Modding the Wii – The Barney Method

**UPDATE: If your Wii is running firmware 4.3, this guide will likely brick your system. It seems there are only slight differences to modding 4.3, but as of right now nothing is for certain. So in order to be safe, DO NOT follow this guide if running 4.3!

Ok, so with time comes new stuff. Since this post, a few things have become clear about my previous guide. For the most part, it comes down to attention to detail: There are some things that can be done in a different order (and in one particular case, needs to be). There are also a few more steps to add (namely, adding Hermes’ cIOS 222 & 223). Also, I’ll be posting an updated torrent so that we’ve got the latest software.

So without further ado, here we go.


I take no responsibility for any damage done to any of your equipment by using this guide or the software provided. Note that modding your system does technically void your warranty. Follow these steps at your own risk. Also, this guide is provided on an educational basis. I do not endorse piracy, including games, software, or otherwise. Modding a Wii DOES have it’s legal uses, however, this guide DOES enable piracy if you choose. User Beware.


Now, a few beginning notes. First off, make sure to follow these steps as closely as possible. As I write this very post, I am modding an actual system. So if this works for me, it should work for you. If a step is highlighted in red text that means it is very dangerous and has the potential to harm your system. However, rest assured I take ALL precautions to save your system from most any brick.

Secondly, the setup. The equipment I am using is as follows:
Virgin Nintendo Wii (LU64+) running 4.2u Firmware
Seagate FreeAgent Go 250 Gb USB External Hard Drive
Toshiba 8 Gb SDHC Memory Card
WiiMote, chords, etc.


Next, check your Wii. Click the settings icon in the lower left corner and make sure you’re running Firmware 4.2. If not, you’ll need to borrow or rent a game that will update your system to 4.2. DO NOT do a system update as Nintendo has released version 4.3 with the black Wii’s in North America. 4.3 was updated to use IOS80 rather than 4.2’s IOS70, which had a stubbed version released when 4.3 came out. If you’re running 4.1 in particular, this is important for future steps as you can potentially brick your system.

Ok, so last you need to use a BitTorrent client (I suggest uTorrent!) and open this file right here.

That file is a .RAR file, so you’ll need WinRAR to extract it. Once you’ve downloaded that, proceed to step 1.

1. Prepare your SD Card
For this guide, I’m assuming you have an SD card that is at least 2 GB. If not, they’re only like 12 bucks at your local Wal-mart, Electronics Store, etc. They make a Wii-branded kind, but any SD card will work. If the SD card has anything on it, back those files up somewhere safe. (Don’t worry, you can put them back later!).

Pop your SD card into your PC, open up your Computer screen (where you see all the drives on your computer), right-click your SD card, and click format. This needs to be formatted as FAT32 (Name it anything you like).

Once that’s done, it’s time for that file you downloaded. If you open your (freshly formatted) SD card, you’ll see it’s empty. If you right-click and drag the RAR file you downloaded into this window and then click Extract Here, you’re done. If that doesn’t work for you, just extract the file to a folder somewhere, and place all the files onto the empty SD card (I’ll be calling this the root from now on). On to step 2!

2. Install the Homebrew Channel, DVDX, and BootMii

So now that you’ve got that out of the way, let’s get dirty. Pop that SD card back in your Wii, and on the main Wii menu, click the little SD card icon in the bottom left corner. It might freeze for a second, but don’t worry. Soon it should ask if you want to load Boot.elf/.dol. Say yes to this.

You’ll now be presented with the HBC BootMii installer. Go past the disclaimer screen and it should say that the Homebrew Channel (HBC from now on) and DVDX can be installed. It will also say something about BootMii. It will either say it can be installed to Boot2 and as an IOS, or as an IOS only. If your Wii is older, it may be able to install as Boot2 (and this is preferred if able). But if your just now modding your Wii, chances are that it can only be installed as an IOS (this is still fine though).

Proceed past that, and install each one in order (HBC, then DVDX, then finally BootMii). If BootMii can be installed to Boot2, this is preferable as it prevents a few extra bricks. However, don’t be discouraged, installing as an IOS is just fine. Make sure all that installed successfully, and hit exit.

3. Your first NAND Backup

Ok, now we’re going to put BootMii to use. When you hit exit, you should be looking at a blueish screen with a few options. Don’t hit any of those yet though! This is the Homebrew Channel. What you need to do now is hit your HOME button on your WiiMote, and select “Load BootMii”.

