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INI Settings

The MiSTer.ini configuration file contains global settings and is capable of storing core-specific settings for the MiSTer. We'll go over each of the Global settings here and then show you how to make exceptions for those global settings for each core. Then we'll describe some core-specific settings that can be used for core exceptions only.

Alternate MiSTer INI files

Before we get started, let's explain how the Alternate MiSTer INI files can work. MiSTer supports up to 4 .ini files in total (MiSTer.ini and 3 alternate INI files). You will need to create additional .ini files manually to use this feature. By default when your MiSTer boots, it will load MiSTer.ini from the root of your MicroSD card (or in /media/fat/ if you are looking at the MiSTer remotely or from the terminal over the network). You can use hotkeys to switch to the alternate MiSTer INI files on the fly. You can also switch to Alternate MiSTer INI files in the OSD by pressing left to get to the Misc Options screen and selecting the desired INI. Hotkeys are preferred however as the screen may become unusable if there is an incompatibility. The naming scheme of the Alternate MiSter INI files is important, see the table below for the naming scheme and the corresponding hotkeys.

Filename Hotkey Combination
MiSTer.ini Controller: Back + Right
MiSTer_alt_1.ini Controller: Back + Left
MiSTer_alt_2.ini Controller: Back + Up
MiSTer_alt_3.ini Controller: Back + Down

This is useful for things like hybrid cores that can play multiple systems. For example, the Sega Master System core which also supports Game Gear games. You may want to use a vscale_border setting just for Game Gear games, so you can set up an alternate MiSTer INI file by copying your current MiSTer.ini and renaming it to MiSTer_alt_1.ini, editing the vscale_border option just in that one will allow you to apply a border to Game Gear games on the fly. Another example is if you want to switch your video_mode (screen resolution) on the fly for various reasons, or if you want to switch your vsync_adjust option on the fly.

Alternate MiSTer INI Naming Option

You can also have some alternative named MiSTer.ini files and they will appear named in the OSD Information screen when you press Left on the gamepad/keyboard where the IP address and resolution are showng. The regular MiSTer.ini is called "Main", whereas the custom named ones will show up as whatever comes after the underscore. For example, MiSTer_CRT.ini will be selectable in the config section and be called "CRT" next to "Main".

General Video Settings

vscale_mode - Changes how the image is scaled to the screen. 0 will fit the whole image to screen, 1 is 1:1 integer scaled, 2 uses 0.5 steps to scale, and 3 uses 0.25 steps to scale.

vscale_border - Sets an overscan border to the screen in number of pixels (1-399)

hdmi_limited - Changes the color range output over HDMI. 0 = 0-255, 1 = 16-235, and 2 = 16-255. A setting of 2 can be useful if you have problems with some Digital Video adapters. It can also help if your screen has a dynamic backlight and you want to brighten things up, to change the setting to 1.

fb_size - Effects the scaling of things drawn to the Linux framebuffer, such as when you run scripts. Best left to 0 for automatic.

video_mode - Sets the resolution for HDMI and VGA_Scaler output. This can be one of the premade values from 0-13 or it can be a custom video mode. See the notes in the .ini Master for custom video mode syntax. There is also a useful custom video mode tool by morf77 available here which can be used in conjunction with a modeline calculator.

video_info - Number of seconds that it will display the video info in the top left corner of the screen whenever the resolution or frequency has changed.

vsync_adjust - Adjusts the buffer settings for the frames sent to the display. For more details on how this works, see the Video Configuration's vsync_adjust section. Essentially, the values of 0-2 are in order of most compatible+highest lag to least compatible+lowest lag.

refresh_min - Forces a minimum refresh rate.

refresh_max - Forces a maximum refresh rate.

Analog Video Settings

forced_scandoubler - VGA output will always run in 31kHz mode (scandoubled) if this setting is turned on, useful for computer CRT's.

vga_mode=rgb - Changes the VGA output to a rgb, ypbpr, svideo, cvbs. rgb is default.

ntsc_mode=0 - Only for S-Video and CVBS vga_mode. 0 - normal NTSC, 1 - PAL-60, 2 - PAL-M. Note: No cores officially use these settings.

composite_sync - Sends the sync signal on Hsync over VGA output, needed for certain configurations.

vga_scaler - Sends the scaler output to the VGA port (either Analog IO or Direct Video). This is usually used with computer CRTs and other 31kHz displays which are not compatible with 240p TV signals.

menu_pal - Forces the Menu core to run in PAL mode.

direct_video - This changes the HDMI output to an analog signal, only supported with certain Direct Video Adapters that have AG62xx chipsets. If you have issues with color or no image, in addition to checking composite_sync and ypbpr options, you can also try changing hdmi_limited to 1. If you are using ypbpr with component cables, the Direct Video adapter will need a modification to combine HSYNC and Green in order to work.

fb_terminal - Best left at 1. If you have issues with running scripts on a CRT or Analog display, try switching this to 0 to see if that helps.

vga_sog=0 - Forces Sync on Green using the Analog IO board. (Ignores Switch)

Audio Settings

hdmi_audio_96k - Changes the HDMI audio sampling rate from 48kHz (default) to 96kHz. This can help with the audio of some systems that have strange sampling rates (like Turbografx-16's sampling rate of 32.088kHz for instance).

dvi_mode - DVI mode over the HDMI connection, this disables audio transmission over HDMI when turned on.

Controller Settings

mouse_throttle - Can be used to change the speed of your mouse (1-100). Good for very sensitive mice.

gamepad_defaults -

bt_auto_disconnect - Amount of minutes of inactivity before Bluetooth disconnects automatically. Default is 0 (off).

bt_reset_before_pair - Resets bluetooth adapter before pairing dialog. If you enable this some input devices may get shutdown after a reset.

rbf_hide_datecode - Hides the date codes from the core names in the core selection menu.

osd_timeout - The length of time the OSD is displayed when brought up and no inputs have been pressed. 0 - never timeout, and the range of values are 5-3600 seconds.

osd_rotate - Rotate the OSD. Useful for when you rotate your monitor for certain Arcade cores. 0 - no rotation, 1 - rotate right (+90°), and 2 - rotate left (-90°).

Debug Settings

log_file_entry - Writes filename under the curse in browser for use by external integrations.

Adding Core-specific Settings

It is possible to specify different settings for different cores; for example, you may prefer to use integer scaling just for the Game Boy Advance core so that you don't need any video filters for smooth scrolling. Simply add a section at the end of the INI file with the core name in brackets and paste your different settings below there, like so:


Or, suppose you wanted to add an option to select 8:7 aspect ratio for the SNES core:


The Menu core can have its own settings too. Create a section named [Menu] to specify settings for it.

You can also make exceptions for all Arcade cores with the [arcade] header in the same way, and you can have separate settings for vertical arcade cores by using [arcade_vertical] because you may want a different video preset by default for vertical oriented arcard cores.