How To Set Up Your Wii For Homebrew Using Letterbomb

letterbomb icon   How To Set Up Your Wii For Homebrew Using LetterbombGet the most out of your neglected Wii - run homebrew software on it. Whether you want to use your Wii to play DVDs or media files from your network, emulate classic games or try out games made by other Wii users, homebrew is the perfect excuse to dust off your neglected Wii and give it a new purpose. A long-lasting hack means you get all of this working quickly and easily, using nothing more than an SD card.

In ancient times, running homebrew software required owning a specific game and corrupting its save data to run an exploit. It was complicated. The most recent hack, which has been working for a year now, essentially gives you access to Homebrew in a couple of clicks. It’s called LetterBomb. Here’s how to use it to install the Wii HomeBrew Channel and explore an entirely new world of free Wii software.

Disclaimer: doing this will void your Wii’s warranty, and messing this process up could potentially break your Wii. We take no responsibility for your actions whatsoever – you’ve been warned!

You can get free games for your Wii without jailbreaking if you’re nervous, but if you stick to the Homebrew Channel and don’t try to modify the way your Wii works, you shouldn’t run into any problems.

Step 1: Research & Updates

LetterBomb only works on the latest (as of this writing) version of the Wii software: 4.3. If you’re like most people and you have no idea what version you’re using, don’t worry, it’s easy to figure out.

Start up your Wii, then click the “Wii” button in the bottom-left corner of the screen. You’ll be presented with two buttons: “Data Management” and “Wii Settings“. Click “Wii Settings” and you will see which version of the Wii software you are currently running in the top-right corner:

letterbomb version   How To Set Up Your Wii For Homebrew Using Letterbomb

It should be 4.3, followed by one of four letters – U, E, J, or K – depending on where you live. Take note of which letter you have – you will need it in the next step.

If your Wii is running an earlier version than 4.3, it’s time to update. Head to page 3 of the settings, then click the “Wii System Update” button. This may take a while, and requires a WiFi connection.

If your Wii is running a later version of the software – for example, 4.4 – Nintendo has finally broken this jailbreak and you’re going to need to find another hack. Start here, or wait for us to update this article.

Step 2: Prepare Your SD Card

So your Wii is running 4.3, and you know which version you have? Great! Head to the cleverly named Please.HackMii.com on your computer to get started:

letterbomb hackmii   How To Set Up Your Wii For Homebrew Using Letterbomb

You’re going to need to enter your mac address. You can find this in the Wii settings, on the second page. Click “Internet Settings” , then “Console Details“.

Enter your mac address, then select your version of the Wii software (U, E, J or K) based on your research above. Fill in the captcha and you’ll download a specially-made ZIP file for your Wii.

Connect your SD card to your computer and make sure it’s formatted FAT32 or FAT (NTFS, HFS and EXF2/3/4 will not work). Open your ZIP file from HackMii and put the “private” folder and “boot.elf” onto your SD card. Congratulations, your SD card now contains everything you need to get The Homebrew Channel and BootMii running!

I highly recommend you also download The Homebrew Browser and install it on your SD card. This will make installing software on your Wii far easier  – you won’t need to use your PC to copy files constantly. Download the ZIP, then create an “apps” folder on your SD card. Extract the “homebrew_browser” folder and put it in your “apps” folder.

Step 3: Engage!

Now it’s time for the easy part! Insert your SD card into your Wii, then go to the main screen. Click the envelope icon in the bottom-right corner, and you should see a letter that stands out from the others:

letterbomb letter   How To Set Up Your Wii For Homebrew Using Letterbomb

Don’t see it? You may need to scroll back a few days, depending on your timezone and when you prepped the card. If you cannot find it,  re-try step 2.

When you see the letterbomb, click it and the process will begin pretty much instantly. You’ll see some white text on a black screen, terminal style, before seeing an anti-scam warning. Finally, you will be presented with a couple of options:

letterbomb bootmii   How To Set Up Your Wii For Homebrew Using Letterbomb

Install BootMii  and The Homebrew Channel. In some cases you will only be able to install BootMii as an iOS. It is still worth doing, because BootMii can be used to back up your Wii in case of emergency. Read more about BootMii here – it’s particularly important if you plan on modifying your Wii outside of the Homebrew Channel.

When you’re done, your Wii will look the same as before, albeit with a new channel on the homescreen:

letterbomb homebrew   How To Set Up Your Wii For Homebrew Using Letterbomb

Launch that and we can start exploring.