The menu that comes up won’t respond to your WiiMote, but that’s ok. On your screen are 4 Icons. What you need to do is press the power button (don’t hold it!) to cycle to the Gears-looking one. Once there, press reset. A new set of icons will appear. The first icon should show an arrow pointing from a microchip to an SD card. Press reset on this, and leave your Wii alone for a while.

What it’s doing is making a complete backup of your Wii’s internal memory, so that we can restore it just in case anything funky happens. It’s going to report a few bad blocks, but this is normal (I mean if the factory threw out every NAND chip with a bad block, the cost of making them would shoot up threw the roof!). After it creates the backup, it will make another pass to verify that it did it’s job right.

Once that’s done, press your reset button and it should kick you back to the Wii Menu.

After this is all done, put your card back in your Wii. From the SD Root, you can delete “Boot.Elf” and the “private” folder. Don’t delete anything else though. We’re removing these because now that HBC is installed and backed up, you won’t need these anymore, and they can interfere with stuff we’re going to do later. After they’re gone, pop the card back in the Wii.

4. Getting ready for the rest.

Ok, a little short step here, but necessary. For this guide, I’m going to assume your Wii has a Wireless Internet Connection. A lot of stuff we’re about to do relies on this (there is an offline way to do this, but it’s a bit more dangerous as a bad file can really muck things up). So, make sure your Wii’s internet connection is set up. You can do this through the settings (on the lower left corner of the Wii Menu). Do the network test. If it succeeds, DO NOT do a system update. Also, when you first open the settings screen, check the corners to make extra sure you’re running Firmware 4.2 (this will either be followed by a U, E, or J, depending on what country your Wii is from).

Everything working fine? Cool, let’s continue.

5. Getting the Trucha Bug

No, you don’t need some weird disease. Time to do the fun stuff. On your Wii Menu, you’ve probably noticed this new channel (which, lo and behold, is the Homebrew Channel). Start this bad boy up, and you’ll be back on that bubbly blue screen. Use the arrows on the sides, and find Trucha Bug Restorer. When the new screen comes up, use left and right on the D-pad of the WiiMote to navigate and A to select. Go ahead and load IOS36. Some new text will come up on the screen. Take a second to read over this and, when prompted, press 1 on the WiiMote to move on.

The next screen presents you with 6 options. The one you want to select is “Downgrade IOS15”. When prompted, select “Download IOS from NUS”. What this is doing is downloading an older version of the IOS to get some bugs needed to get the mods done. Continue through with this, Downloading from NUS as necessary. Once done, it will kick you back to the HBC. Reopen the program, this time selecting IOS15 instead of IOS36 to load.

Back at the screen where you downgraded, this time select “IOS36 Menu”. You’ll see about 5 options here. These should be set at follows:
Install IOS to slot: 36
Patch hash check (trucha): yes
Patch ES_Identify: yes
Patch nand permissions: no

Once those are set, select “Install patched IOS”. Once again, Download from NUS as necessary. Once that’s installed, it will kick you out again. Go back in one last time, and Restore IOS15 after loading IOS36.

Good! You’re bugged! (Weird, huh?)

6. Priiloader and another NAND backup

Ok, IOS15 is restored and you’re back in the HBC. The next step is to finish installing our Anti-Brick protection (and a few other juicy bits as well!). From the HBC, go ahead and load up Priiloader. The screen you’ll be presented with holds a disclaimer and a few options. What we’re going to do is press + to install Priiloader.

Priiloader is an application that installs itself in front of the Wii System Menu. What this means is that, if you are somehow able to brick your system and can’t access your System Menu, you can still get into Priiloader, which contains options to load BootMii, the System Menu, and the HBC, before your Wii ever really “boots”. This is useful, as we can access BootMii and restore a NAND backup, unbricking our system (which we hopefully won’t have to do!).

Ok, so once that installs, it will automatically kick you back to the HBC. Now we’re going to test it. Go ahead and turn the Wii off, then hold your reset button down as you turn it back on. You should now see a White screen with black letters. At the bottom of the screen, it should say “IOS v70”, “Systemmenu v481”, and “priiloader v0.3b (r48M)”. If this is correct, try to boot into BootMii. If BootMii loads, go back and try the HBC, as well as the System Menu. Did they all load? Great.

Now, select settings. Autoboot and Return to should be set on System Menu. Shutdown to and Stop Disc should both be set to off. If you want, Light slot on error can be turned on, as well as ignore standby (when your power light goes yellow instead of red). Use System Menu IOS should be on.

