Modify the system while it's running

By default, batocera.linux is like a firmware. It's a file called /boot/batocera. You cannot modify it directly, and for most use cases, you shouldn't need to modify it. All the user data is stored in /userdata/, which is writable.

That said, in case you need to modify the system, there are tips to do it.

For any modification in /boot:

mount -o remount,rw /boot

For any other modifications, you can directly edit the files in their directory (for example if you want to play with the configgen scripts in /usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/configgen/generators/). Once the modifications are done, you can save them with the command:


This script creates a file at /boot/boot/overlay file that stores all the modifications you made.

WARNING: This overlay file is automatically removed at the next upgrade.

If you don't use the batocera-save-overlay script, you can still edit the files in /usr/ but any modification will be lost on reboot.

If you want to remove all your customizations, just remove this /boot/boot/overlay file.

By default, Batocera overlay files are limited to 50MB. If your modifications are over 50MB, you can specify the size of the overlay with the command. Keep always a bit of margin, the overlay will embed a few more files than those you were expecting (some system files created on-the-fly at boot time). For example, if you need to save 120MB of data on the system, you can type batocera-save-overlay 120.

Note : it cannot be done for the current Odroid xu4 version.

Some best practices here:

  • You generally don't need to edit /etc/fstab, use store_games_on_a_nas instead.
  • You should not modify /usr/share/emulationstation/es_systems.cfg. Instead, copy this file to /userdata/system/configs/emulationstation/es_systems.cfg and customize it from there. At startup, EmulationStation prefers the latter file if it exists.
  • modify_the_system_while_it_s_running.txt
  • Last modified: 8 days ago
  • by lbrpdx