Step 4: Browse For Software

Open your new Homebrew Channel. If you put the Homebrew Browser on your SD card, you should see it amongst the various (pop-able!) bubbles. Click it and you can start browsing for software.

letterbomb homebrew browser1   How To Set Up Your Wii For Homebrew Using Letterbomb

Here are a few of my favorites so far:

There is a lot more to find here, and I plan to feature the best Wii Homebrew Apps in the months to come, but this list of featured Homebrew Apps is a great place to start exploring if you want to find more quality programs.

Conclusion

That’s the process! If you got lost at any point be sure to check out the LetterBomb tutorial on WiiBrew. They know a lot more than I do.

If you want to particularly recommend any apps I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. I only started using homebrew a couple of weeks ago and still have a lot to learn.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

44 Comments -

0 votes

Austin

Yeah my Wii has been hacked for a few years, and I use it way more than my PS3. I like having Snes9x GX and other emulators to play the classic games that Nintendo has been too lazy to port over (like Yoshi’s Island, Earthbound, etc.), or play games from systems like GBA that Wii VC doesn’t have. It’s much more handy than using PC emulators, because it’s already on your TV, you can use any controller (Wiimote, Classic Controller, Gamecube, etc.), and the emulation is very good, not laggy or anything.

0 votes

Alex Downs

I was considering trying this, but I’ve heard that systems that are homebrewed have a tendency to be bricked, is this luck of the draw, just from mistakes people make?

0 votes

Austin

I can’t comment on the current procedure, since I did it many years ago using the Twilight Princess save hack, but I know as long as you can follow the instructions and make sure you use the right version or whatever, you should have no problems. I can’t promise that, but if you do it right, nothing bad should happen. I certainly wouldn’t call it “luck of the draw”, just either mistakes, or really bad luck (something along the lines of a poorly timed power outage or something haha)

0 votes

Alex Downs

Yeah Bad luck is what I should have said lol, I just didn’t want to say only people who make dumb mistakes face this issue, but I remember the TP method is the one I’ve heard most people use. I’m glad there’s a nother method now, since I never had TP for the Wii lol.

0 votes

Justin Pot

If you simply install the Homebrew Channel and run programs from it you shouldn’t have any problems. The problems come up, according to my research, when you try to modify the way the Wii works by installing custom channels or manually replacing the IOS.

0 votes

Yang Yang Li

Great to learn something new.
My Wii is just sitting there gathering dust right now. A year ago, I seriously considered converting it to a door stop. But then fears of it getting stolen stopped me. How lame would it be to say your door stop got stolen?

This is a great tutorial but I percieve a contradiction in the steps.

“If your Wii is running an earlier version than 4.3, it’s time to update.”
A paragraph later:
“If your Wii is running a later version of the software – for example, 4.4 – Nintendo has finally broken this jailbreak and you’re going to need to find another hack.”
Would updating the Wii not update it to the latest version 4.4?

I think the 4.4 update was specifically rolled out to prevent this jailbreak. Hardware makers are rarely motivated to roll out updates to improve performance. Instead they release update to “inhance security”. Nintendo is the worst, creating extremly locked down consoles. Their Wii U will probably fail.

0 votes

Justin Pot

So far as I know there is no such thing as 4.4, I only mentioned it to point out that the jailbreak is meant for 4.3. I figured someone reading this in 2013 will be confused without that sentence, assuming 4.4 comes out.

0 votes

Yang Yang Li

Preparing for the future is always good. I am glad 4.4 is not out yet. This means I still have time to jailbreak my Wii! I will get on that right now. Thank you so much for this article Justin.

0 votes

Ignacio

I want to know if this process is “reversible”
I seem to understand that as long as the SD card is inserted, the hack will run. Does this mean that only by removing the card, the system will go back to normal?
I don’t use my Wii much, but there is a game that I “need” because it’s a game for working out. I don’t want to lose that.

Thanks!

0 votes

Justin Pot

The Homebrew Channel doesn’t go away if you remove the SD card, but it doesn’t matter: you can still use your Wii as expected. Nothing will stop working, including your games.

0 votes

Ignacio

Thank you, Justin!

0 votes

Mike

Question: Will I still be able to make use of my NetFlex?
Also would like to see your reply to Ignacio.
Thanks!

0 votes

Justin Pot

Everything you could do on your Wii before will still work; you’ll simply have an extra channel fro running HomeBrew. Netflix won’t be affected.

0 votes

nigel

Don’t panic if you get an error screen when loading Homebrew Browser “Exception Occurred (DSI)”. Apparently it can happen if the Wii has trouble reading the SD card. I found that you just turn the Wii off at the wall, turn it back on, and try loading HBB again. For me it worked the second time.

