While going through one of dad’s many stashes of old computer and tech stuff the other day, we found his old Nintendo Wii. Even though it’s old it’s still an awesome platform. There’s been a lot of old games coming out on our Nintendo Switch lately that have been updated for the Switch, like Super Mario Galaxy, which was originally a Wii game (mum has been playing this a LOT).
Anyway… dad suggested we have a go at jailbreaking the Nintendo Wii just so we could do our first jailbreak and also put some homebrew on there. We also have a lot of games that would be cool to put on there and not have to keep swapping CDs. So we found out it wasn’t that hard to do and thought we’d do a write up in case anyone else had an old Wii out there.
Just some notes before we start.
- From what we know, jailbreaking a Wii isn’t illegal but it will void your warranty. They stopped making Wiis back in 2013 so you are probably safe here 😀
- When jailbreaking there is always a risk you could brick your device. If this happens you can’t use it anymore and it’s going in the bin. All the things we read made it sound this was unlikely and seeing we didn’t really use the Wii before this, it wasn’t a big risk for us.
- Once jailbroken you can put software downloaded from the Internet. Some of this is free homebrew but there are also games you have to buy. It’s not legal to download and use stuff you didn’t pay for so BIG disclaimer! We warned you so don’t go and say “Mos and Boo told me to do it!”
Things You Will Need to Jailbreak Your Wii
To do this jailbreak you will need a few things:
- A Nintendo Wii 😀
- A computer and an SD or Micro-SD card reader
- An SD card or a Micro-SD card with SD card adapter
- A portable USB hard drive (to store software, games on)
You can install games on the SD card but you won’t have much room so an external hard drive is better. Also, not all loaders will look for games on the SD card.
Before You Start
For this to work, you need to have your Nintendo Wii updated to firmware version 4.3 which is the latest and the last version that was released. If you go into your Wii Options menu the version number is in the top right like this:
If your version is lower than 4.3, go to the third page in your options menu and update the software.
You also need to get your SD card and your external hard drive ready. Both need to be formatted to FAT32 to work with the software we are using. We used a 16GB Micro-SD card and a 1TB USB drive. From the stuff we read, if you are using Windows, creating FAT32 partitions is limited to 32GB but you don’t have this issue if you use a Mac, Linux or a special application on Windows. It’s only if you use Windows itself to do the formatting. We only have Linux and Mac so we just formatted the whole 1TB drive as one partition.
Getting the Exploit Ready
Exploiting the Wii is really easy. Someone has made a website that makes a custom exploit just for your Wii!!! All you have to do is put in the MAC address of your Wii and it updates the exploit for you!
So first, you need to get the MAC address for your Wii. Go into your Wii System Options, find “Internet” and in there look for “Console Information”. You should get this screen:
I have no idea if any of you can do anything with our MAC address so I’m smudging it out. We have been to too many security conferences to trust any of you!!! You all do crazy things!
Now you need to go and get the Letter Bomb exploit. We guess it’s called Letter Bomb because it shows up in your Wii’s messages as a letter. It even looks like a bomb!!!
Go to this dodgy website: http://please.hackmii.com/ and you will see this screen:
On this website you need to:
- Click on your system menu version. Ours was 4.3E.
- Enter the MAC address you got from your Wii.
- Make sure “Bundle the HackMii Installer for me!” is selected.
- Click the “I’m not a robot” unless you are, and then I don’t know what you are meant to do. I guess robots aren’t allowed to jailbreak Wiis which is sad 🙁
- Lastly, click the “Cut the red wire” button. I don’t know what the blue wire one does. If someone wants to try it, you can let us know in the comments. Hopefully it doesn’t delete the Internet cause then you cant tell us what it does.
Getting the Modpack
Next, you need to download the modpack. This is just a zip file with a bunch of mods and loaders that get used during the jailbreaking. You can download it here: https://www.groovypost.com/wp-content/uploads/files/modpack.zip
Getting the SD Card Ready
We are almost ready for the jailbreak!!! The Letter Bomb and modpack should both be in zip files. You need to unzip these and copy everything onto the SD card. Your SD should look something like this:
Just a note. There was a boot.elf file in the letter bomb zip and the modpack zip. They seem to be the same so you can use either.
Now go and insert the SD card into your Nintendo Wii!!!