Once that’s done, save your settings then press B.

Now, select System Menu Hacks. On your SD card is a file called hacks.ini, from which these options are being pulled. I’ve included a fairly common list of hacks, and you can enable or disable them at your leisure. I recommend enabling these and leaving the rest disabled:

Replace Health Screen with Backmenu
Block Disc Updates
Block Online Updates
Move Disc Channel
Remove NoCopy Save File Protection
Disable HAXX.DVDX.RZDx deletion

After setting these how you like, save your settings then hit B. Back on the main Priiloader menu, load up into BootMii and make a NAND backup the same as in Step 3. If you’re really cautious, backup your existing one first. Everything’s installed fine so far though, right? This is the last NAND backup you’ll need, as this will have all the essentials already installed.

NOTE: If you don’t have a Gamecube controller, you’ll need to use your PC to delete (or backup!) nand.bin off your SD card, as it requires you to press A on the GC controller to overwrite the existing file.

Once that’s done, proceed to the next step.

7. Time for Some cIOS Action!

If you’ve done any research on hacking the Wii outside of this guide, you’ve probably heard mention of this thing called “cIOS” on some forums and other places. What this stands for is “Custom Input / Output System”. The most popular cIOS was designed by Waninkoko, and alongside Hermes’ own cIOS, is the core behind REALLY hacking the Wii.

So, now that the history lesson is over, let’s get this stuff installed!

First things first, though. Nintendo caught on to what Waninkoko and Hermes were doing, and made a (feeble) attempt to stop it by installing stubbed IOSes in the places where cIOS normally goes. We’re going to remove these stubs.

CAUTION: The program we are about to use has the greatest potential out of anything in this guide to brick your system! Be very careful about what you select in this next bit!

Ok, take a breath. Back in HBC, open the program called “AnyTitle Deleter” (see why this thing could be dangerous?).

On the first screen, select System Titles. Now here we’ll see a list of all the IOSes installed on the system. We’re going to delete IOS249, IOS222, and IOS223. DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING ELSE!

And…exhale. Now press B till you get back to the first menu, then press HOME to get back to the HBC.

From here, select cIOS38r17 installer. You’ll be greeted by a nice rock theme along with the option to select an IOS to use. Select IOS36, read the disclaimer, then on the next screen select Network Installation. The installer will do its thing, and if successful, your first cIOS will be installed (when referring to this one in particular, I’ll be calling it IOS249 from now on).

Next, back in the HBC, you’re going to run cIOS 222 installer v4 (ignore the part about it being for uloader). The first menu will ask you to select an IOS for install. Select 249 if it is not selected and Press A (TAKE THE RISK! lol).

Now select “Install Custom IOS 222 (Default)”. On the next menu, we’re going against recommendations and selecting “Use IOS 38 merged with IOS 37”. Once that’s done, repeat this process, except select “Install Custom IOS 223” (rather than “Install Custom IOS 222”). All other selections are the same.

NOTE: It may not want to download if someone else is using the same internet connection (this usually only happens to me when someone else in the house is doing games on Facebook and the like). If it code dumps, don’t worry. Just reboot the Wii and try again.

After those have installed, it’s time to clean out your Wii. There are plenty other stubbed IOSes in there, so now that we’ve got cIOS in, it’s time to get those out.

8. Entering Cleanup Phase

Well believe it or not the hard part is done. All we gotta do now is cleanup a bit and get ready to do some nifty things. For most of this, we’re going to be using Dop-IOS MOD (v11.1) from the HBC. This program’s gonna be our best friend from here on, cause it will let us update all the stuff we need to in the future (since we can’t necessarily do a system update). So go on and open it up.

Read the disclaimer, then press A to proceed. When selecting an IOS, feel free to choose 36, 249, 222, or 223. The program should default to 36.

Once the IOS loads, press A to continue. You’ll have 6 options. The first one we want to select is “Remove Stubbed IOSes”. Anything it presents is OK to remove (If you’re running Firmware 4.1 and not 4.2, DO NOT delete IOS60!). This will be a bit annoying, as you’ll be pressing A alot. Once that process is done though, your system will be a lot cleaner.

Now the “fun” part. Select “IOSs”. If you scroll all the way back to IOS4, you’ll see that it gives each IOS a description. Anything that doesn’t say “Stub” or “Useless” is perfectly fine to install the latest version at this point.

