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What are the various folders and filepaths in RetroDECK?

RetroDECK is a Flatpak a sandboxed bundle of different applications and configurations. One part of the files are none writable while others are.


It's the home folder of RetroDECK itself, it contains:

  • bios, the bios folder, the actual retroarch/system folder is poiting here ~/.var/app/net.retrodeck.retrodeck/config/emulationstation/.emulationstation/downloaded_media is pointing here
  • .downloaded_media, this is where you scraped data is saved (images, videos, logos..),
  • .lock, this file tells RetroDECK that the settings are done and to not reset them, if this file is missing it will trigger a first boot showing the setup. Here is written the software version that is compared to the actual version to check if an update is needed.
  • .logs, logs folder
  • roms, if internal is chosen the roms folder is here, otherwise it's in <sdcard>/retrodeck/roms
  • saves, emulators saves file location
  • screenshots, emulators screenshots location
  • states, emulators save states location
  • gamelists, RetroDECK's gamelist location
  • texture_packs, emulators texture packs location
  • mods, emulators mods location
  • .themes, additional themes folder, ~/.var/app/net.retrodeck.retrodeck/config/emulationstation/.emulationstation/themes is poiting here


This folder is the only flatpak folder that is editable user side, it's mapped as /var in the flatpak itself, from now on we will use the flatpak paths unless differently specified.


  • config, contains all the various software configs such as RetroDECK, retroarch folder and standalones emulator configs
    • retroarch, the retroarch folder (see below)
    • emulationstation, emulationstation home folder (see below)
    • retrodeck, to not be confued with ~/retrodeck/, this folder contains the retrodeck configs, see below.
    • various standalone emulators config folders such as yuzu, pcsx2, melonDS, dolphin-emu and so on.


  • system, retroarch bios (system) folder, this points to ~/retrodeck/bios
  • core, retroarch cores folder, this is populated by /app/share/libretro/cores at the first startup (or with --reset, --reset-ra)
  • retroarch.cfg, the retroarch config, the original one is located in /app/retrodeck/emu-configs/retroarch.cfg, and similarly to above it's generated at the first startup


  • ROMs, this is linked to the roms folder in ~/retroeck/romsor <sdcard>/roms
  • .emulationstation, ES-DE main folder
    • custom_systems, where the customs systems are kept (example the tools file), check the official ES-DE docs for more info.
    • downloaded_media, this points to ~/retrodeck/.downloaded_media
    • themes, this points to ~/retrodeck/.themes
    • es_log.txt, ES-DE log file
    • es_settings.xml, ES-DE settings file


  • tools
  • version, this file carries the RetroDECK version number and it ล› generated during the flatpak build.


Some emulators, like yuzu, needs this path, here for example is even symlinked the yuzu keys and firmware folder.


Where the Steam Input .vdf files are located


Non-flatpak path: this folders contain file such as the .desktop, icons, etc.

This is mapped as the /app folder in flatpak, this folder is inside the read only file system and so all this tree is immutable (actually can be edited by root for develop purposes).
FYI: you can edit the with KWrite, it justs ask you for the root password when saving.


This contains es_find_rules.xml and es_systems.xml


All the binary files, like, the main program (wrapper). All these programs can be launched in developer mode just invoking them in the terminal.


This folder contains the default configuration that is restored with the various --reset commands.

  • emu-configs
  • steam
  • tools
  • es_settings.xml
  • tools-gamelist.xml