Wii Hacking FAQ
Welcome to the Wii Hacking FAQ!
This will be a collection of the most relevant info that can be found on the forums, just on one place. Feel free to add or correct the information here, but bad changes will be undone!
- 1 What are Modding and Homebrew?
- 2 What must I keep in mind if I want to softmod?
- 3 What are Modchips ?
- 4 Homebrew
- 5 IOSs and System Menu
- 6 BootMii
- 7 Backup Loaders
- 8 Cheating in Games
- 9 GameCube Games
- 10 Game Backup Process
- 11 Burning Information
- 12 Bricks
- 12.1 Kinds of Bricks
- 12.2 Brick Prevention
- 12.3 Brick recovey
- 13 Miscellaneous Questions
What are Modding and Homebrew?
Modding is altering your wii so that it runs code not authorized by Nintendo. Homebrew are unauthorized programs created by talented people. There are two ways to mod your Wii. They are soft modding or using a Mod Chip. The main advantages of using a modchip is the ability to read the backups at 6x and better brick resistance. The advantage of soft modding is that you don't need to buy a chip, open up and solder it into your Wii. Soft modding will only allow a read speed of 3x (for DVD launchers) at this time, however the load times aren't much longer at 3x due to advanced caching methods (load times are faster than 6x for USB loaders).
What must I keep in mind if I want to softmod?
Do not run any updates until you are sure you won't lose any functionality by doing so.
Nintendo has released several fixes to try and block homebrew and softmodding, although so far a way around has always been found. If in doubt check http://wiibrew.org/ to see if it's safe to run the latest update.
Always read and re-read the instructions. If you do something improperly it can result in a "Bricked" wii.
What are Modchips ?
A Modchip is a Hardware Modification chip for the Wii (or any other console). By installing a Modchip (which usually involves soldering), you are able to play Backuped games from disc or, since short, from USB. Unlike with Softmods, disc based games will run at their normal speed (instead of half speed). See the Wii modchips Wiki page for more info.
You can find most homebrew on one of these sites:
IOSs and System Menu
The main interface of the Wii. This is the screen with all the channels that appears after you press A on the health screen.
What are Custom System Menus (cSM)?
These programs patch or replace the nintendo menu, adding features not available from nintendo.
Note that the term csm is also used to name Custom Themes for the system menu.
What are IOS?
Input/Output Systems. They are used for many different things:
- Some are used by the system menu
- Others are used to launch games or channels
- One of them (the MIOS) is used for launching GC games.
And what about cIOS?
cIOS are custom versions of IOS. They are made to make the wii run fakesigned (unofficial) content. Mostly used in combination of a backup launcher or wad manager.
GBAtemp does not allow you to share IOS. Sharing a cIOS Installer is allowed.
In order to understand what BootMii is/does, let's first see how the Wii boots:
Wii booting process
The Wii is booted in some simple steps:
- The first step is boot0. Boot0 is responsible for activating most (if not all) hardware of the Wii. Since boot0 is found on ROM, it cannot be modified once it leaves the factory.
- After boot0 finishes, it will load boot1. Unlike boot0, boot1 can be overwritten (as it's not on ROM). Doing so however will result in a permanent brick (due security checks in boot0).
- The last stage of the booting process is boot2, which will launch the system menu (or if you have Priiloader, it will boot that instead).
Like stated above, there are 3 phases in the boot process. You might often see that BootMii is installed as boot2 (or IOS if that's not possible). Let's see why:
- Boot0 is on ROM, and cannot be overwritten. On top of that it has a lot of checks for boot1...
- Due to the checks, it is not possible to modify boot1 without bricking the Wii. Boot1 does some hash checks on boot2, then boots that.
- However, older versions of boot1 contain the Trucha bug (this is often called "having a vulnerable boot1)! This makes it possible for us to make it accept a trucha patched boot2!
Notice how I said older versions. Nintendo was already aware of this bug and has fixed the problem by releasing a new boot1 version on all new Wiis. Of course, Wiis that already had the old boot1 will keep it because of the boot0 checks.
Thanks to the fix of Nintendo, it's no longer possible to install BootMii as Boot2 on the newest Wiis.
How does it work?
