MiSTer Setup Guide

This is an essential guide for your first time setup of the MiSTer system. It will guide you through the SD card installation, help you update the MiSTer system files, and shows you how to install an example console core and run a game.

Manual Installation Method


You will need the following things to get everything started.

For the SD card setup:

  • Windows 10 (recommended, older versions may work). 
  • Internet connection.
  • SD card reader.
  • SD card with at least 2GB capacity.

And to run it:

  • DE10-Nano board + 5V power supply (supplied with the board).
  • HDMI monitor + HDMI cable.
  • USB-OTG (Micro USB) adapter + USB keyboard.
  • SDRAM Board (Optional, but is required for a majority of the cores, see wiki page for instructions.)

Do check the How to start and Input devices wiki pages for further information.

Prepare the SD Card

  1. Download the latest SD card installer.
  2. Insert your SD card into your card reader. All data on the SD card will be deleted! Make sure that the correct drive is selected, and if needed, backup the SD card.
  3. Extract the release_201#####.rar file.
  4. Start MiSTer SD Card Utility.exe

Make sure it says “Boot + Files” in the “Image” field.

  • Older versions of Mister SD card Utility (as pictured above) will say U-Boot + Linux + MiSTer in the Image field.

Select your SD card in the Drive field. If you have inserted the SD card after starting the Installer, hit the Refresh button and your SD card should appear.

The Installer may open multiple windows which will ask you to format the drive. If this happens, don’t format the drive! Press Cancel in all windows.

Press Full Install and confirm the following Warning with Yes. All data on the SD card will be deleted! If needed, make sure to backup the SD card before you execute this.

Confirm the successful installation with OK

The SD card file explorer window may be opened twice, if so, close one of them. The SD-card should contain the following files and folders:

If you see only the menu.rbf file, hit F5 on your keyboard or right click > Refresh to refresh the window. You should see all of them now. There may be other files and folders, but these are the essentials.

The files and folders you should see are:

  • linux – Folder containing linux files
  • config– The configuration folder where various config files are placed automatically. Those files usually don’t need any manual modifications.
    • This folder is no more created by newer version of SD Card Utility, but it will be created automatically by the MiSTer hardware at first run (you can manually create and populate it if you want)
  • menu.rbf – This is the actual MiSTer menu core, which you will see when you boot up the DE10-Nano board (GitHub).
  • MiSTer – MiSTer main firmware (GitHub)

Update MiSTer files

The SD card installer will be older then the actual binary releases of the MiSTer firmware and the menu core. Therefore, we want to bring those files up to date.

  1. Go to the MiSTer-devel/Main_MiSTer Repository and download the most recent MiSTer_202##### firmware file on the bottom of the page.
  1. Rename the MiSTer_202##### file to MiSTer
  1. Copy the file over to your SD-card and override the old MiSTer file.
  1. Repeat this for the menu core file. Go to the MiSTer-devel/Menu_MiSTer repository and download the most recent menu_202#####.rbf core file on the bottom of the page. Rename menu_202#####.rbf to menu.rbf and override the old file on the SD card.

Get a core

We want to actually run a core like the NES or Genesis (Megadrive) console or Amiga computer on our DE10-Nano FPGA board. Therefore, we have to copy a core .rbf file to the root of the SD-card. The sidebar on the right contains a list of MiSTer compatible cores. Check out the GitHub repository page of each core for specific information.

The following description is a generic example based on the NES core, but it is applicable to most other cores.

Do note that the NES core requires additional SDRAM. If you do not have this add-on, you can still continue following the example by using the Genesis core (which does not require additional SDRAM) instead of NES.

  1. Click in the sidebar on Cores > “NES” or go directly through this link to the MiSTer-devel/NES_MiSTer release folder. Download the lates NES_20######.rbf core file
  1. Copy the core file to the root of the SD Card. Leave the date in the filename. By this, you know which version you are actually using.
  1. Create a new folder and name it for example NES Games.
  1. Download a .nes ROM (Game) file and copy it into your NES Games folder. You have to google that by yourself…

Fire it up!

  1. If you’re using additional SDRAM, make sure the SDRAM-Board is properly attached to the GPIO header JP1 of the DE10-Nano board.

Connect the DE10-Nano board via HDMI to a monitor and via USB-OTG adapter to a keyboard. Do not connect the power supply as yet.

  1. Remove the SD card from your PC and insert it in the DE10-Nano board.
  1. Connect the power supply. This will turn on the DE10-Nano board. You will see the MiSTer menu on the monitor. You see in the menu the NES (or Genesis) core we have copied to the SD Card. Hit the Enter key to start it.
  1. You will see a black screen. This is normal because no ROM is loaded yet. Press F12 to bring up the MiSTer menu. In order to run a game, select “Load *.NES” and hit Enter.
  1. This will bring up the SD card root directory. Navigate into your “NES Games” folder and select the ROM you want to start and hit Enter.
  1. Congratulations, you have successfully started your first game on your new MiSTer!

Following steps

To get the most out of your MiSTer don’t forget to (at least) check out the following pages:

Reference source for this article: mister github, please contact to delete if there is any infringement!