Wii U Modding Guide for 2020 | Complete Guide

This guide will walk you through all the steps needed to mod your Wii U. We will be going from a stock Wii U to a fully modded console.

Why should you softmod your Wii U?

Modding your Wii U offers you a whole range of benefits including: –

Homebrew & Emulators

Game backups helping to keep your discs safe & the ability to back up your own games directly to your console or hard drive using Disc2app.

Virtual Console support, you can play your Wii & Wii U Virtual Console games in HD, including the ability to play games currently not available on the Wii or Wii U.

The ability to make your Wii U play games from any region including Japanese exclusive games.

The ability to play your GameCube & Wii Back-ups.

The ability to apply custom patches and mods to current games you own.

The ability to use third-party controllers with your Wii U, including the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.

*DISCLAIMER ABOUT BRICKING*

Please be aware that although the risk is incredibly small, as with all modification of system software there is a chance you could end up bricking your console! Make sure to always read all prompts with care and do make backups where possible!

What do you need to softmod the Wii U?

A Wii U running Firmware 5.5.0 and above (If your Wii U’s firmware is lower please update before proceeding.)

An SD card, ideally 16gb or 32gb (Micro SD to full SD adapters work fine!)

An external Hard drive or suitably large USB thumb drive. This where we will be installing all our games files etc so the bigger the better. Personally, I use a Maxtor 1TB HDD and I still have a ton of space.

A ‘Y-USB cable’, This will be needed if you are using an HDD. The Wii U’s USB ports do not provide a lot of power. The Y cable will allow you to get power from both USB ports at the back of the Wii U. A USB thumb drive has no moving parts and doesn’t need as much power, so you won’t need an additional cable if using one.

A method to transfer files to SD, ideally a PC, but I guess you could use a MAC or Android device also.

A legitimate DS game purchased from the eShop. This is the cheapest I used Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training (Known as Brain age in the US.)

eShop Wii U guide

How to mod your Wii U - Method

First, we need to go onto the eShop and download your exploitable DS game. This is an integral step to having your softmod become permanent. Brain training / Brain age is the cheapest. You want to have this installed internally on the Wii U’s memory. Do NOT install this on a USB drive.

Afterwards, we will deal with Nintendo’s automatic firmware updates. Nintendo can send an update automatically to your Wii U over the internet, this could patch the exploit we are about to install. There’s no ‘Turn off automatic updates option’ from the system settings so we will need to change our DNS settings. This is very easy to do: –

Go to ‘system settings’ – ‘Internet’ – ‘Connect to the Internet’ and press X to show your network connections. For each connection you use you will want to: –

Tap the connection – ‘Change settings’

Move across to find the ‘DNS’ button – Change this to ‘Don’t Auto-Obtain’

For the DNS IPs enter: –

Primary: 168.235.092.108

Secondary: 081.004.127.020

Confirm and save and all updates will now be blocked!

Now, we need to format the SD card. We need to make sure the SD card is formatted as FAT32 with an Allocation Unit Size of 32K. The easiest way to do this is to use a free formatting software like guiformat. You can download it here. (Make sure you select the right drive to format!)

Once formatted, create a folder called ‘install’ and one called ‘wiiu’ on the root of your SD card. We need to copy over the Homebrew Launcher Installer https://github.com/wiiu-env/homebrew_launcher_installer/releases payload file to our SD card. Download the payload.zip and extract the payload.elf and copy over to the ‘wiiu’ folder.  

Get the 1.4 version of the Homebrew Launcher here https://github.com/dimok789/homebrew_launcher/releases/tag/1.4. Download and extract homebrew_launcher.v1.4.zip and copy the contents to the root of your SD card. This will copy an ‘apps’ folder inside your ‘wiiu’ folder.

Next, we will download Haxchi & CBHC https://github.com/FIX94/haxchi/releases/latest  (Coldboot Haxchi). Extract both .zip files to the root of your SD card. Inside the newly created ‘haxchi’ folder you will find a file called config.txt. Open this up with notepad and delete all the text in there and cut and paste (Without quotation marks): –

“a=wiiu/apps/homebrew_launcher/homebrew_launcher.elf

default=sysmenu”

save this file and close it.

Download the latest version of WUP Installer GX2 http://wiiubru.com/appstore/zips/wup_installer_gx2.zip . You will be using this program a lot to install homebrew and games. Extract this .Zip file to the root of your SD.

Inside the ‘install’ folder on your SD make a new folder called ‘hbc’. Download the homebrew_launcher_channel.v2.1.zip https://github.com/dimok789/homebrew_launcher/releases/tag/v2.1. Extract and copy all the files inside into the newly created ‘hbc’ folder.  This will allow us to install the Homebrew Channel.

Finally, Download Wii U NAND Dumper. This will allow you to make a back up of your NAND and may help you recover from a bricked system. It’s always good practice to make a backup! Extract the contents to your SD card.