The principle of BootMii is not only based on this Trucha patch in boot1, but also is a security flaw of the Wii booting process. More specifically, the BlockMaps that can be found in boot2. These BlockMaps contain a "map" which marks all bad blocks on the Wii NAND.
In a normal situation, boot2 can be found at blocks 1 and 2, but also as a security copy in blocks 6 and 7. Blocks 3 and 4 are blank.
Whenever you install BootMii as boot2, it will write to those 2 empty blocks (3 and 4). It is not possible to store all data in just those 2 blocks, so you have to put some files on the SD card as well (these files are generated when you prepare the SD card with the hackmii installer).
Just like any other boot2, BootMii contains a BlockMap. This blockmap will always be the highest version among the boot2 BlockMaps. Something remarkable is that Blocks 1 and 2 are marked as "Bad" (while they may contain a working Boot2).
Whenever boot1 wants to boot boot2, it will check every boot2 on the system. Besides the normal hash check, it will also see which boot2 has the newest version of BlockMap. It will notice that the BlockMap of BootMii is the newest and also sees that blocks 1 and 2 are marked as "Bad". Thanks to this, it will automatically skip the (probably working) boot2 of the first 2 blocks and boot the next one instead, which is BootMii.
BootMii, once launched will first try to run the files in the BootMii folder on the SD card. If these can't be found, it will continue the boot process like normal.
Is it safe to install?
BootMii as boot2 is very safe to install. If something during the install goes wrong, the Wii will still be able to boot another boot2. The BlockMap is written as last, so it will not mark the first boot2 as bad.
Navigation through the BootMii menu is easy. The only problem is that you can't use the Wii Remote.
Instead, you'll have to use a Gamecube controller or the Buttons on the Wii.
- D-Pad - Choose
- A - Confirm
Wii button controls:
- Power button - Next option
- Reset - Confirm
What is a NAND backup?
The NAND backup is, just like its name says, a backup of the NAND of your Wii, which is stored on the SD card (you can move it anywhere you want, but to use it, it must be in the SD card root).
It is highly recommended to make a NAND backup directly after installing BootMii, even if you could only install it as IOS!
To backup your NAND:
- Insert the prepared SD card
- Go to the fourth option (settings), then choose the first option (NAND backup)
- Confirm and wait...
- Copy the nand.bin and keys.bin on the SD card root to a safe place.
To restore the NAND:
- Place the nand.bin and keys.bin in the root of the prepared SD card
- Put the SD card in the Wii
- Go to the fourth option (settings), then the second option (NAND restore)
- Press the button combination it shows and wait...
There are 2 types of Backup Loaders:
- Disc backup loaders
- USB Loaders
Whatever method you prefer is up to you. Both versions have their own advantages and disadvantages, so there is no way for us to tell what method is the best among the two.
All backup launchers need a cIOS (custom IOS) installed before they will work. It is recommended to always update your cIOS to the latest version to have the best compatibility with the least problems.
If you are not sure on how to Install a cIOS, you can always follow one of the Guides above.
Disc Backup Loaders
NeoGamma topic NeoGamma is currently the most extended disc backup loader. It has all recent fixes (002 fix, alt dol, ...) and supports SD/USB loading as well!
A project started by Requiem. Due to the open source nature of this program, the revisions are too numerous to cover in a faq.
This loader has an excellent compatibility with games because it allows you to choose what IOS to use to run games.
Gecko OS is not really a backup loader, but rather an original disc loader. It was originally created to be able to load region free games (since Nintendo blocked this function with a system update). The only way to load backups with this loader is by installing cIOSCORP (see below).
The newest versions of Gecko OS have the ability to extract IOSs out of the update partition and install it. Like this, you can install the IOS that is needed by the game without having to update all the rest.
cIOSCORP is not a backup loader at all, but instead it will allow you to run disc backups through the Disc channel. To accomplish this, it simply patches ALL IOSs, so that when a backup game asks for a specific IOS, it will always be able to run the backup.
Because DARKCORP modifies a lot of system essential files (IOS), it is very dangerous to install this without knowing exactly what it does. Never install it without doing further research first!
