Documentation:Installation Guide

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Download and Install RetroShare


  1. Download the latest RetroShare release from the downloads page
  2. If RetroShare is already running, shut it down before updating: right click on the RetroShare System Tray icon, and select quit.
  3. Run the installer package or extract the portable version to a directory of your choice.


Development Version Install (Ubuntu)

For those using Ubuntu, and who don't wish to do the compiling but want a development version for testing. Please note that this installation is of a development version for testing and may have bugs and issues.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:guardianproject/ppa
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:csoler-users/retroshare-unstable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libsqlcipher-dev
sudo apt-get install retroshare06

You may need to install extra dependencies.


Available via the ports system:

Mac OS X

Disk-Image available on the downloads page

First start

Create a Certificate and Login

The first time you start RetroShare, you have to create new Profile (technically a PGP key).

  1. Fill in the requested details
    • Name: Your username in RetroShare
    • Email: the email isn't important, you can just type e.g. "xxx" (this is not required since v0.6 version)
    • Password: choose a strong password/passphrase, it protects your profile and config files (at least 20 characters with numbers and symbols)
    • Location: Some name to identify your PC, because you may later create new locations for the same profile
  2. Click "Generate new Profile"
  3. You will be asked to enter your chosen password/passphrase once more, to validate the Profile
  4. RetroShare should start up.

Making friends

As RetroShare is a Friend to Friend network you need to explicitly add friends to be able to connect to them. Once connected with them you can chat and share files. RetroShare identifies your friends with a public PGP certificate (the one that is created with your profile). In order to connect to your friends you need to exchange your certificates.

None friends ?: If you don't have friends (ie: because testing RetroShare), you should read the FAQ: "I want to test RetroShare, but don't have any real life friends using it".

Send Your Certificate to Friends

  1. Open the "Add a friend" wizard (RetroShare v0.6: top toolbar, button to the right "Add". RetroShare v0.5: left-hand toolbar, top button "Add a Friend").
  2. Either use the "Send an Invitation by Email" function, or copy the certificate manually and send it to your friends via any Chat or Email.
  3. Remember to ask your friends to send you back their certificate.

Add Your Friends to Your RetroShare

When you receive your friends' certificates:

  1. Click on the "Add a Friend Wizard" Button again (see above).
  2. Select "Enter the certificate manually"
  3. Cut and paste their certificates into the window (only one at a time).
  4. Click "Next" Button. A window with your friend's details will appear.
  5. If it looks okay - Click "Finish" Button.

Remarks: The connection will not be made until BOTH friends have added each other's certificates. As you are connecting directly to your friends and not indirectly over a server, you have to make sure the ports for RetroShare are open in your firewall and forwarded in your router. You can connect without opening your ports, but it will take longer and is more unreliable, however it is sufficient if either you or your friend has forwarded the ports.

Use RetroShare


Chatting with friends is very easy in RetroShare. Just double click on a name in the Friends list and the Chat window pops up. To select your chat avatar just click on the default blue avatar picture.

If you want to chat with several of your friends at once, you can create a "Chat lobby". On the right of the Friends list select the "Chat lobbies" tab and click the green plus. If you create a private lobby, only invited friends can join, a public lobby can be joined by all your friends.

Share files

→ Main article: Filesharing

Forums and Channels : spreading principle

After several hours (or days) some names of forums and channels will be displayed, allowing you to subscribe to these. You will only see those subscribed by your friends. This mean that to help the friends to see more forums and channels, subscribing to many forums and channels is welcome (if you have a little interrest in these subjects), if not then your friends might not have access to all the forums and channels that you see (unless a other of their friends is subscribed to).

Further help

Further help can be found in the Documentation and FAQ.

This page is part of RetroShare Documentation
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
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