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ROM Headers

There are a handful of consoles where it is common for their ROMs to have extra data at the beginning of the file (a "header") that wasn't present on the physical ROM chip.

Some of these headers are used to tell the emulator information about how to emulate the game (Atari 7800 "A78," NES "iNES," Famicom Disk System "FDS," etc.). There are other consoles where it is somewhat common to find the ROMs without a header (Atari Lynx "LYX," SNES "SFC").

Header detection

igir can detect headers for the following consoles and file extensions:

Console Header Extension
Atari 7800 A78 .a78
Atari Lynx LNX .lnx
Nintendo - NES iNES, NES 2.0 .nes
Nintendo - Famicom Disk System fsNES/FDS .fds
Nintendo - SNES SMC .smc

Those file extensions above are the commonly accepted "correct" extensions and igir will attempt to detect if a header is present in those ROM files automatically. If for some reason your files don't have the right extension (e.g. .rom) you can force header detection with the --header glob option:

igir [commands..] --dat <dats> --input <input> --header "*.rom"

igir will use this detected header information to compute both "headered" and "headerless" checksums of ROMs and use both of those to match against DAT files.


Many DAT groups expressly only include the size and checksum information for the headerless ROM, even if the header should not be removed.

Manual header removal

Some emulators cannot parse ROMs with headers and instead need a "headerless" version. This seems to be most common with SNES. Sometimes "headerless" files will have a different file extension:

Console Header Headered
Atari 7800 A78 .a78 N/A
Atari Lynx LNX .lnx .lyx
Nintendo - NES iNES, NES 2.0 .nes N/A
Nintendo - Famicom Disk System fsNES/FDS .fds N/A
Nintendo - SNES SMC .smc .sfc

For every console that igir can understand the headers for, it can also remove them with the --remove-headers option. This only makes sense for the consoles above with different "headerless" extensions, so you have to specify the extensions like this:

igir [commands..] --dat <dats> --input <input> --remove-headers .lnx,.smc

But if you're absolutely sure you want to remove any known header from every single ROM file, you can omit the extension argument:

igir [commands..] --dat <dats> --input <input> --remove-headers

Automatic header removal

Some DAT groups such as No-Intro publish "headered" and "headerless" DATs for the same console, such as NES. igir will treat these DATs differently, it will automatically remove headers (if present) for "headerless" DATs, and leave the header intact for "headered" DATs (ignoring the --remove-headers option completely).

As explained above, you almost always want the "headered" version. It's only in very specific circumstances that you might need the "headerless" version.