Don't like swapping out the discs all the time? Don't want to hurt the laser of the Wii? Then USB Loaders are a must have for you!
A USB loader is able to run games from an external USB device, which is connected to one of the USB ports on the back of the Wii. Some USB loaders have the ability to load games from an SD card as well.
So do you need anything extra in order to use USB loaders? The answer is no. Eventhough USB loaders can only work with a cIOS that has USB 2.0 support, this won't be a problem since all recent versions of cIOS have this.
USB Loader GX
This loader is based on the fantastic libwii gui by tantric (who is also known for the emulators with GX in their names). It has some unique features among all loaders, like an integrated Homebrew Channel and Channels launcher.
GX was also one of the first loaders to support FAT and NTFS partitions to store games on (after Configurable USB loader). More info can be found in the readmii
- Topic: here
Configurable USB loader
It doesn't come as a surprise when I tell you that this loader can be customized in almost any way. This loader is known for its stability and its great support and updates.
- Topic: here
An usb loader that is based on Coverflow. This is probably the best looking loader for the Wii, with its smooth menu and effects. Like configurabe USB loader, the postion of the covers can be adjusted to almost any position.
- Topic: here
Here's a short list with common problems and their solutions:
- Screen displays in black and white
- Pal mode on a tv that only supports NTSC. try forcing the video mode
- Red tinted games
- Force video mode, Use composite cables instead of RBG
- Game hangs at a green or black screen.
- Don't force the video mode. Get a copy of the game from your region if needed.
- Disk Read Errors
- Be sure you use DVD-R or DVD+R booktyped to DVD-ROM
- Re-install your CIOS
- Verify the integrity of your burn with dvd info.
- It is possible that you have one of the newer drives (called D3-2), which can't read backup discs. In that case you need to use USB loaders.
- Audio Cuts-off or stutters
- This is due to 3x read speed. No way to fix in until someone figures out a way to unlock 6x reads without a chip or USB loader.
- Jumbled error message
- cIOS install corrupted, reinstall
- 324 Error
- Re-install the loaders cIOS
- This may also be caused by bad discs (try using Verbatim DVD-R and reburn - it may save you headaches)
- 002 error
- This is caused by the fact that you force the game to run on a different IOS than it wants to use or the correct IOS, but an older version. Some games have a check in place for this and throw a #002 error if they find out that the IOS numbers don't match.
- Solution - Enable (Anti) 002fix
Cheating in Games
What are SD Codes and how do i use/get them?
Codes can be obtained at geckocodes.org. Codes will only work with games from the region they were designed for. The Wii region doesn't matter, just disc region. Converting from pal to NTSC or vice versa will not make the codes work. The CodeManager program comes packed with ocarina. Extract the PC folder to your computer and run the codemgr.exe file. SD codes must be placed onto the sd card in the codes folder. (X:\codes\XXXXX.gct)
What is Ocarina?
Ocarina had become obsolete and is only needed for the codemanager program that comes with it. It can be found at http://wiird.l0nk.org/wp/archives/21 Both GeckoOS and Neogamma Support Ocarina codes now.
My cheats don't work with GeckoOs?
Go into the options menu and ensure that use ocarina is set to ON. Hooktype may need to be set to VI.
How do I make my own cheats?
To make you own cheats you must buy a USB Gecko, and use its associated software. Info here
Thanks to wiigator and waninkoko,we can now play GC Backups on a unmodded wii. In order to understand how this has been mde possible, read the section about GC mode below.
- Gamecube Backup Launcher Compatibility List - http://wiki.gbatemp.net/wiki/index.php/Gamecube_Backup_Launcher_Compatibility_List
- Wii GameCube Backup Launcher 0.2 (including download link) - http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=142535
Gamecube mode (sometimes called GC mode) is a special state which the Wii enters when running a gamecube game. While in this mode, the Wii can't use any extra hardware (aka hardware that the Gamecube didn't have). This is the main reason why there aren't any GameCube USB loaders.
Gamecube mode is launched in 3 simple steps:
- The first thing that goes into action when launching a gamecube game is the BC (Noone really knows what it stands for, although you could call it 'Backwards Compatibility'). This piece of software is responsible for lowering the clockspeed of the internal processor (the Hollywood) to 162MHz, which was the speed of the Gamecube. After it did this, it will launch Boot2.
