How Do I…play my Wii games from a harddrive?

February 17, 2011

So I know you are wondering, what does this have to do with Control4? Well, for the most part nothing ;-) However, if you want to put your wii in a closet or equipment room so you can tie it into a matrix switch for whole house distribution, then this is a great tweak to your wii. We have been discussing this at c4forums, so I finally went and did it, and thought I would share my process. I followed 2 main sources to accomplish this and wanted to compile it.

First off, let me point out that this write up is to instruct you on how to download games you OWN to a harddrive. We are in no way condoning the use of this to pirate software.

The first step is to get the Homebrew Channel on your wii. First you need to find what menu version you’re wii is on to determine how to add the channel. Turn on your wii and at the bottom left select the wii circle. Then select wii settings, now at the top right you will see your version. If it’s below 4.3 then getting the homebrew channel will be a little easier.

So for those who are on a menu system below 4.3, follow these instructions here. After you get the homebrew channel installed via those instructions, jump down to my 2nd download of softmod files below and finish up the project.

You need 3 things to do this: 1-Wii, 2-usb harddrive(I would get one with at least 500gb). On average you can expect one game to take up 2gb of memory, some way less and some more. I have downloaded 12 games and used a total of 22gb of memory. Some were like 0.4gb and some were 4 gb. 3-SD card with 1-2gb memory. Apparently more then 2 gb doesn’t work, I don’t know why and I didn’t care since I had a spare 1 gb card laying around. This card is used to load items to the wii you will need and hold the coverart for your games once you have loaded them to the harddrive. This means this card’s permanent home will be your wii after your’re done.

Some of us however are on a wii menu version of 4.3 which requires a little more work. Depending on the letter after 4.3 will deteremine your options on what game disc you need to hack the wii with. My version was 4.3u, so I had a few games I could use(there are more, but these were the 2 that I kept running accross), neither of which I had.

1. Super Smash Brothers Brawl
2. Lego Indiana Jones the Original Adventure

After a run to my local Play & Trade video store, I walked out 12 dollars poorer, but with a smile on my face. I had gotten my hands on a used copy of Lego Indiana Jones, so now I’m all set. Plus my kids might actually play this game!

I followed this link for the most part. I’ll go over it here and add the necessary links for the downloads. This works for 4.3e and 4.3u.

Download the first set of Softmod files called 4.3-HackMii-Installer.zip
from HERE. Don’t click on the big download link at the top scroll down a little and find the file name and download it. I saved the file as is to my desktop.

Format your SD Card in FAT32 Format and copy the downloaded files to the card keeping the file/folder structure. You do this by clicking on the file on your desktop and you will see a folder called hackmii_installer_v0.8. Then select extract all files above it. This brings up a window asking where to extract the files. Select the browse button and drill down to your sd card that you have put into your computer. It will then add the file to your card.

Insert the sd card into your wii and then play Lego Indiana Jones Original. The link I gave you says to beat level one, then save it, then delete it. However you don’t have to beat it. I played level one for a little while and grew impatient, and stopped and backed out. It warned me that I would lose my game info since I hadn’t gotten to a save point and I proceeded anyway. Then I went on to the next step and it worked as planned.

Now that you backed out of the game and are back to the wii menu, select the wii circle at the bottom left. Click on data management, then saved data, then wii. Click on the SD tab at the top right. You should now see 3 Indiana Jones blocks. Pick the one that has your region and copy Indiana PWNS save game to the Wii.

Now play Lego Indiana Jones original WITHOUT HAVING THE NUNCHUCK CONNECTED(you will get a black screen telling you to connect it, this will disappear after a few seconds), load save game slot 1 when the game loads, you will be in Barnett College. Walk to the Art Room (through the Courtyard), approach the left character on the podium. When it zooms on him, choose the switch to option (two silhouettes, staggered, with an arrow pointing between them). This is a crazy description, watch this video I found which shows you what to do.

Hackmii Installer should now load like in the video.

Select Hackmii Installer and Press A.

Read the message about not paying any money for the HackMii Package and Press 1.

Install Homebrew Channel.
Install BootMii as Boot2 if possible, if not install as IOS.
Exit Hackmii Installer.

The Homebrew Channel should now load. If not you might be at the regular wii menu, and you should see a new icon called the homebrew channel. Mine is on the bottom row in this picture.

