Guide: How To Backup Sega Saturn Internal Memory Save Games To The PC

guide-how-to-backup-sega-saturn-internal-memory-save-games-to-the-pcWhilst the Sega Saturn’s internal memory proved rather useful in comparison to a handful of memory cards, its biggest downfall was how quickly precious save games were lost due to the diminishing battery. Today we look at how to archive these Sega Saturn game saves before it’s too late.

Although there is a more reliable Backup Memory Cartridge available to safely store your hard work, nothing quite beats having a more permanent (and restorable in the worst case scenario) archive of your greatest Sega Saturn efforts - which can also be used in an emulator.

In order to do this we’re going to turn towards Gaming Enterprises Inc, a small producer of retro gaming hardware which has created the Sega Saturn USB Data Link. This professionally made kit connects your Sega Saturn to your PC via a USB connection leading to an Action Replay cartridge, allowing you to easily click one button on screen to start the backup process. Simple!

Parts / Hardware Required

How to digitally backup the Sega Saturn's Internal Memory and Game Saves to the PC

Note: The USB Data Link only archives data from the Internal Memory. If you have save games on a Backup memory Cartridge, copy them over to the Internal Memory before you begin.

1. Install the Sega Saturn USB Data Link Device Drivers and Software on the PC

Upon acquiring the Data Link, you should have been given a CD containing the required drivers and software. Follow the instructions and install everything you need. A full guide to do this can be found here.

2. Connect The Sega Saturn To The PC

With the power off on your Sega Saturn, insert the Action Replay cartridge to the expansion port in the back. Now insert the USB Data Link’s cable to the data port on the Action Replay cartridge, then plug the USB cable into both the USB Data Link and the PC. Turn on the Sega Saturn and wait for the Action Replay to boot up.

3. Setup the USB Data Link Software

Open the USB Data Link software on the PC, then select File > Configuration. In here you will need to tell the software what port your USB Data Link is connected to. To find this out, open Device Manager in Control Panel and check which COM port is currently in use. Select this COM port in the configuration and click OK.

4. Download and Backup Your Sega Saturn Game Saves

Once the Action Replay menu is on screen and you have set up the Data Link software, you are ready to make a backup of your data. Select Transfer Data > Receive Gamesave. Clicking here will give you a new pop-up window. Click Begin Data Retrieval and let the USB Data Link download a dump of the Internal Memory. Once complete you can turn off the Sega Saturn and disconnect the device.

You should now have a file downloaded which is an entire backup of all the save game files from the Internal Memory of your Sega Saturn. Not only can you keep this in a safe place, but also use it in Sega Saturn emulators. Easy, huh?

Optional - 5. Use your Sega Saturn Save Game Backup In An Emulator

To use your save game files in either SSF or Cassini, the Sega Saturn Emulators, you will need to rename your file accordingly. Here are the instructions from Gaming Enterprises Inc:

For SSF:  Rename the “SaturnSavexxx.dat” file to "InternalBackupRAM.bin", and replace the existing SSF "InternalBackupRAM.bin" file with this new one.  Make sure that “Hook Backup Library” is NOT checked in the options.  If “Hook Backup Library” is enabled, the emulator uses a different format for the save files, which is incompatible with the DataLink.     

For Cassini:  Rename the “SaturnSavexxx.dat” file to "BKRAM1.bin" and replace the existing "BKRAM1.bin" file to this new one.  The file will be located in “C:\Windows\profiles\saturn”. 

Optional - 6. Restore An Internal Memory Save Backup To The Sega Saturn

Repeat steps 1 to 3 again, but this time round instead of clicking Receive Gamesave, we need to select Send Gamesave. The software will then ask you to select which file you want to send to the Sega Saturn. Once chosen, click Begin Data Transmission and let the device upload the selected file back to the Sega Saturn’s Internal Memory.

Video of the Sega Saturn USB Data Link In Action


We must say, we’re incredibly impressed at how easy the whole process of backing up Sega Saturn save files is. Gaming Enterprises Inc have created a fantastic bit of kit that we very much recommend to anyone wanting to archive their save games.

If you’re curious as to how well this device works, please feel free to download our completed Sonic R save game with all the characters unlocked, or our completed Shining Force III save game, and see for yourself.

Link: Gaming Enterprises Inc Sega Saturn USB Data Link

If you’ve enjoyed this guide or are looking for one for a different console, we’ve previously covered how to backup Sony PlayStation 1 save game files from Memory Cards and even how to backup Nintendo Game Boy cartridge game saves.

Last Updated ( 15 July 2012 )  


Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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(Link to this comment) JoeMD 2012-07-17 08:57
Pretty cool. Be awesome if this could be done for the DCs VMU.
(Link to this comment) Arcturius 2012-07-18 21:26
There was a device that allowed that at the time I have one here somewhere it actually looks like a mini DC with two VMU port and a PC connection port.

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