Eject the SD card and insert it into the Wii U. Start up your Wii U as normal and open the internet browser. You need to enter the following URL: 

wiiuexploit.xyz

Click ‘Run Homebrew Launcher!’ button and wait around 20 seconds. You should now be at the homebrew launcher menu. If the system freezes you can hard reset by holding down the power button for 10 seconds and try again.

WiiU Exploit
Wii U homebrew launcher

How to backup up your Wii U’s NAND

Now that we are inside the homebrew launcher it’s time to back up your Wii U’s NAND. Launch the Application ‘nanddumper.elf’. Once booted you will be at this screen: –

WiiU Haxchi guide

Select everything as <YES> besides ‘Dump MLC (8GB/32GB). Personally, I wouldn’t bother with this but it’s up to you. Dumping the MLC is optional and will make a complete back up of your Wii U’s current memory. If you are modding a standard 8gb Wii U (White) you will need a memory card at least double the size of the dump. So, a 16GB for a white model and a 64GB for the 32GB black model. If you do decide to make a full back up, then be prepared to wait as this will take hours.

Press A to start the back-up and wait for the system to reboot. This could take some time. Once the Wii U reboots turn the console off and remove the SD card. On the root of your SD card, you will now find the files ‘otp.bin’, ‘slc.bin’,’slccmpt.bin’, & ‘seeprom.bin’ (If you backed up your MLC you will have numerous MLC files also) copy these over to your PC and keep them safe. You can use these to help you recover data if anything goes wrong and they are unique to each Wii U so do NOT lose them. Once backed up you can simply delete the files created to free up more space on your SD card.

Plug your SD card back in your Wii U and load up the internet browser and homebrew launcher once again. Navigate to Haxchi and launch it. You should see your DS title like below: –

wii u hack install haxchi

Press ‘A’, read the warning and press ‘A’ again, this will install Haxchi to your Wii U. You will now be taken to the Wii U menu and will notice that Haxchi has been installed where your DS game was originally. Click on Haxchi to run and we will once again be rebooted to the Wii U system menu. We now can run unsigned code, install additional programs have access to various custom firmware features. Currently, we must run Haxchi each time we want to enable these features. This is time-consuming and a pain, so we are going to install CBHC (Coldboot Haxchi) to permanently enable these features.

Wii U Haxchi

Coldboot Haxchi installation

Coldboot Haxchi works by setting your system to automatically launch our exploited DS title as the system boots. This saves us from having to launch it manually each time, but as the DS game is set to launch instead of the Wii U’s UI it can be a little riskier. DO NOT REMOVE OR DELETE THIS ONCE INSTALLED, hide it in a folder on the Wii U menu (I dragged mine to the last page in the Wii U menu), Also do not transfer this your USB via the system menu as it will not work. If you remove, modify or delete this you will essentially brick your console, you have been warned!

So, things to make sure of before proceeding: –

Your DS title (Now Haxchi!)  is installed to your Wii U’s internal memory.

The DS game is an officially purchased, genuine game from the eShop.

Make sure there are no USB devices attached to the Wii U.

If any of these three steps are skipped, you run the risk of bricking your console!

With that said, on to the installation;

Enter the Homebrew Launcher by selecting Haxchi and holding down the ‘A’ button. Select CBHC installer and load. This is very similar to installing Haxchi, select our DS game and press ‘A’ be sure to read the warnings and press ‘A’ to continue the installation.

Once installed your system will take you back to the main menu. We now need to reboot the Wii U to set up how the exploit automatically boots.

Upon rebooting, we will be at the CBHC menu. Move down to “Autoboot: Disabled” and press ‘A’ until it changes to “Autoboot: System Menu” then select Boot system Menu and press ‘A’.

WiiU hack menu 1
WiiU hack menu 2

You now have a permanently modded Wii U with Coldboot Haxchi. Reboot and you will notice that the Haxchi app now has a red triangle. As I said earlier, never delete, uninstall or move this app to USB. Drag it to the last page of your Wii U menu and make a folder and hide it in there. Also do not ever delete the user who purchased the game!

The Homebrew Channel

Now we have Haxchi running we are going to want an easier way of running homebrew. The best way to do his is to install the Homebrew Channel.

Reboot your console and press the ‘home’ button while CBHC is launching. Select the Homebrew Launcher from the menu and then load up WUP Installer GX. From here choose Homebrew Channel and install, make sure you install this to NAND when prompted. Once the Homebrew Channel has finished installing you can press ‘Home’ a few times to be returned to the Wii U main menu.

You have now successfully fully modded your Wii U with Coldboot Haxchi and can use the Homebrew channel to launch any homebrew you like.

Wii U hacking guide
wii u hacking guide 2

In the second part of this guide you can find here where I explain how to dump your Wii U games and run Wii U game backups. We also go into detail on how to mod your Virtual Wii allowing for even more exciting stuff!

You can find part 2 here!