- Boot2 (which is also essential for the Wii booting process), will notice the lower clockspeed and will thanks to this boot the MIOS (instead of the system menu at normal clockspeed).
- The final step is the MIOS. The MIOS is nothing more than an IOS, but it is used for Gamecube mode and nothing else (it's also the only thing used in GC mode). It is responsible for deactivating the additional hardware, which is what we call GC mode.
Besides disabling the hardware, the MIOS will also patch certain gamecube games (in order to optimize performance of these games).
Both the MIOS and BC have had very few updates in the Wii's lifetime.
Using the GC backup launcher
Before we can use the GC backup launcher, we will need to patch that one thing that is active in GC mode: the MIOS. To do this, we will need a MIOS patcher, which is usually included with the GC launcher. You run the MIOS patcher like any other app with the HBC.
After you patched the MIOS, you can run gamecube backups through the GC backup launcher (which you also run from the HBC). Easy, right?
Since GC discs were so small, it doesn't come as a surprise that they contained less data than a normal DVD. So wouldn't it be great if you could put multiple games on 1 disc? Well, you can!
The only tools you need are GCOS multi disc creator OR multigame ISO creator. Both of these PC programs allow you to merge multiple games in one ISO file.
How do you run them, you ask? Simple: like any other game, through the GC launcher. The GC launcher will automatically recognize that there are more games on the disc and you will see a selection menu. Just use the D-Pad to choose and press A to play!
GC discs couldn't contain much data. Due to this, some games had to be split-up in 2 discs. It is possible to play these games with the GC launcher. Just do this:
- Make sure you put both discs on 1 multidisc (see above) and give the parts different names (like Disc1 and Disc2). You can put some other games on the disc as well if you want.
- Burn and launch like normal
- In the selection menu, first go to Disc2 and press Z (instead of A).
- Then go to Disc1 and launch it with the B button.
- When it asks you to change discs, simply eject and re-insert the disc.
Game Backup Process
There are a couple nice tutorials on this process up at Nintendo-Scene.
- Standard PC Method -- http://wiki.nintendo-scene.com/Wii_Disc_Backup
- Wifi Backup Method -- http://forums.nintendo-scene.com/index.php?topic=2415.0
- USB loader Method -- Load your USB loader and find the add game option. Insert a disc in the Wii disc slot.
Where can i download the ISO for game X?
This would be referred to as piracy in many countries. As such we can't give you any links. Just look in the normal places for that sort of thing. GBAtemp does NOT support piracy and sharing or asking for illegal files is NOT allowed.
How do I Unpatch/Re-encrypt an ISO?
You can't. Once decrypted you would require the private key that only Nintendo has to re-encrypt it.
EDIT: You can re-encrypt a game. Go here. It undoes what the patcher/decrypter does, sans any update partition (meaning it doesn't restore the iso to 1:1). It also doesn't work on DVD9 games (aka SSBB and MPT).
If you haven't patched/decrypted an iso, please don't.
What is WiiScrubber?
Use WiiScrubber to prepare any Wii or GameCube ISO for compression to trim its disk space. By replacing unused portions of the full disk image with the same bit, it allows a compression tool to offer better compression and make the file smaller (the file will only be smaller when compressed as a zip or rar file). Scrubbing an ISO is always useful if you’re sending or sharing an ISO with other people or for personal backup storage purposes as normally each ISO is 4.7GB. It also allows you to extract and replace files within an ISO image.
If you do not share the ISO with others, it's not advised to scrub ISO files.
How Do I Un-scrub an image back to the original ISO?
When an image is scrubbed the junk data is replaced with all 0's to increase compressibility. Its gone forever and can't be reproduced, but it doesn't matter its just there to take up space and push the game to the edge of the disk which is accomplished just as well with 0's.
What is the best burn Speed to use for backing up games?
There is no universal answer for this. You need to test each speed that your burner and media support, and then verify your burn against the original image. Whichever speed has the fewest errors is the best speed for your drive with that media. Media Types Very greatly, even from batch to batch from the same manufacturer. So always remember to verify your disks and adjust to the best speed for that batch of media (always start with what worked best on the last batch)
I Heard that burning at X speed. will shorten my laser life?