Running the Exploit to Jailbreak your Wii
Insert the SD card and you should see you have 1 new message. Open up your messages. All the things we read said you go back to yesterday and there should be a message but we didn’t have anything there. If you click on the calendar it opens up the whole month and you can see where you have messages. If you haven’t been playing the Wii it will probably be empty like ours, so it was easy to see where the message was. It was about 10 days ago. No idea why it went to that date.
Click on that day and you should see a red letterbomb like this:
Sometimes when you move the cursor over it it switches between the red letter bomb and a normal envelope. Make sure it’s the red letter bomb when you click it.
It should go to a black screen like this and a whole bunch of text
We then got this warning screen. It takes a while but it will finally say “Press 1 to continue”.
You should now be on the Hackmii Installer page. Lets go!!!!! This is it below:
You can see “Continue” is highlighted. Don’t click on this or you just get dumped out of the installer. We know this from experience 🙁
Use the D-Pad on the controller to go up to “The Homebrew Channel” then click the 1 button to install it
Click Exit when it’s done.
Now go up to “BootMii” and click the A button and it will install BootMii.
You can then exit the HackMii installer and it should take you to the Homebrew Channel. If it takes you to the Wii main screen start the Homebrew Channel.
Make a Backup
Before we do anything else we recommend making a backup (well that’s what all the different sites said). Just in case things go wrong you can recover your Nintendo Wii. We will save a backup to the SD card and then you should copy it off the card to somewhere else safe.
To make a backup:
1. While you are in the Homebrew Channel, press the Home button on the remote. You should see this screen:
2. Launch BootMii by clicking the “Launch BootMii” button
When running BootMii you cant use the Wii remote which is sad. You need to use some of the buttons on the actual Wii. The power button moves to the next item in a list and the reset button selects an item.
3. Go to the last item on the menu (the gears). So press the power button 3 times and then press reset to select it.
4. Press the reset button to select the first item which will let you start the backup.
Here’s what it looks like when running the backup.
It takes aaaaaaaaaaaaaaages to run and then even longer if you say yes to verify the backup. So maybe grab some locks and do some lockpicking while you wait!
Here’s a photo of me during the jailbreak. I’m placing this here so the Internet will always have a record of one of my COVID lockdown hair styles 😀
Installing Loaders and Mods on the Nintendo Wii
At this stage, you should be back in the Homebrew Channel and there will be a bunch of mods and loaders to choose from.
First, we will install the Wii Mod Batch, the first one in my list above. Click on this button.
Use the Wii remote to click on the Load button. You will end up with a black screen and a bunch of text as a bunch of mods get installed:
Next, we will install Priiloader. Select Priiloader from the Homebrew Menu just like we selected Wii Mod Batch.
Click on the Load button to run Priiloader.
To install Priiloader just press the + or A button like it says on the screen above.
You will then see Priiloader installing 🙂 Sorry some of these pics are fuzzy. Dad took them while I was doing all the installing and jailbreaking. He’s getting old so his hands probably shake 😉
Now that Priiloader is installed we can install a bunch of hacks.
To get into Priiloader, press and hold both Power and Reset buttons on the Wii and you should see this screen come up:
Use the D-Pad on the remote to move up and down the menu. Go down and select “System Menu Hacks”. There are a stack of hacks you can try out. Take a look at this picture below and you can see the ones we enabled. These were ones recommended on most sites we looked at.
Enable the ones you want and then go down and select “save settings”. I think it was the B button that exited this one 🙂
And we are done!!! Sort of 😀
You have now jailbroken your Nintendo Wii and you can install homebrew and games but there are some extra bits to do so you can run these.
Installing a Custom IOS
So you can install and run backup loaders and other non-official channels on your jailbroken Nintendo Wii, we need to install a custom IOS called a cIOS. We are going to install one called d2x-cIOS.
You can download it from here: https://sites.google.com/site/completesg/backup-launchers/installation/d2x-cIOS-Installer-Wii.zip
Download it on your computer and then you will need to copy it to your SD card, so take the SD card out of your Wii and plug it into your computer.
On your SD card, there should be a folder called “apps”. Unzip the installer and copy its whole folder into the apps folder on the SD card.
The folder structure should look like: /apps/d2x-cIOS-installer
Put the SD card back in the Nintendo Wii and go into the Homebrew Channel. You should now see the d2x-cIOS Installer as an option. Click it. Then click Load on the installer.
When the installer has loaded you should see this welcome screen below. Just click a button on the remote to go to the next screen.
