Setup Retropie and Pixel Desktop

Setup Retropie and Pixel Desktop Step-by-Step for Raspberry Pi 3

I’ve rebuilt this how to install page. This took me a couple day’s to rebuild.  You won’t find a better-detailed tutorial.   This is it.  Everything you need all in one shot with images to boot.
Please support my work.  You can donate to the right.
For Raspberry 3B / 3B+

In this tutorial you will learn how to:

  1. Download the OS and Disk Imager
  2. Format the MicroSD Card
  3. Add Retropie OS using Disk Imager
  4. Retropie Setup
  5. Keyboard Mapping in RetroPie
  6. Remove Black Borders
  7. Enable Internet LAN / Wi-Fi
  8. Change Keyboard Layout to US or CAN
  9. Updating & Installing lightdm
  10. RetroPi Password & Disable
  11. Install Pixel Desktop
  12. Install Kodi
  13. Updates in the Pixel Desktop
  14. Full System Update
  15. Add Roms
  16. Add your controller
  17. PlayStation Controller Setup for PSX Games
  18. Navigate RetroArch
  19. RetroAchievements
  20. RetroAchievements Messages
  21. Add DosBox
  22. Change Theme
  23. Steven Selph’s Scraper


Download the OS and Disk Imager

  1. So the first thing you are going to need to do is to download RetroPie OS.  You can get it here: //
    Just make sure you choose the correct one for your Raspberry Pi.
  2. You are going to need to download win32diskimager.  You can get it here: //
    Win32 Disk Imager for free. A Windows tool for writing images to USB sticks or SD/CF cards. This program is designed to write a raw disk image to a removable device or backup a removable device to a raw image file. It is very useful for embedded development, namely, Arm development projects.


Format the MicroSD Card

  1. Your next step is to put your MicroSD card into the Adapter and plug it into your computer.
  2. You will need to format it correctly.  To do this please follow my instructions carefully so you don’t format the wrong drives and only your MicroSD card.
  • Check the drive letter of the MicroSD card.  Please keep this in your mind as you will need to remember it later.  Example: Mine is (M:) 119GB
  • Search For CMD, right-click it and run as administrator.
  • Type Diskpart.exe
  • Type list disk
  • Type select disk “n” replace “n”   (with the number of your SD Card)
    Example: Mine is Disk 9 119Gb so I would do this: select disk 9
  • Type clean  (Than press Enter)

This will give you an idea of what you will see.


Add Retropie OS using Disk Imager

  1. Find the downloaded version of retropie.
    Example mine is: retropie-4.4-rpi2_rpi3.img.gz
  2. Use Winrar or 7Zip to exact it.
    Example mine will be retropie-4.4-rpi2_rpi3.img
  3. Install win32diskimager.exe if you haven’t already and open it. Note: Run as administrator.
  4. Locate your retropie.img you downloaded.
    I recommend having the .img on the operating system drive as I noticed weird issues with having it stored on another drive when updating the card or backing it up with win32diskimager.exe  SO keep that in mind.
  5. Make sure the device is the drive letter of your MicroSD and click Write.
  6. When done just Exit
    Note:  If you did it correctly the MicroSD should now say boot.
  7. Now plug in your MicroSD into your Raspberry Pi and turn it on.

Should look something like this!

If you see this message just click Yes, Just make sure it’s the right drive or you may have a bad day lol


  1. This may pop up after win32diskimager.exe is complete.  Just click Cancel and Ok.
    This is because windows cannot read the Linux OS structure.   Win32 should say Write Successful
  2. Go to Start / Computer and check to see if your SD card says, Boot.  or right-click Start menu in Windows 10 because it feels it wants to be different and click on File Explorer.
  3. At the bottom of your taskbar, you will see an icon called (Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media) click it and Eject your MicroSD.
    On Windows 10 it looks like a USB Stick  Just click Eject.
  4. Now plug it into your Pi


Retropie Setup

If you have done everything correctly you should see this splash screen logo.  But if you get a blank screen Just follow the steps again.


