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How to install and set up Dolphin on PC

Last Updated on May 17, 2023
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When you download Dolphin, you don’t even need to install the program. It’ll download in a .rar file, so you’ll want 7zip or WinRAR to extract it and place it wherever you want. I chose the desktop for ease of access. 

Inside the file is a .exe file, which is what you’ll use to load up Dolphin. If you want to avoid going to the folder for whatever reason, right-click and press “create shortcut” and place that on your desktop instead. The .exe has to exist within the file structure or it won’t be able to grab the files it needs to launch. 

Now in another place, preferably somewhere with a large amount of storage, make a new folder called something like “Games”, this will be where you place all your ISO files for Dolphin to pick up. 

If you’re a stickler for organisation, you can even make multiple folders and choose each one by adding them individually. When you’ve done this, you’ll be able to press ‘refresh’ in Dolphin for it to begin populating the list of games you have!

If you close out of this and choose Graphics, here you’ll be able to tinker with the game’s output to your own desires. This includes forcing 16:9 or 4:3, as well as enabling V-Sync to avoid screen tearing or even choose your particular wanted renderer like DirectX or Vulkan. 

Start with the native resolution if you’re not too sure about how your PC is going to handle things and from there, just raise it further if you’re on a PC that’s more than capable. Remember that you will still need a beefy PC, as you’re not only running your own things but the emulator on top of it too, which is trying to render out higher resolutions of fake hardware. 

Controller options will allow you to map out your keyboard, controller or whatever other devices you have to however you like to use within the emulator. You can even dictate what controller you’re trying to emulate and work from there. This is great for things like Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, where you don’t have the option to clap into a microphone and would need to bind a button to mimic it. 

Starting out with Dolphin and emulation? We’ve got the following guides for you!

  • Download Dolphin
  • How to save with Dolphin
  • How to play multiplayer (offline and online) with Dolphin
  • Recommended PC Build for playing Gamecube games with Dolphin
  • Recommended Gamecube games you should play on Dolphin

Joel is a a lover of janky games, Magic the Gathering, and going down rabbit holes. For PC Guide he has written about peripherals, the Steam Deck, retro games, news and more.

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