Manual upgrades/downgrades

This is for if you:

  • can't upgrade/downgrade from stable to beta or vice versa using MAIN MENU > UPDATES & DOWNLOADS > UPDATE TYPE > “Stable” or “Beta” and updating,
  • want to downgrade to an older revision,
  • want to install a custom version of Batocera,

First a little explanation of how Batocera is laid out on your drive, as this will help in understanding exactly what files need to be placed where later on:

An illustration showing how the batocera system is laid out on a USB stick: the BATOCERA partition first, containing all the programs, and then the SHARE, containing all the userdata

  • The boot partition contains the files required to boot, as well as the batocera virtual filesystem file. On boot, this filesystem is expanded into RAM to run Batocera proper. You'll also find batocera-boot.conf here. In Batocera v31 and lower, the custom splash videos you have uploaded would be copied here too. This partition is assigned 6 GB of space (4 GB with older images of Batocera), with 2 GB used by Batocera. Files in only this partition are overwritten when updating Batocera; it's relatively simple to upgrade/downgrade Batocera versions because of this design.
  • The userdata contains “the rest”, all the BIOS files, ROMs, save data, user configuration (including batocera.conf). This partition is not touched when upgrading/downgrading. This is designed to be portable between all versions of Batocera, even Batocera builds running on different platforms (granted, weaker platforms like SBCs won't magically gain the ability to play ROMs for emulators they don't have).

To upgrade/downgrade manually:

  1. Download the boot.tar.xz file of the version you want. The official ones are available at (for older versions use, navigate to your architecture and go to /stable/last/archives/). Here's a list of architectures and links to their builds.
  2. Unzip the .tar.xz file (it's just like a .zip, you can use 7-zip on Windows) into the root of your Batocera drive's boot partition (This is the default partition you see when inserting the drive into Windows) and overwrite the existing files. You may have to assign a drive letter under Windows Disk Management to see it in the file explorer.

Alternatively (from Batocera 5.23 onwards) you can do this from SSH. Get the URL to the right architecture's last folder and run batocera-upgrade [URL]. For example, a x86_64 platform would run


You should then see output similar to this:

Starting the upgrade...
need to download 1876mb
m/upgrade/boot.tar.xz     0%[                              ]   9.55M  1.82MB/s    eta 19m 42s

For Batocera 5.7 to 5.22, the command (for PC x86_64, please adapt to the right architecture) would instead be:


These commands download the compressed upgrade (or potentially downgrade) file and expand it to overwrite the Batocera system on the boot partition. Upgrading or downgrading like this doesn't remove any of your user data (ROMs, saves, metadata…). Like never, ever.

It has surfaced that the update is initially downloaded to the /userdata/ partition, and then transferred to the /boot/ partition. The behavior of this needs to be confirmed, but for now keep that in mind you'll need free space on both your boot and userdata partitions.

If you get an error message telling you that you don't have enough space on your Batocera boot partition while attempting to upgrade, there might be several reasons:

  1. Your drive is less than 8GB total. Batocera can run on these drives but you will be missing out on using the built-in updater.
  2. On Batocera v31 and lower, the splash video file(s) (which are copied to the /boot partition) are/is taking up too much space. Remove them/it, reboot and try to upgrade again.
  3. Your first installation was an older version of Batocera, where the /boot partition was initially assigned less space (compared to installations of newer Batocera versions).

To work around this, you can any one of the following:

  • Insert your drive into another computer, back up the contents of the FAT32 boot partition of the drive (Windows should only be able to see this partition and nothing else by default), delete the /boot/batocera file (it is just called batocera without a file-extension and is about 2 GB large (smaller in older versions)) and extract the boot.tar.xz file to the root of that partition. Rename the freshly extracted /boot/batocera file to batocera-update, then boot Batocera. Be aware that by doing this you would have to do this manual workaround every time you need to update.
  • Boot into Batocera, SSH in or use the file manager's xterm and run the following:
    mount -o remount,rw /boot

    Backup your /boot/boot/batocera file to another device (cp /boot/boot/batocera /userdata/system/batocera-backup, or you can exit the xterm with [Alt]+[F4] and then use the file manager to copy the file to your /userdata/system/ folder). Then run the following command to delete the batocera file and immediately upgrade:

    rm -i /boot/boot/batocera && batocera-upgrade

    Confirm the file you want to delete. You should then get an output that looks like this:

    Starting the upgrade...
    need to download 1876mb
    m/upgrade/boot.tar.xz     0%[                              ]   9.55M  1.82MB/s    eta 19m 42s

    Be aware that by doing this you would have to do this manual workaround every time you need to update.

  • Flash a spare USB/portable hard-drive with a new copy of Batocera and boot into that, copy all your /userdata/ (everything in Share) from your old Batocera drive to your spare USB/portable hard-drive and then reflash the old Batocera drive with a new version of Batocera (or just continue to use your spare USB/portable hard-drive).
  • Backup your /userdata/ to another device (you may lose file attributes by doing this, causing problems with WINE/Cemu) and reflash Batocera.
  • Extend the boot partition of your drive using an advanced tool like gparted or GNOME Disks (a.k.a. gnome-disk-utility). This will likely destroy your userdata partition, so back up all your ROMs, saves, configs, etc. first. This is not the recommended method, as it may cause irreversible damage to your drive and it may damage the MBR/GPT table, causing the drive to become unbootable. Consider the other options first or just staying on your current version of Batocera. Batocera v30 requires at least 6 GB in the boot partition to be able to use the built-in updater.
  • upgrade_manually.txt
  • Last modified: 29 hours ago
  • by atari