From Retro Arcade Guides

RomVault is a ROM Manager developed by Pleasuredome member GordonJ. There's first hand support about RomVault in Pleasuredome.

RomVault is a tool to organize the files on a hard disk according to a dat-file, so that the emulator is able to find and run games.

The same binaries (GUI and command-line) work on Windows (with .NET) and Linux (with mono 3.10 or later).

With version 3.4 (and newer) of ROMVault there is automatic updating of dat-files. Updating the MAME dat-file is free, for other dat-files a sign-up in Patreon is required.


Website Website Address
RomVault Official Homepage
RomVault Wiki
RomVault Discord
GitHub - RomVaultWorld - RomVault 3.0
DATVault - Automatic updating of dat-files

Below is a screenshot of the main window:

RomVault v2.2.4 - main window.png

Quick Guide

A basic guide on usage is below:

Basic guide
1) Download the latest RomVault ZIP from

2) Extract the contents to a folder.

3) Create three subfolders of the folder where the binary is, with the names:

  • DATRoot: put your uncompressed dat-file(s) here; you can create sub-folders to keep the dat-files organized, the folder structure will be automatically reflected on the RomRoot folder after processing
  • RomRoot: leave this empty for now; this is where your ROMs will be after they are organized
  • ToSort: put the ROMs you want to organize here; only put uncompressed, ZIP and 7z files

4) Run RomVault.

5) Press the "Update DATs" button. The folder with the dat-file(s) (DATRoot) will be scanned and the main window will be updated.

6) Press the "Scan ROMs" button. The folders with ROMs (RomRoot and ToSort) will be scanned.

7) Press the "Find Fixes" button. RomVault will try to match the information from the dat-file(s) and the ROMs you have.

8) Press the "Fix ROMs" button. The files that match the dat-file(s) will be renamed, torrentzipped and moved to the RomRoot folder. Files that don't match will be kept in the ToSort folder.

Other guides

Optionally, there are videos with step-by-step instructions on how to use it, all created by the developer of RomVault:

Official videos
  1. Youtube - RomVault How To
  2. Youtube - RomVault 2.0 Tosec Structured or Flat
  3. Youtube - How to use RomVault to join a Pleasuredome torrent
  4. Youtube - RomVault 3 making Mame dats from -listxml


Some hints are below:

  • If you don't set the Merge Type of a dat-file (right-click on the dat-file and select "Set Dir Settings"), Split is assumed by default.
  • If a dat-file has a ZIP file specified, change the extension of the ZIP file itself to something else, such as archive.zap so that RomVault will treat it as a regular file and find it. There aren't settings for that.

Color Key

The Color Key of the colored numbers that appear in the ROM Status column can be accessed in the application itself, on Help → Color Key:

RomVault - Color Key.png


Below, the (DFV) and (D) codes that may appear in Size and CRC32 columns are explained:

Code Explanation
D from the DAT file
F read from the archive File header
V file has been decompressed and Verified

Level settings

There are 3 different Scanning Level settings. Below is a short explanation of them:

Scanning levels
  • Level 1 scanning: still just scans the CRC/Size right out of the headers of the ZIP files, this is super fast, and if you just want to fix a MAME set as quick as you can and are about to join the next MAME torrent which will fixing anything that may be wrong anyway, then this is still probably enough for you.

  • Level 2 scanning: (THIS IS THE BEST ONE - USE THIS) Level 2 scans every file just the same as Level 3, getting and checking the full set of CRC, SHA1 & MD5, and the first time you run a Level 2 scan it will take a very long time, but it also stores the file time stamp of your ZIP files, and so the second time you run a scan it checks the file time stamp, and if the file has not changed then it does not recheck it, so the second time around it actually goes super fast again, only slowing down to read any new or changed files.

  • Level 3 scanning: this then gets the full set of CRC, Size, SHA1 & MD5 of every file it scans which is unfortunately much much much slower that the quick Level 1 scan, as is has to fully extract every file out of every ZIP file and perform all of the checksums on every file. (RomVault 2.0.0 does do all of this in memory, so it tries to be as fast as it can.) But does of course guarantee all your files are truly correct.

There are also Level 1, 2 and 3 Fixing, which sort of works the same as Scanning Levels:

Fixing levels
  • Level 1 fixing: only fixes comparing size and CRC.

  • Level 2 fixing: compares size, CRC, SHA1 & MD5, but will still copy the raw uncompressed data from one ZIP to another, for speed if possible.

  • Level 3 fixing: compares size, CRC, SHA1 & MD5, but will uncompress and recompress every file every time.

Advantages and disadvantages

Below are some advantages and a disadvantage:

  • A database of all dat-files is automatically maintained, so if you have a bunch of ROMs that you aren't sure exactly what collection they belong to, you can scan them just once, and RomVault will move them to where they belong
  • Built-in torrentzip support by default, which is a big time saver (no recompression is needed)
  • Superdats (which is a dat-file containing multiple dat-files) are supported
  • Shows where the files are being taken from, like a rebuild preview
  • Creates 7z archives (new in RomVault 3)
  • Supports dat-files with parent-clone relationships (new in RomVault 3)
  • Supports headers - specially useful for some No-Intro dat-files (new in RomVault 3)
  • Doesn't support RAR archives