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How to install and set up DuckStation

Last Updated on December 1, 2023
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When you download DuckStation, 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 folder, there are two .exe files, which is what you’ll use to load up DuckStation. 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. 

The one with nogui in will load up a clean user interface that displays things in a more modern fashion. The other – my preferred – is pretty much a 1:1 copy of Dolphin’s layout. 

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 DuckStation to pick up. 

In an easy to get to place – not just leaving it in the downloads folder – you’ll need to search Google for a BIOS file for the PlayStation. Set the BIOS location via the settings and you should stop getting any errors on boot. 

In Settings, you can set where the games will be detected. Set this to your designated folder and if they don’t immediately appear, you can either close out and start it back up or press ‘Scan for New Games’ in the settings menu. 

Enhancements will allow you to scale the game up to 16x, with 9x being 4K and 5x being 1080p. Post-processing will slap on filters like scanlines and you can also rebind controller buttons to how you see fit in Controller settings, which also allows you to change what type of controller you have plugged in, in case you really want to play the PS1 port of Diablo.

In General, you can even set DuckStation to integrate with Discord, start in fullscreen or update the application. 

DuckStation also includes Achievements, but you’ll need to log into your account with RetroAchievements to get it going. 

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

  • How to save games with DuckStation
  • Download DuckStation

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.