Your burning speed does not affect the wii laser in any way. If anything is going to "kill" the laser it would be adjusting it to work outside of specs in order to read discs it isn't meant to. The wii drive is a DVD drive. Nintendo left the dvd command in because they were originally going to have a dvd player, but went with the "wii format" to avoid paying royalties. When a disc is read its read speed is determined by the firmware, hardware capabilities and media integrity. A bad burn (lots of errors) will cause the wii laser to do more work re-reading sections of disk, which does lead to more wear and tear over time.
What type of media should I use for burning backed up games?
This really comes down to your wii, dependant on a variety of factors from drive model in your wii to dust. If you have some disks laying around give one a try, just remember to check for errors and adjust your burn speed before you give up on a type of media. Discs must be DVD-R or +R booktyped to -R. Dual layer discs are not advised due to issues native to the wii.
For an idea of what others have had success with you can browse the following threads http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=46215
Everything you need to know about bricking.
Kinds of Bricks
There are some different kinds of bricks. Here's a list with the most common ones:
If you have a semi-brick, this means that you can still access the Wii menu, but not all parts of it. Usually its the settings menu that will not work (it results in an opera error instead). These kinds of bricks can be fixed by re-installing the System menu.
Note: Being unable to launch/use a certain channel is NOT a semi (or even normal) brick. This usually means that there is something missing (like an IOS), or that the channel is not from the same region as the Wii is.
If you can't access the system menu at all, this is called a full brick. You can only recover from these bricks if you have Priiloader or Bootmii (Boot2 one) installed. You can use one of these to launch the HBC in order to use the needed apps to unbrick the Wii. Common full bricks are:
This is the kind of brick you get by installing a channel (read: wad) with a faulty banner (a banner with the wrong dimensions). When the Wii tries to buffer the banner, it will fail and crash. You can recover from this kind of brick by using Any Title Deleter to remove the channel from the Wii NAND.
If you install a theme that is broken or not for your System menu version/Region, it will result in a Theme brick. You can fix this by re-installing your system menu or the theme .app that belongs to it.
A VERY rare brick that will only occur when you have a corrupt message on the Wii Message Board. The only way to recover from this kind of brick is by booting into Maintenance Mode and reformatting (be sure to backup all your saves first!).
This is the worst kind of brick you can have. The only way of recovering from this kind of brick is by sending the Wii to Nintendo, or by buying a NAND programmer (or sometimes a Modchip). There is only one known permanent brick, but ALL full bricks are permanent if you have no brick prevention!
The only way of getting this brick is by having a region changed Korean wii (a Wii that was originally Korean, then region changed to U, E or J to have homebrew) and updating it to 4.2. Doing so will leave you with the permanent #003 error, of which you can not recover without a hardware modification.
The reason for this is that the best brick protection (BootMii as Boot2) will not help you since the 4.2 update will remove it from your system (*). Priiloader is also useless as every system update will remove it. As of now, there is no know unbricking method using a softmod.
(*) This is not exactly true: If you had Boot2v4 before updating, you will still be able to use BootMii as boot2 and recover from this brick.
It's better to prevent bricks than having to recover from a brick. Let's see what the best choices are to prevent bricks:
What you should do
- Install the HBC: What would you do without it?
- Install BootMii: If possible as Boot2, and always as IOS. Make a NAND backup right after you install it and every other time you are going to do something big.
- Install Priiloader: This is a good addition to BootMii as Boot2 and a must have if you only have BootMii IOS.
- Block disc updates: Doing the wrong update may give you a lot of trouble and that's not worth it. This is why you should always block disc updates with Priiloader or StartPatch
- READ: Before doing anything to your wii, you have to obtain information that will help you prevent bricking your Wii.
- Only use the guides that have been proven safe by the community.
What you should NOT do
- Update your Wii: If you're not sure about what an update does, don't update! In most cases, some of your homebrew will be removed, but it can result in a brick too!
- Reformat through the Wii settings: It will bring you no good since it won't even touch (c)IOS, BootMii and Priiloader. If you have Preloader, this may even result in a Full brick.