Keyboard Mapping in RetroPie

I Recommend starting with a keyboard.  The reason for this is if your controller dies or something goes wrong, it’s the smartest thing to do.
You can also hold a key down on the keyboard to map the keyboard keys.  So will do that part now.

Configure Input
Hold the Enter Key until the menu pops up.

Map Keys Your Keyboard Keys
D-Pad Up Arrow Up
D-Pad Down Arrow Down
D-Pad Left Arrow Left
D-Pad Right Arrow Right
Start Left Control
Select Left Alt
A Enter
 Left Shoulder  1
 Right Shoulder  2
 Left Trigger  3
 Right Trigger  4
 Left Thumb  5
 Right Thumb  6
 Left Analog Up Not Defined
Left Analog Down Not Defined
Left Analog Left Not Defined
Left Analog Right Not Defined
Right Analog Not Defined
Right Analog Not Defined
Right Analog Not Defined
Right Analog Not Defined
HotKey Enable Windows key

Not Defined   Press both the 1 and 2 as a combo for Not Defined.
Now Press Enter or left on the Arrow key.


Remove Black Borders

  1. Now the keyboard is working, navigate to RetroPie and press Enter.  Most likely you see it already and you’re on Audio tab.
  2. Press Enter on Raspi-Config
  3. You should see a blue screen.  Go to Advanced Options
  4. Overscan
  5. It will say: Would you like to enable compensation for displays with overscan?  Say No! and press enter.
    It should say disabled. Press Ok
  6. Move your right arrow key to Finish
  7. Now reboot


Enable Internet LAN

  1. LAN: Plug in the internet cable.  That’s it.  Easy EH?


Enable Internet Wi-Fi

More a pain.  But hail the Wee-Fee gods. lol

  1. WIFI: Go to: RetroPie / WiFi
  2. You will see this message on the 3B+ If not just Connect to Wifi network and find your network and add your key.
    If you do press Yes
  3. Go to Localisation Options
  4. Change Wi-Fi Country.
  5. Choose your location. (Mine is Canada)
    Press Ok
  6. It will say Wi-Fi country set to (your location) just press OK
  7. Go to Finish
  8. Now Connect to WiFi network
    Yeah, I have a lot of Wi-Fi hotspots lol.  There all mine.
  9. Now if you run into this issue, it’s because you are using an American keyboard layout and it needs to be changed.  This keyboard layout is set to the UK.
    I retried it after the keyboard below and still won’t work.  Must have something to do with my booster.  I just connected to my Modem Wi-Fi and instantly worked.  Not important for this tut.


Change Keyboard Layout to US or CAN

The reason for changing this key layout is The @ sign and few others are switched around and not in the correct locations.
This will solve that issue.

  2. Go to Localisation Options
  3. Change Keyboard Layout
  4. English (US)
  5. English (US)
  6. The default for the keyboard layout
  7. No compose key
  8. Finish
  9. I recommend a restart. On the Retropie screen just press the left CTRL and go to Quit
  10. Restart System
  11. Now if you had trouble with the WI-Fi just go back to it and try to enter your Wifi Pass again.  If not continue below.


Updating & Installing lightdm

There’s too much to show for images.   Just follow the information.  It’s simple.

  1. On the main RetroPie menu press Press F4 to enter the terminal.
  2. Type: sudo apt-get update
  3. Type sudo apt-get upgrade
    Press enter and let it run. Press Y when prompt and press enter.   If may run a bit and ask you a few things like Q for quit.   Just follow it.
  4. Type: sudo apt-get install lightdm
    Press enter and let it run. Press Y when prompt and press enter.
  5. Type: sudo reboot


RetroPi Password & Disable

After updating you are most likely going to see Login and pass in the terminal.

