How to Setup a Dedicated MAME Windows PC

MAME is a well known vintage computer systems and gaming consoles emulator using which we can play the old favorites without actually having those old gaming consoles. We can install MAME on any Windows system, supply the ROM images to MAME folder and the rest is handled automatically by MAME. It used to stand for multi-arcade machine emulator, but after joining forces with MESS (multi-emulator super system), it is now able to emulate a wide variety of system and gaming hardware from decades ago.

If you use MAME a lot to play old games on your PC, then you may want to setup a dedicate MAME machine for yourself. You can use your old Windows PC for this purpose as MAME does not have very high system requirements. This dedicated MAME machine will boot straight into MAME. You can use any Windows PC for this including the old Windows 7 based computers. Here is how it is done:

  1. Download MAME from and install it on your Windows PC. Copy any game ROMs that you have to the MAME ROM folder.
  2. Download and launch Instant Sheller from You should launch Instant Sheller with administrator level privileges.MAME as Shell
  3. In the Instant Sheller, choose MAME executable as “Application to Shell” and then click on the “I am ready! Do it!” button.
  4. Choose to reboot your PC when asked. When your PC restarts, it will boot straight into MAME. The Windows Desktop won’t be accessible.MAME as Shell

If you want to restore the default Window setup and make it boot into Windows Explorer (so that Windows Desktop and Taskbar are loaded) , then you can reboot your system and press the U key at the boot screen. This will cause the system to revert back to the previous Shell settings and reboot back into the usual Windows Desktop.