu option… Game on!

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