  • Login: pi
  • Pass: raspberry
    (for the pass you won’t be able to see this when you type it in)
  1. Press F4 to go back to the terminal
  2. Type in: sudo raspi-config
  3. Click Boot Options
  4. Desktop / CLI
  5. Console Autologin Text console, automatically logged ib as “pi” user
    Press OK
  6. Press Finish
  7. Yes to reboot


Install Pixel Desktop


  1. When back up and running, press F4 again on your keyboard to enter the terminal
  2. Type: sudo ~/RetroPie-Setup/
  3. Press OK
  4. Configuration / tools
  5. raspbiantools
  6. Install Pixel desktop environment
  7. Press Yes
    This may take a bit.  Be Patient and get a coffee.  Actually, that sounds good.  I’m going for coffee!
  8. Press OK
  9. Congrats.  You now have a desktop added with your RetroPie

Slurp!   Good Coffee.  The joys of owning a Bosch Tassimo.  Makes good McCafe cups!


Install Kodi

  1. Back up to: Manage packages
    You can do this by clicking Cancel
  2. Click Back
  3. Manage packages
  4. Manage optional packages
  5. Click Kodi
  6. Install from binary
  7. Click Back / Back / Back
  8. Perform reboot
  9. Click Yes


Updates in the Pixel Desktop

  • You should now be back at the Retropie screen.  Now you can navigate to Ports.
  • Press enter on Desktop


Welcome to your desktop.

Here is the place you can add your Roms or do with as you please.  Example.  This is what mine looks like.
You are going to need a mouse to navigate this desktop.

  1. To see some of the Applications click on the folders named: File Manager
  2. Go to: /usr/share/applications
  3. If you want to add more I recommend taking a look at a post I already made with some other Applications you can add here:
    APPS FOR RASPBERRY PI PIXEL DESKTOP and If you want to make the desktop Dark check this out here:


Lets Update

  1. Click on the terminal icon at the top of the taskbar
  2. You will need to do some Updates.  Add all this in. One at a time until complete.
  3. Type: sudo apt-get update
  4. Type: sudo apt-get upgrade
  5. Type: sudo reboot


Lets Add Roms

I recommend putting your roms onto your flash drive.   You can SSH into the Pi.  There is plenty of tutorials out there for that but will use a physical USB Thumb drive.
SSH Tutorial from ETA Prime: //

Not my place to tell you where to get your Roms.  I would say do it legally and I recommend that.  But if you need to go the dark rout I’m sure you can find what you’re looking for.
If you think I’ll tell you where to get them sorry.  My site doesn’t promote illegal actions.  But however, I will tell you where you can dump them.

You can run zip file roms, but for me, I like them unziped and out in the open.  Yeah, don’t know where I was going with that LOL.
Just to let you know, Mega Drive is Sega Genisis, PSX is PS1 and so on.

  1. Now go back to the Desktop.
  2. Beside the raspberry icon (start orb) click on the folder icon on the taskbar.
  3. Navigate to /home/pi/RetroPie/roms
    This is where you will be able to dump all your roms.
  4. When you have your roms ready just click the raspberry icon (start orb)
  5. Click Shutdown/Reboot.
    Note: Exit to command line brings you back to the Emulation Station.  I find that handy instead of always rebooting.  But if you add new roms a reboot is a must to see them.


It’s time to add your controller

Since the Pi has a Bluetooth menu built into the RetroPie menu it can be useful, but to be honest, it’s not that great.
It sucks with PS3 controllers and connecting some other stuff.   So let’s add Bluetooth Manager