Select it so we can begin the next step to allow you to play games off your harddrive. After you selec the homebrew channel select start. Then press the home button on the wii remote and choose Launch BootMii.

Make a NAND Backup, DON’T freak out that your wii remote isn’t working now, read below.

BootMii does not support the wiimote so you have to Press Power, Power, Power, Reset, Reset.
Just for reference the BootMii controls are:
Power = Right
Eject = Left
Reset = Select

Once the NAND Backup is complete you need to backup the following files to your computer, do not loose these files as this is the backup files for your Wii which you may need to restore if something goes wrong:
sd:\bootmii
sd:\nand.bin
sd:\key.bin

Exit to the Homebrew Channel.

************This is where people on a menu version below 4.3 can join back in************

Format your SD Card in FAT32 again.

Download the second set of softmod files called 4.3-Mod_Pack.zip
from HERE.

Copy the files to your SD Card keeping the keeping the correct file/folder structure just like we did the first time.

Turn on your wii (if you turned it off) and select the Homebrew Channel that we now have and press start. In the Homebrew Channel Press the [HOME] button on the wii remote and Load BootMii.

Somewhere around here I kept getting an identity error(I should have taken better notes :( ) if you get this along with the error message it tells you to hold the b button while you press the A and plus button, to get around the error. It worked for me. It may have been back when I was loading homebrew channel and it wanted to update it, heck I don’t remember but if you get a weird error along the way look and see if it says something about holding the b button on the remote and do it.

Multi-Mod Manager should Start via cboot2.
Select “WAD Manager” and Press A.
Press (1) to “Install all Wads” and Press A, 19 wads should install without issue.
“Press any button to continue”.
Be sure all the wads install correctly, if the WAD files fail to install, install 1 at a time.
Press B two times and go back to the Main Menu.

The last thing left to do is Install Priiloader. In the Homebrew Channel select Priiloader at the top and Press A.
Read the warning and Press A to Install.
Priiloader installer will give the following two errors, this is not an issue, and is expected:
/loader.ini couldn’t delete error -106
/password.txt couldn’t delete error -106
Reboot your Wii and Priiloader should load. (it didn’t load automatically for me, so I had to do what it says below. Turn the wii back off, hold the reset button and turn the power back on while holding the reset button. This caused priiloader to load.)

Select Hacks and Press A.
Enable “Block Disk Updates” and “Block Online Updates” and scroll to the bottom to save your settings. This will keep the wii or a game from trying to update your wii menu version and thus maybe killing your homebrew channel.

You can now reset your Wii to get back to the 4.3 System Menu.
If you want to get back to Priiloader at any other time just hold Reset while turning on the Wii.

Now we need to format the harddrive for the games. We need to download a software program for that. Click HERE and download the WBFS Manager 3.0

You should have a nifty wii icon on your desktop called WBFS Manager 3.0. Double click on it and hook your usb harddrive to the computer and you should see a screen like this.


At the top left select the drive that your usb harddrive is in. Be EXTRA careful you select the right driver, you don’t want to format the wrong one. Then to the right of that select format. Make sure you don’t have anything you want on that harddrive first though. Once it says complete you can remove the harddrive and install it to the bottom usb port of your wii.

Go to your normal wii menu, you should have an icon that says usb loader gx. It’s at the bottom right of the TV screenshot above. If not, go to the homebrew channel and select start and then choose it from the top and load it. Now it should be on your main menu. You want to select it and press start, this is where you will access all your games. Right now it’s a blank middle gray screen. At the bottom it shows how much memory you have used and how much you have left on your harddrive. To get back to the main menu you can choose the will circle at the bottom right, but we don’t want to do that right now. We want to do the fun part. Insert a game into the wii. A message will pop up asking if you want to install it, select yes install. It will pop up how much memory it will take and hit ok. Then you will watch is slowly install. Once it’s done you will see a blank box to the left and the title of the game to the right. You can select the blank box now and add the coverart or you can wait and add all your disc first then select one box and it will add the art for all of them. After you get them loaded the top bar has different options including how you want them displayed. Here is what mine looks like based on the way I chose to display them.

So to pick a game you turn the wii on, go to the usb loader gx icon, press start. Then find your game, select it, and then select the spinning disc and off you go. My kids have already had a field day with this, and I’ve had it operational only 1/2 a day. Now I don’t have to worry about my 20 month old ruining disks.

Hope you enjoyed
pharmdsmith
Paul J. Smith
paul.smith@thesohoshop.com