 

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75 thoughts on “Wii U Modding Guide for 2020 | Complete Guide”

  1. I can’t even buy anything on my wii u. I set up a nintendo account, linked it to my nintendo network ID, added $10 of funds, but they don’t appear on the wii u shop.

  2. The eshop is closed now. Is there any work around for this? Can I maybe purchase the game on another system and download it from the eshop still, or am I just out of luck?

    1. Google Usbhelper for Wii u. There is a guide on youtube I think it’s called “easily add games to your wii u”. Has every wii u game and virtual for free downloads.

  3. Can I simply buy a used Wii U no matter which firmware is on it actually and update it? So there is no risk of a current firmware that fixed it and brick my console?

    1. Currently, the highest firmware is 5.5.4. Unless Nintendo releases an updated firmware any current Wii U should be modable!
      The last time they released a firmware update was 8 months ago in July.
      Changing your DNS settings can block any further updates from Nintendo.

  4. Hello, I am actually trying to follow the guide and homebrew my wii u, but somehow i cant open up wiiexploit.xyz. It says Error 112-1006 The website cannot be shown. I followed every step of your instructions

  5. Pingback: Wii U Modding Guide for 2020 Part 2 | Complete Guide

    1. The Y cable is just so an external HDD can get enough power to stay on while connected to Wii U’s low powered USB ports.

      You don’t need an external drive at all, but you will be limited to internal storage of the Wii U.

    1. Hmm I can’t say for sure and dont have one here to test, however, I think you should be OK as SSDs tend to have a low power draw.

  6. Pingback: Wii U Modding Guide for 2020 Part 3 | Complete Guide

  7. Quick question. I have the wii u side of my wii u softmodded and have everything installed and using haxchi. So if I mod the vWii side where do I dump my wii games to? Will I dump them to my 2tb wii u external? Any clarification would help. Thank you.

    1. Wii games need to be stored on a seperate HDD/USB drive, however, you can pack them up as Wii virtual console games for the Wii U. That way you can store them on the same drive as your Wii U files. Have a look here

    1. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it. A lot of people say you are fine as long as you don’t cheat, however, I wouldn’t risk it myself!

  8. I’m stuck at the last step of the first part (Homebrew channel installation). When I launch the WUP Installer GX, the program tells me that there’s no installable content found. I looked in my SD card and all the files concerning WUP installer are there at the right place…

    1. So, our files should be inside ‘install/hbc/’ We want to copy all files from within extracted folder ‘homebrew_launcher_channel.v2.1’ to the ‘install/hbc’ folder. All the .app, .h3 files along with the title.tmd, cert and .tik.

      Give that a try and let me know! If not, i would copy all files the SD card and reformat the card and try again.

  9. So when I do this the problem is that when I type in the wiiuexploit.xyz and press “Run Homebrew Luncher” the screen with blue background and bubbles is there but no apps or nothing on the screen.

    1. Make sure your apps are installed in the correct folder. This does happens to me from time to time and I find closing the app and re-running the hombrew launcher fixes it. If all else fails try either reformating your SD card or try another card.

  10. any guide for people who don’t have the DS game to be installed? or we can just skip the step to install Haxchi

    1. You can skip the Cold Boot installation and just use Haxchi, however, you’ll have to run the exploit each time you want to run unsigned code.

  11. Hi Greg,
    When launching homebrew from browser, it works but it just shows the bubble screen with no apps showing, only the nandumper.elf shows. I have tried going back restarting from browser and also using another SD card and have the same problem. Please help.

    1. Hi John,

      Have you made sure all your files are in the right folders? The fact the nandumper is showing means your SD card is being read by the Wii U.

      Sometimes I get a screen with nothing, just bubbles. I usually have to close the browser and reinsert the SD card.

      let me know how you get on!

  12. Hello I’ve used you guide and everything you went over has worked with no issue but I have one problem. When using an injected GameCube backup I am unable to use my original GameCube controller in my Wii u with a third party adapter. Is there any troubleshooting I can do? If u leave the adapter plugged in it freezes the nintendont launcher while opening the game and if I plug in the adapter after the game is launched the controller is unresponsive. Running the game with the gamepad works but the buttons are wrong and I’d rather use a GameCube controller for GameCube games. The games all work fine running off of external USB drive to micro SD but the controller won’t work.

    1. Hey Max,

      This may sound weird, but could you try launching the vWii menu 1st. Then Return to Wii U menu and try again?

      If that doesnt help theres a homebrew you can install that lets you use custom controllers. HIDtoVPad, give that a try also!

  13. Hey there. I am having an issue where my Wii U freezes every single time I attempt to press “run homebrew launcher” at wiiuexploit.xyz. It has frozen 5+ times in a row, and I attempted the guide from the very start twice from scratch. Any ideas?

    1. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to load the homebrew launcher so keep trying. If It keeps failing try reformatting your SD card or try another if possible.