How to Unzip ROM Files

By Alan Donahue

Updated September 22, 2017

i Jupiterimages/ Images

ROM files are digital files of video games for classic systems like NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, PlayStation and SEGA Genesis. Many websites like ROM World and ROM Hustler offer free ROM downloads, but they come packaged as Zip or RAR files that store the data. Unzipping these files is an easy process and in some cases, special emulator software will automatically unzip the software for you.

Manual Unzipping

Download a free zip file application like WinZip or WinRAR. Follow the official installation instructions and then open the application.

Create a folder on your desktop entitled "Unzipped ROMs." This will help you stay organized if you have dozens of ROMs downloaded to your computer.

Open the zip or rar file in the application. Click on the "Extract" icon for the ROM file. Choose the "Unzipped ROMs" folder as the location. Click "OK" and wait for the file to be fully exported.

Repeat this process for the remaining ROM files that you want to unzip.

Use the unzipped ROM files in an emulator that is compatible with those ROMs.

Emulator Unzipping

Download a video game emulator that opens your type of ROMs. For example, ZSNES will only open ROMs specifically for the SNES gaming console. Use websites like the Emulator Zone or ROM World to find emulators for different systems.

Click on "File" and select "Open ROM."

Find the ROM file and click "OK." The emulator can only open one ROM at a time, so do not try to click more than one ROM file or the application may freeze.

Wait for the application to automatically unzip the game file. The game will load and become playable within the ROM.

Exit out of the emulator to return the ROM back to the zipped state. Repeat this process for any other ROMs to unzip them through the emulator.