The cool thing about DOP-IOS is that it tells you what’s currently installed, as well as what the latest version is. So browse through, and compare. Anything not deemed “Stub” or “Useless” is perfectly fine to install.

The one IOS we’re interested in, though, is IOS70. Be very careful, as this is the stage where you are absolutely MOST LIKELY to brick your system if you’re not careful! Open DOP-IOS fresh from the HBC, don’t do this if you’ve already been installing things, as we’re trying to reduce the risk of a brick as much as possible. Load it using IOS249, and in the IOSs menu, select IOS70 (this is for 4.2 only, NOT for 4.1 or earlier!). Install the latest version (v6687 at the time of this writing), and choose to apply the FakeSign bug. This is the Trucha Bug from earlier, but installed in a different way.

To make sure it installed correctly, back at the main DOP-IOS menu, choose to Scan the Wii’s internals (SysCheck). IOS70 should have the FakeSign Enabled.

Next is Channels. It’s generally the same process, just the program doesn’t tell you if your channel is up to date. Install all the channels (make sure you get the ones for your region! Unless of course you want Japanese games :P). Of course you don’t need the 1.0 AND the 1.1 versions of the Photo Channel. The important one is the Shop Channel. If you run into problems installing the Internet Channel, don’t worry. As long as you got the Shop Channel installed, you can get the Internet Channel (and most of the others) through there. Just remember, no system updates!

Ok, another thing included in the download (and likely on your SD card) is a file called USBLoaderGXInstaller.exe. With the SD card plugged in your computer, run that. Check all the options except Cleanup to install USBLoaderGX onto your card.

With the SD card back in your Wii, use the HBC to load WAD Manager 1.5. Read the text, and proceed through. Use IOS249 to install, Disable NAND Emulation, and load from the SD slot. You’ll see an option named USB Loader GX-UNEO_Forwarder.wad. Press A and install this.

Once it finishes successfully, you’ll have a new channel on your Wii Menu. Press any button to continue, followed by HOME to get back to the HBC. We’re done in here for now, so press HOME again and go back to the Wii Menu.

If you want, go on and pop your SD card back in your PC once you’re sure everything works. The following folders and files are safe to delete (if they’re there at all):

00000001 (from Root)
README.txt (from Root)
USBLoaderGXInstaller.exe (from Root)
cIOS38r17-Installer (from Apps)
Hermes_cios222-223_installer (from Apps)
Priiloader_v0_3b (from Apps)
TBR (from Apps)
USB Loader GX-UNEO_Forwarder.wad (from WAD)
DopIOSModReport.csv (from Root)
Installer.log (from Root)

Also, to save space on your card, maybe backup keys.bin and nand.bin. (You can even make another NAND backup in case you want to continue modding past this guide).

NOTE: If you installed BootMii as boot2, rename the bootmii folder to something like bootmiiOLD. This stops the bootmii menu from loading every time you turn your Wii on. This does not occur on systems with just an IOS install of BootMii. If you have need of BootMii, just rename the folder back to bootmii prior to attempting to load it.

9. The Aftermath

Ok, your Wii is officially softmodded! But now what can we do with it? Well, we’ve already installed USBLoader GX. What this does is enables you to install actual Wii games like Super Smash Brothers Brawl or Zelda: Twilight Princess onto an external USB drive (Hint: get at least a 250Gb one) and play them without the disc. This is useful if you want to collect the games for future value, or if you just have kids who tend to destroy discs. If the drive you plug in is in an incorrect format, USB Loader GX will format it for you as well.

NOTE: The format used on these drives is called WBFS, a file system developed specifically for Wii applications. While most are able to use other file systems now, I still prefer WBFS because it cuts the junk data out of the Wii ISOs, allowing for more games in the same amount of space. Some games are less than 1 Gb in actual size, but the ISOs are still 4.38 Gb thanks to Nintendo’s “anti-piracy measures”. It is possible to split a drive with 2 partitions, although I won’t go into that here.

To manage what games are on your Hard Drive, there exists a program called WBFS Manager, which can be found here. Simply plug the drive into your computer (Don’t format it!) and open it in WBFS Manager.

Note: If your USB Loader GX seems to hang, plug your drive into the other USB port, as it can be picky at times. If that doesn’t work, your drive may not be compatible.

