Manually Transfer (Read/Write) files to Gameshell SD

Hi all,

So as a result of my ongoing wi-fi problem (no networks showing), I was looking for a way to manually access my Gameshell files to back up game saves etc before wiping the SD card.

I was able to view, copy and paste my game files with a free program called Ext2Fsd using a micro SD USB device straight into the computer (please see disclaimer info)

I cut some ROMS from the Gameshell and pasted new ones in, and they worked fine.

This is potentially a way for people to edit their game files without access to WiFi, SSH or other network methods.

PLEASE NOTE: The website below explicitly says that altering Linux files from another system can corrupt or damage them, the website tutorial is for reading files only.
I did have success putting new ROMS on my Gameshell and backing up my save files but please consider it with the knowledge that using this method can potentially corrupt your system or have other undesirable effects.
I did this on Windows only so I don’t know how or whether it would work on Mac.
I deliberately only messed with ROMS and game saves, I wouldn’t try this on any system files or retroarch cores that might be written in the Linux coding.

I run Windows 10 and needed a way to manually view or edit the Linux files on the Gameshell SD card.
Anyone who has plugged it into their PC will know that it comes up with absolutely nothing, because obviously Linux is an entirely different system and code method to Windows.

I stumbled across this tutorial on How to Geek:

The tutorial said that writing files could theoretically be supported, so I gave it a go.

First you download Ext2FSD from the website in the link.

I tried version 0.69 but had trouble starting the partition, so I used 0.68 and found that worked better.

The program website notes a freezing glitch with newer 64bit Linux systems and EXT4 file formats.

My Gameshell is EXT3 file format so that was okay. You could try v0.69 if you wanted to use it on other devices.

When you run the .exe for Ext2Fsd you need to restart the computer to finish installation.


Next remove your SD from the gameshell (be careful when you take it apart not to pinch cables etc) and connect it to your computer via preferred method (USB etc)

After this, run the program and a screen will pop up showing lots of storage areas and a lot of numbers and mumbo-jumbo.

Scroll to the bottom and see if a drive location with EXT3 shows up under the ‘File System’ column.

This means the program has recognised your SD card.


Next, in the top left click TOOLS --> SERVICE MANAGEMENT and see what the “service status” text box says.

If it says “Ext2Fsd is already started” you’re good to go.

If it says the service is NOT started, try clicking ‘Start’. If that doesn’t work, you need to change the Service Startup Mode from the drop down box to SERVICE_SYSTEM_START, click apply, save settings, and then go back and check again.

Also try closing and rebooting the program.

This is the part I couldn’t get working on download v.0.69, so I used 0.68 instead. The service needs to be started for you to read the SD files in windows.


Next, you should be able to open My Computer in file explorer and see a new drive for the SD card from the Gameshell. Keeping the Ext2Fsd program open, you should be able to view, read and write the files on the SD card as if it was a USB on your windows computer.

You will find the game files in the same folder location you navigate to in retroarch, if that’s the system you use.

I backed up, added and removed ROMS and saves to Gameshell without issues.


Have fun! (but please don’t kill your gameshell)

I’m not a programmer or super tech savvy, just wanted to share my experience as I found it helpful when network methods aren’t available. I probably won’t be able to help troubleshoot any problems, but feel free to ask.
The excellent SSH and ethernet tutorials here are definitely safer and better ways to transfer files.

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This is not a convenient method. Every time I have to remove its shell, I have to face many risks. For example, the system file is damaged. In fact, there is a relatively fast, more convenient and more secure way to access the file. That is to connect the computer with USB cable and use USB Ethernet plus SFTP to access the file. As far as I know, the speed is relatively fast, although it can not be compared with direct reading SD.

The OP agrees with you. Just good to have an alternative method, if say you’re needing to back up 400GB of files or something. That would take far too long over Ethernet. Or if your gameshell is just refusing to even start up and you need to rescue your files.

Of course prevention is better than the cure, so regular backup images are a safer bet. I deal with opening and closing my shell on a regular basis, writing images and customs OS’s. I’ve never had any problems, or had any risks. Removing the shell will not damage your file system.

Pointing out that the 0.69 doesn’t work and the 0.68 sounds like a good too go avoid headaches for windows users. I don’t personally use windows, but appreciate this discovery.

Yes the reason I found and used this method is because my Gameshell won’t search for or display wifi networks.
I can’t use SSH like I used to, and foolishly didn’t install ethernet capability.

So this system is an option for windows users with a frozen gameshell or no network access to change or backup their files.

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