How to Add BIOS Files to MAME

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How to Add BIOS Files to MAME
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BIOS files play an essential role in the general operation of computer hardware. The term BIOS is an acronym for Basic Input/Output System, a phrase that encompasses a variety of computer coding that is required for the successful operation of your hardware and software alike. In some situations, BIOS files are necessary to operate emulators of classic gaming devices successfully. The Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, or MAME, is an example of a popular software application that requires its own unique BIOS ROM files to operate successfully. As it turns out, you can add BIOS files to MAME without much effort at all.


The Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, or MAME, relies on specific BIOS files to launch emulated games successfully. Understanding how to add these BIOS files to the MAME directory provides users with a greater degree of flexibility and experience with respect to this unique software package.

The Basics of BIOS Files

On a fundamental level, a BIOS file is designed to interact with your computer's microprocessor to ensure that all critical elements of your system are activated during boot. This is not the only responsibility for BIOS, however. This particular tool is also used to control and manage the flow of data from an operating system to peripheral devices such as a keyboard, a mouse, any printers attached to the computer, the hard disk and more. With this in mind, it is easy to see why BIOS files are so valuable.


Given the fact that MAME acts as a near-universal emulator for vintage arcade games, certain situations arise where this software must use a specific BIOS file to load the game file in question. Your first step on the path to operating MAME successfully is to locate the BIOS file required. Fortunately, a variety of websites offer these BIOS files for download.

It is in your best interests to ensure that the website you download from has the appropriate licenses needed to offer these files to the public. Even though many of the games that use these BIOS files are old, copyright restrictions may still apply.


The BIOS files you download need to be transferred to MAME's ROM folder. As a general rule, you should compress all the BIOS files into a single archive before transferring them to the ROM folder. Transferring these ROM files individually may result in various technical hassles at a later point. Instead, you should compress the BIOS files into a single folder using the onboard compression software included with your computer. After this process is complete, click and drag the BIOS archive into the ROM folder.

Final Steps With MAME BIOS

Once you have transferred the compressed BIOS archive to the ROM folder, your next step is to launch the MAME application. However, it might be a good idea to verify the BIOS archive before launching the software. To do this, go to your computer's command line, navigate to the MAME directory and type mame –verifyroms. After pressing Enter, this command analyzes and verifies all BIOS included in the archive. This ensures smoother operation as a whole.