Wii USB Loader

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Play your Wii Games directly from a USB drive, never have to swap discs again!

USB Loader is an application for the Nintendo Wii which allows you to to install and load your backup ISO game files to/from a USB storage device. It also allows you to create such backups straight from the original DVD, or you can put ISO files which you have backed up to your computer onto your USB drive and load them from there.

Versions

There are several different USB Loader versions out there, some being from completely different source trees. Some are not nearly as decorative (text only game menu) while others are more developed (graphic game menu with cover art).

  • Configurable USB Loader - Highly customizable supporting WBFS, FAT32, NTFS or EXT file systems.
  • USB Loader GX - a configurable USB Loader client based on libwiigui, giving it a slick, clean, powerful, and very usable graphical interface.
  • Waninkoko's USB Loader 1.0
  • WiiFlow
  • USB Loader MRC
  • NeoGamma - text only USB loader with Wii remote pointer support
  • uLoader by Hermes

Supported Games

  • Most Wii games are fully supported.
  • Gamecube games are NOT supported.

howto: backup and boot games from a USB drive

Requirements:

  • Newest Homebrew Channel installed
  • This file pack (v1.1+IOS rev 9)
  • The original IOS36-64-v1042.wad file (GOOGLE!)

Preparation:

  1. Extract the usbloader.rar file into the root of your SD card.
  2. Stick the IOS36-64-v1042.wad file into the root of the SD card.
  3. Boot the Homebrew Channel, run the IOS installer
  4. Select "WAD Install", it should install automatically
  5. Reset Wii

Operation:

  1. Insert a USB drive into the Wii
  2. Boot the homebrew channel, select USB-LOADER

When a virgin USB drive is connected the USB loader will prompt you to format the drive and select a partition.This WILL erase everything on your USB drive, so be sure to back it up.

Your USB drive will be formatted to a file system type WBFS. WBFS is not readable under Microsoft Windows. You will be able to convert it back to FAT later.

  1. Choose your partition and continue.
  2. Insert the game disk (original or backup) into your Wii, and press the + button.

You can load the Wii game image to your USB drive from the Nintendo Wii using USB Loader. You can also do it from your PC under MS Windows using, among other tools, the WBFS tool.

GUIDE UPDATE: It is no longer necessary to format your USB drive to the WBFS file system. You can format it to FAT32 from Windows and use FAT32 instead of WBFS. Do NOT format to NTFS though as there is only limited support for NTFS at this time.

WBFS

Is an acronym for Wii Backup File System.

WBFS will not load in windows by default, it is not recognized by Windows. However, there are tools that will allow image files to be written to the WBFS formatted drive from windows. WBFS manager is one such tool that will transfer an ISO image files to a WBFS formatted drive.

Although the latest USB Loader supports FAT32, the advantage to using a WBFS formatted drive is the reduction in file size the WBFS format allows, as Wii discs are filled with padding data that must be present in the ISO but that the WBFS file system can strip away. This can allow some smaller games to go from a 4.7 GB (4.37 GiB) ISO file to less than a hundred megabytes.

There is a known limitation of 500 total games when using WBFS even if there is additional free storage space on the USB drive.

WBFS Manager 2.5 and 3.0 have bugs and will tell you the games were added to the WBFS drive but they actually aren’t. If you try to add games from the DOS version of WBFS you receive the error "no space left on device (table full): No error".

WBFS File System versus WBFS File Type

Clarification on WBFS, there is two different WBFS things, one being the WBFS filesystem and the other being a file of the WBFS type. The WBFS file system is no longer necessary to use. WBFS Files are highly recommended to use because they are more space efficient. You can convert your game disc or ISO to WBFS and same the WBFS game image on a WBFS formatted drive or on a FAT32 formatted drive.

As of this writing it is more common that people are saving their WBFS game images on a FAT32 formatted USB drive.

An ISO image is NOT compressed (4GB+ games) compared to wbfs (or .ciso) which is compressed. When the Wii Backup Manager copies the ISO (game disc) to your HDD, it converts and compresses the file.

Is Using WBFS Still Necessary?

The most recent USB Loader supports a USB drive formatted to FAT32. There is even talk of NTFS support. When you use a tool like wbfs_file it will still compress the Wii game down to the more efficient wbfs type, even though it is saving to a FAT32 drive. WBFS Manager can also be used to accomplish this. Keeping your USB drive FAT32 means it can be recognized by Windows.