Also, there’s a reason we patched IOS70 with the FakeSign bug. Any Virtual Console or Wiiware titles that you place in the WAD folder on your SD card can be installed through the HBC using WAD Manager. This is good for custom injected WADs, such as VC titles which aren’t available through Nintendo’s Shop Channel. However, the internal memory for the Wii is limited, and if you move a channel not purchased through the Shop Channel onto the SD card, you won’t be able to run it or move it back onto the Wii without having IOS70 patched. It will simply say “Unable to run/move/copy”.

The reason for this is that IOS70 is the IOS used by the system menu itself. So once we patched this, you can run WADs not officially purchased from the SD Menu (the one where we were given the option to load Boot.Elf at the beginning of this process).

Also, another Homebrew program you may be interested in is the Homebrew Browser. This lets you download and install useful programs to be used through the HBC without having to move your card back and forth to your computer. I suggest Super Mario War! It also has various things like Media Players and Emulators.

So yeah, have fun with your modded Wii. I highly suggest moving AnyTitle Deleter and DOP-IOS somewhere safe if you have kids.

If something in this guide doesn’t work for you, or there’s something you think should be added, or hell, even if you just like it and it worked for you, sound off in the comments, or hit me up on Facebook!


~ by chadanthony07 on June 9, 2010.

14 Responses to “Modding the Wii – The Barney Method”

  1. it says the device in the sd card slot can not be used. What do I do?


    • This method will NOT work on 4.3. With 4.3 Nintendo has implemented several fixes to stop piracy. So unfortunately, those of you with 4.3 Wii’s will need to wait until the methods are updated. I’ll be posting on this as I hear more.

  3. I soft modded from your last guide in March. Everything is working great. Should I update anything or just keep on keepin on?

    • Thanks for checking back with me!

      As of right now, the only thing I’d suggest is getting Hermes’ CIOS 222/223 as described in this update.

      Nintendo has released OFW 4.3, which to my knowledge has not been cracked as of yet. So once again, DO NOT do a system update. Instead, use DOP-IOS MOD and a little Googling to update your IOSes and Channels as necessary.

      I appreciate the support, and tell your friends!

  4. Thanks for the info, softmodded my wii today, (just bought it for $90) one thing, I am trying to play games off a thumb drive and its not finding them, hope its compatible.

    • Make sure the drive is formatted to WBFS or NTFS. The USB Loader GX will not detect FAT formats.

  5. This is great stuff, but I am stuck. My wii is corrupt and I being tech stupid can not figure out what to do. It went bad after the big 4.2 update and I was trying to add priiloader. UGH… I bought a new one but every once in a while I get out the bad one and give it a go. With this I can get into your home brew but can’t do anything with the priloader cause my wiimotes don’t work. So I can’t push +. I am 48 years old and this stuff does not come easy. Anything simple is appreciated.

    • I honestly have NO idea why the wiimote wouldn’t work. Have you tried updating all your IOSes with DOP-IOS mod? Just be careful because I don’t know what Nintendo did with the 4.3 update.

  6. Hey, I just wanted to say thanks for this guide. I spent about a week sifting through various out of date guides and finding out the hard way that they were too old to help my 4.2 system. Finally with this guide, I was able to softmod my Wii and get my games backed up to & playable from my external HD! I am so thrilled!

    I did want to mention that I had to install the Trucha bug before I could install Priiloader, though. For whatever reason, Priiloader wouldn’t install on my machine until I had done basically all the other steps. If anyone else using this guide gets stuck on the Priiloader installation, what worked for me was skipping it, continuing on through step 8, and then going back and installing Priiloader.

    Something else I came across… after playing a game in GX loader and going into the HBC, it is now upside-down. I even re-started my Wii and went directly into HBC, and it is still upside-down. I guess it’s good for hand-eye coordination, but it’s pretty annoying. Ever come across that??

    • It happens when you try to patch a certain bug into the IOS that the HBC uses. If you want, message me over on facebook with more details and I’ll see if I can help you with that.

      • Actually I ended up figuring it out and fixing it on my own… just had to install a clean version of the IOS HBC uses. Had a blonde moment when I realized I hadn’t thought of reinstalling without the patch. You also need that for the Wii Shop Channel to run properly, I discovered. Thanks for the offer of help though, very cool of you.

      • So when you installed a fresh copy of the IOS that the HBC uses, your Shop Channel just magically worked? Interesting. I’ve had constant issues with my shop channel, so this is definitely good news. Thanks for the tidbit!

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