  1. Go back to the desktop
  2. Open the terminal
  3. Type in: sudo apt-get install pi-bluetooth blueman
  4. Type: sudo reboot
  5. Go back to the desktop
  6. You should now see a new Bluetooth icon on the taskbar.
  7. Click on the icon and go to Devices
  8. Put your controller in Pair mode and press Search so it can find it.
    I’ll be using the 8Bitdo SN30 Pro
  9. Right click on the device and Pair it.  Then right click on it again to press trust.
    If not fully connected right click on it again and go to setup and it should work.
  10. This tool works extremely well with PS3 controllers.
  11. While you’re on the desktop right click on the speaker icon and change it to HDMI or Analog depending what Audio source you are using.
    Also, left click on the speaker to turn up the volume
  12. Click Start / Shutdown
  13. Exit to command line
  14. Go to RetroPie and click Audio
  15. Keep this in mind.  If you have audio issues, change it to HDMI or Headphones 3.5mm jack.  If not keep it on Auto.
    Go ahead and Cancel
  16. Press on the left CTRL to bring up Main Menu
  17. Click on Configure Input
  18. Say yes
  19. Now configure your controller to your liking.


PlayStation Controller Setup for PSX Games

If you are like me and you want to use an original layout of a Playstation controller the PS3 controller is best for the original PlayStation games (PSX)

The first thing to do is to map your PS3 controller as the layout of an Xbox controller.

Xbox One / Xbox 360  PS3 Controller
X Square
Y Triangle
Guide Button PS Button

Make sure that the Guide or PS buttons are the HotKey buttons for RetroArch menu.  You get the concept idea.   Now load a PSX game.

  • When a game is loaded press the PS button + Square button together to open the RetroArch menu.
  • Click Quick Menu
  • Controls
  • Follow exactly as I have it.
Left Side Right Side
User 1 Cross A button (right)
User 1 Square X button (top)
User 1 Circle B button (down)
User 1 Triangle Y button (left)

Leave the rest.  Now your buttons should be exactly placed as they should be in the game.


Navigate RetroArch

It’s time to try one of the games you added.   Note: Not all N64 games play like Conker, 007 and so on.  They will lag really bad.
Just choose from Atari and up to PS1.  You will find better results there.  Load the game you want to play.

  1. Open RetroArch
    To navigate RetroArch press your HotKey + X and should bring up the menu.
  2. Save/Load State
    This is where you can see all sorts of settings and the best part ever.   Save States.  To find that go to Quick Menu and Save/Load State
    This will help you on games that kicking your butt.
  3. Achievements
    If you want to view your Achievements you can view them from the Quick Menu / Achievement List.
    Note not all games will display Achievements but if they do you will see the list there.   To setup, Achievements scroll down to RetroAchievements
  4. Take Screenshot
    Quick Menu / Take Screenshot
    You can find your Screenshots located at:  /home/pi/.config/retroarch/screenshots
  5. Show FPS
    Settings / Video / Display Framerate (On)
  6. Quit RetroArch
    If you press Hotkey + Start it will boot you to the menu.
    I recommend just doing this instead.  Quit RetroArch

There is plenty more you can do.  Just don’t play with settings you do not understand as they can break your game.



RetroAchievements are a way to log your achievements on old-school console games. It is integrated into RetroArch and is only supported by select cores.

  • You first need to create an account at // and then go to the desktop and add your credentials to /opt/retropie/configs/all/retroarch.cfg
  • You can add this information by the terminal as well, press F4 but it’s more a pain.
    Type in sudo nano /opt/retropie/configs/all/retroarch.cfg
  • Some of the options that are added are located at the bottom if you want to know what they do and you can decide to remove them if you wish.
  • Just place this information at the bottom of retroarch.cfg
#RetroAchievements Account
cheevos_username = "yourusername"
cheevos_password = "yourpassword"
cheevos_enable = true
#RetroAchievements Account
cheevos_verbose_enable = true
cheevos_leaderboards_enable = true
  • Press File Save


The Hardcore Mode disables the savestates and is optional. If you want to enable it add this line too:

cheevos_hardcore_mode_enable = true

If you want to see some more RetroAchievements related message right after launching a game (such as successful login and the number of cheevos you have unlocked) you can use the Achievements Verbose Mode:

cheevos_verbose_enable = true

Since RetroArch 1.6.8 the RetroAchievements Leaderboards feature is also supported. You can enable it with this config:

cheevos_leaderboards_enable = true

Supported Systems:

  • NES
  • SNES
  • Mega Drive / Genesis
  • Game Boy
  • Game Boy Color
  • Game Boy Advance
  • PC Engine
  • Master System
  • Nintendo 64
  • Atari Lynx
  • Neo Geo Pocket
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color
  • Atari 2600
  • Nintendo Virtual Boy
  • A libretro core compatibility list with RetroAchievements can be found in libretro docs.


RetroAchievements Messages

If you want to change the font size of RetroAchievements messages in RetroArch

  1. Since you have retroarch.cfg already open you can do this by going to the line with video_font_size.  Values between 26-32 should be good on a 40″ TV.

If you are used to configuring RetroArch with RGUI (not the default on RetroPie), you can go to Settings -> Onscreen Display -> OSD Message Size and change it.
The original source of RetroAchievements is from: //


Add DosBox

Do you like old PC games?  So do I.

  1. Go to RetroPie Tab
  2. Click RetroPie Setup
  3. Click Manage Packages
  4. Click Manage Optional Packages
  5. Install Dosbox
  6. Install from binary
  7. After install just click Back / Back / Back / Perform reboot and say yes
  8. You can dump your DOS games here: /home/pi/RetroPie/roms/pc folder from the desktop


Change Theme

  1. In RetroPie menu click  ES Themes
  2. You can download the gallery to see what there is for themes.
    For now, I’ll be installing both crt themes centered and just crt
  3. When done, just press Cancel
  4. When back at the RetroPie menu, press the left CTRL on your keyboard and navigate to UI Settings
  5. Go to Theme Set
    You can use your arrow keys to switch to your theme and press back when done.
  6. Change Gamelist View Style to Detailed



Steven Selph’s Scraper

This scraper will put artwork, information and so on to your roms.  This can take some time to scrape if you have a massive amount added.
This will only work from the terminal with Emulation Station shutdown.  So you will need to type in cd RetroPie-Setup and so on again

Watch a video if needed: //

  1. Press F4 to enter into the terminal
  2. Type: cd RetroPie-Setup
  3. Type: sudo ./
  4. Go to Configuration / Tools
  5. Scraper for EmulationStation by Steven Selph
  6. Before you press Scrape all systems change these two to ScreenScraper
    If they won’t work you can try and scrape from another source.
  7. press ok when complete
  8. Press Cancel / Cancel / Perform Reboot / Yes


You’re set up to Enjoy your Pi

This was one long tutorial that took me a few days to build.   I wanted to go through all the small details to make sure you come out strong and enjoy your new mini gaming computer with the ability to have a desktop.  Even for me, In the future, if I forget this tutorial can help me again.

Please share this post with others so they can enjoy it like you.    Remember.   There are plenty of others I have left out like other emulators to settings because you need to make it the way you want.  You should check out my Raspberry Pi page for other things that can get you more information to applications for Pixel Desktop.

Click the image to enter the page or click here: Enter


  1. Rocki


    Thank you very much for this tutorial… I’m a total newbie to Raspberry, and wanted to customize it my way. Helped a lot.

  2. Rocki


    Just one little question: how do I add shortcuts of applications that I have installed on Pixel Desktop (such as Chromium and LibreOffice tools)?

    • DestructiveBurn


      Hi Rocki. If you mean shortcuts of the applications to the desktop just go to:
      1. /usr/share/applications
      2. Click on the icon you want to create a shortcut for just by selecting it.
      3. Click on Edit / Create Link / Desktop.

      Now you have a shortcut on the desktop. You can always change locations too if you like. Also, a great idea to create a shortcut of the applications folder to the desktop.
      Hope this helps you out. Feel free to ask any questions if you have any.

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