How to Use Lakka to Play Classic Video Games on a Windows PC

How to install the Lakka video game emulator

Lakka is a video game emulator based on a distribution of the Linux operating system. If you know how to install Lakka on a PC, you can play classic Atari, Nintendo, and PlayStation games.

Instructions in this article apply to release 2.3.2 of Lakka.

What You Need to Install Lakka on a PC

Before you get started, you'll need the following items:

You'll also need to download Lakka. Make sure to choose the download that works with any operating system. Depending on the CPU architecture of the PC, choose between the 32-bit or 64-bit version. You can tell if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows by checking the Control Panel. You may also need a program like 7-Zip to uncompress the Lakka installer files.

To dual boot Lakka and another OS, use a Raspberry Pi.

How to Create the Lakka Installer for PC

After you download Lakka, create the installer medium.

  1. Download Win32 Disk Imager and install it on your computer.

    Win32 Disk Imager Download page
  2. Plug the USB flash drive into the PC.

  3. Open Win 32 Disk Imager and select the blue folder under the Image File section.

    The File button in Disk Image
  4. Locate and select the Lakka ISO file that you previously downloaded.

    Locate and select the Lakka ISO file that you previously downloaded.
  5. Select the Device drop-down menu and choose the letter assigned to the USB flash drive.

    The device menu in Disk Imager
  6. Select Write, then select Yes to proceed.

    This process deletes the files and data on the flash drive. Move the files you want to keep to your hard drive.

    The Write button in Windows Disk Imager
  7. Once the process is complete, remove the USB drive.

How to Install Lakka on a PC

To turn a Windows PC into a dedicated gaming device using Lakka:

This process deletes the files and data on your spare PC, so back up the files you want to keep beforehand.

  1. With the computer turned off, plug the USB flash drive and game controller into the spare PC.

  2. After powering on the PC, enter the BIOS and modify the boot order so that it starts up with the USB flash drive.

  3. The Lakka bootloader screen appears. When you see the word boot, type installer, and then press Enter.

  4. On the main menu, select Install Lakka.

  5. Select your USB device and wait for the installation to complete.

  6. When prompted to do so, remove the USB drive, then select OK and Reboot. Once the reboot is complete, the Lakka main menu screen displays.

How to Add Games to Lakka

Lakka is based on the Retroarch emulator. If you know how to use Retroarch, you'll feel right at home with Lakka. To add game files to your Lakka PC:

  1. On a different PC, save the ROM file for the game you want to play on a flash drive.

  2. Plug the flash drive into your Lakka PC.

  3. From the Lakka main menu, go to Load Content > Start Directory > USB.

    Load Content from the Lakka main menu..
  4. Choose the ROM file for the game you want to play.

    Locate the folder containing your games and select the file ROM or ISO file for the game you want to play.

    If the ROM is contained in a compressed format, such as a ZIP file, select the entire file.

  5. Choose an emulator for the game system you want to use.

    Scroll through the list and select the emulator(s) you want.

It's possible to add games by transferring files from PC to PC using Wi-Fi or Ethernet cables. For wireless transfers, go to Settings > Services and select SAMBA Enable so that it becomes activated.

Where to Download Video Game ROMs

Downloading ROMs for games that you don't own a physical copy of is illegal in many places. Nonetheless, a Google search can unearth thousands of ROM repositories for most retro consoles.

Scan the files you download from the web with antivirus software to avoid malware.