You should now see this screen:
We will be installing 2 different cIOS versions:
- cIOS 249 base 56 v10 beta52
- cIOS 250 base 57 v10 beta52
You can move up and down the menu with the up and down on the D-Pad and then change the setting value by using the left and right on the D-Pad.
Change the 4 settings to these:
- Select cIOS – v10 beta52 d2x-v10-beta52
- Select cIOS base – 56
- Select cIOS slot – 249
- Select cIOS revision – 65535
Once changed it should look like this:
Press the A button to continue.
The next screen shows the slots you can install the cIOS into. We chose 249 so it should be blinking red on your screen. I have put a red ring around it.
Press the A button on your remote to install the cIOS. The install will look like this:
After it’s installed it will go back to the slot screen and slot 249 should now be green like this:
Press the A button to go back to the main install screen.
We now want to install the second cIOS. This is exactly the same as the first but use these settings:
- Select cIOS – v10 beta52 d2x-v10-beta52
- Select cIOS base – 57
- Select cIOS slot – 250
- Select cIOS revision – 65535
Once changed it should look like this:
Press the A button on your remote to install the cIOS.
After it’s installed it will go back to the slot screen and slot 250 should now be green like this:
Press the B button to exit.
And we are now ready to run a backup loader!!!!
USB Loader GX
There are a few different backup loaders you can use. Most sites we read recommended USB Loader GX. We tried two others but they were very slow so we recommend this one.
You can download it here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/usbloadergx/files/latest/download
Unzip it and place the folder in your SD card in the apps folder like you did with the d2x-cIOS-installer.
So plug your USB drive into the bottom USB slot on your Wii. This one in the pic below. Not sure why but it doesn’t pick up a drive plugged into the top port.
Go into the Homebrew Channel and you should have a new option:
Click on the USB Loader GX button to load it. It should look like this below. You can change the layout using the buttons at the top. But of course you don’t have any games or apps on your Wii yet 🙁
Loading Backups and ISOs
You can get hardcore and do all this manually but we recommend using a manager program. It will save you time which means more time for playing games 🙂
There are two managers we ran across:
Wii Backup Manager (Windows)
We haven’t tried this one as we don’t have Windows but it seems to be the most popular.
You can download it here: http://www.wiibackupmanager.co.uk/
Wii Backup Fusion (Windows, Mac, Linux)
This is the one we used. We tried it on Mac and Linux and it worked but we had to use a newer version someone had updated. The old version 1 wouldn’t work on Mac or Linux.
You can download it here: https://github.com/larsenv/Wii-Backup-Fusion/releases/tag/v2.0
We went and downloaded a couple of games we already owned, like Wii Sports and Super Mario Galaxy to try them out. If you are searching for ROMs make sure you put “wbfs” in your search as it will make your life easier as you don’t need to convert ISOs. WBFS is “Wii Backup File System” and is basically a backup of a CD.
If you startup Wii Backup Fusion you get this screen:
Down the bottom click the Load button and pick the folder that has your unzipped WBFS files in it. You will then get all the info about them:
Now you want to transfer them to your USB drive. Plug in your USB drive to your computer and make sure you create a folder called “wbfs”. This is where you save all your backups.
In Wii Backup Fusion highlight the backups you want to transfer and click the “Transfer to Image” button. We had issues transferring multiple backups at once so if it fails do them one at a time.
You will get this popup:
- Under Directory change it to your wbfs folder on your USB drive.
- Click the split button so Split Size is not greyed out and says “4G-32K”. This will split files that are over 4GB in size as FAT32 cant read files bigger than 4GB.
- Change Image Format to “Wii Backup File System Container (*.wbfs)”
- Click OK and the file will transfer.
This does more than transfer the files, it renames them to what the Wii needs which also includes the game ID. If you try and do it manually you have to look up every game ID and do a lot of renaming. The manager does all this for you 😀
When you are done, plug your drive back into the Wii and start-up USB Loader GX again from the Homebrew Channel.
You should now see all your games!!!!
Hope this tutorial on how to jailbreak the Nintendo Wii has been helpful to someone. Enjoy your Wii!!!!
If you have any questions, comments or just want to tell us what the best Wii game is, please leave us a comment.
Mos aka MrOldSkinny, loves to hack things together whether it be hardware, software or a combination of both! When he isn’t doing crazy hacks you will find him picking locks, tampering with tamper-proof devices, and finding weaknesses in security controls. All the cybers will be his!