- Delete the System menu: Do you really want a Full brick?
- Delete essential system titles: These include (c)IOS, BC and MIOS. Removing one of these will only lower functionality of the Wii. It may also result in a full brick if you remove the system menu IOS.
- Install WADs or themes without brick protection: Read 'Banner Brick' and 'Theme Brick' above.
- Update your Wii without knowing what it does: And if you do and it removes all your Homebrew, don't panic and uninstall the System menu!
- Downgrade: Going back to a lower system menu version isn't needed for anything and may even brick your Wii depending on what you do.
If you've managed to brick yourself you may be able to undo it. Let's see some of the usual methods for unbricking:
Using BootMii Boot2
This is the best to have when your wii is bricked. If you have a backup, you can choose to restore it, but this is usually not needed. In most cases, you can simply boot the HBC and undo the changes you made in order to recover from your Brick.
A good alternative for BootMii if you can't install that as Boot2. Since Priiloader is basically useless on its own (not completely, it can still autoboot certain helpful files), we are going to use it to boot the HBC. From there you can undo the changes you made to recover from the brick.
Not really an unbricking method but rather... uhm... noone actually knows what it is for :P. Anyway, it is part of the system menu and can be launched as long as your health screen works. To go into the maintenance mode, hold + and -, then press A. Keep holding + and - until you see the wii menu and you'll get a message that you are now in maintenance mode. If you do not go to the Wii menu after a very short time, your wii is bricked too badly to use this.
The big advantage from Maintenance mode is that you can backup all your saves and use all channels (and bannerbomb)!
SaveMiiFrii is a build-in recovery system of the Wii System menu (so if you uninstalled the system menu -> too bad). This method is a bit more advanced than all other methods, and should only be used as a last option!
If you want to use this method, you'll need:
- A gamecube controller
- A modchip or cIOSCORP installed
- If you are going to use an official gamecube controller, you will have to open it up and remove the protective sheet under its D-Pad.
- You also need to create an autobooting disc with the app you need on it (usually wad manager or any title deleter)
- Starting SaveMiiFrii is not too difficult. Plug the GC controller in the 4th slot. Pres the power button of the Wii and immediately hold down all 4 directions of the D-Pad at once on the GC controller.
- If you did this correctly, you will see a black screen with your system menu version in the bottom right corner.
- Insert the disc and use the autobooted program on it to unbrick the Wii.
Thanks to Dbgtgoten, we now have a new method to recover from Bannerbricks! It is based on the safety system in the wii that forces you to go to the Data management if your Wii is full. Therefor, we are going to fill our system menu completely so we can get to the data management and uninstall the bad channel.
Before you can use this method, you will need:
- The ability to use Indiana Pwns
- One of following games (and less than this space on the Wii):
- Rabbids Go Home (You need less than 77 blocks free)
- MySims Agent (You need less than 96 blocks free)
- Mysims Kingdom (You need less than 200 blocks free)
- Mysims racing (You need less than 3 blocks free)
- Any other Mysims game
How to do it:
- Use SaveMiiFrii to boot one of the aforementioned games. For this guide we'll use Rabbids Go Home.
- Navigate to the Save Screen where you choose your save file.
- Try to install the Rabbids Go Home channel.
- Eject the game when it tells you that you don't have enough free space to install the channel.
- Click go to Data Management.
- Now transfer Indiana Pwns to your Wii.
- Use Indiana Pwns to fix your Banner Brick Whatever you did, undo it with one of these apps.
The best program to use for editing wads in general is CustomizeMii. The only thing you need to replace a banner is a Base wad (a wad with the animation you want, or no animation) and the images to replace the ones from the base wad.
CustomizeMii: Link Base wads Link Basic Usage guide
Where can i find a list of cIOS Error Codes?
Look no further: link
Hackmii installer gives me: "No Vulnerable IOS found"
The hackmii installer has a list of IOSs it can use to install the HBC, DVDx and BootMii. It will never use a Trucha patched IOS however. So if all IOS it knows are trucha patched, you will see this error.
You can fix it by installing a clean IOS34 and 61.
I downloaded a file ending in x what do i do with it?