Good luck out there

0 votes

Justin Pot

Yeah, this can look scary but doesn’t break anything. Glad you figured that out.

0 votes

Melissa Annand

After loading the home brew browser I let it load its stuff (initially the first time). It came up with an error aborting message with a DSI and Code dump on the screen. I manually reset the wii, restarted and loaded up homebrew, went into the homebrew browser its working, however almost all the games have “Image Not Found” next to their description. Anything I can do about this?

0 votes

Justin Pot

If I had to guess the problem is a slow Internet connection, but I can’t say for sure. Load the Homebrew Browser again and it should clear up.

0 votes

D W

Thanks, Justin. Great article, put nice and simply in one place. I would add two things, however, as a “gee whiz” and a “don’t freak out” sidenote because I’m sure my console is not the only one this will affect.

1) When loading both homebrew and bootmii, the bootmii load is not quite as straightforward, i.e. only one choice directions, for someone with limited knowledge, such as myself.

NOTE: if any of the following is incorrect, PLEASE correct me. I am only trying to help based on my own experience.

The bootmii load will present two loading options – load bootmii as boot2 – load bootmii as IOS. Having no idea which option to choose, I followed Justin’s link above (“Read more about BootMii here”) which indicated that boot2 was the correct option. Everything then loaded correctly, and it exited straight to the homebrew channel (not the Wii menu).

2) Choosing to load the homebrew channel notes that it will download the images and suggests not backing out of the download. IF your system gives you an “exception blahbittyblah exclamation point” and completely locks up…DON’T FREAK OUT. Convinced as I was that I’d bricked my Wii, I barely refrained from blaspheming Justin’s name as I less than calmly walked over to my Wii and pressed reset………where my Wii loaded right back up and there on the menu was the homebrew channel in all its glory!

Hopefully, my experience is atypical, but I wanted to share just in case….after all, Justin’s name shouldn’t be marred by my ignorance!

Thanks again, Justin. Your article opened up a whole new World of Wii!

0 votes

Justin Pot

First of all: this is a great comment. Thanks for taking the time.

Obviously everyone’s experience with Homebrew is going to be different: you’re loading unofficially supported software, and some models of Wii are quite different. So far as I’ve read, however, it’s pretty much impossible to brick your Wii by simply installing The Homebrew Channel. Bricking comes much, much later.

On my system I was only presented with one option – IOS – because mine does not support boot2. If you can load as boot2 you should, because it could help save your Wii should something go wrong.

I’m glad, in the end, you didn’t have to curse me. I’m not sure you can blaspheme a non-deity, however, and I’m decidedly a non-deity.

0 votes

Sandy Coulter

Where is the so-called “private” folder in the LetterBomb zipfile?

0 votes

Justin Pot

It’s not hidden: it’s right there in the zip. It’s actually named “private.”

0 votes

Tim

Hi Justin,

I’m interested in “upgrading” my Wii as described, but have one question. Do you have any idea what capacity SD card I will need? According to the Nintendo website the Wii can use SD cards of up to 2Gb capacity, or SDHC cards up to 32Gb. I just want to make sure that I buy a card with sufficient capacity for the job.

Many thanks,
Tim

0 votes

Justin Pot

You don’t need much space for the hack itself. If you’ll also be using the SD card to store games, media and other files to open with your Wii you might want more space, but you can alternatively use any USB drive for that. So it’s really up to you.

Personally, I used a 512 MB card for running the hack and run my software from an 8 GB USB flash drive.

0 votes

Tim Watt

Hi Justin,

Many thanks for the reply – it is much appreciated!

Regards,
Tim

0 votes

Christian Cawley

Massive thanks for this guide, Justin – I’d toyed with Wii modding a few months ago but didn’t get any further than downloading a few files before getting distracted (as ever!).

You’ve inspired me to install HBC and WiiMC this evening, ready to make use of the acres of GB of movies on my PC :D

0 votes

DRJ

MY WII IS 4.3 U I HAD IT FORMATTED AND UPDATED AND IT IS STILL AT 4.3U
IT WILL NOT TAKE THE LETTER BOMB HACK,CAN IT BE PUT IN ANOTHER WAY.

0 votes

Justin Pot

First of all: don’t yell. Contrary to rumor caps lock is not cruise control for cool.

Second: 4.3 is what you need for Letterbomb to work, so that’s not the problem. I suggest you try the process again, or let me know what specifically isn’t working.

0 votes

JERMAINE BUTLER

im tryin to install an hack my wii wit letterbomb but it seem not to work why that cause im got a 2 gb S D CARD IM READIN STEP BY STEP AN WATCHIN U TUBE AN STILL CANT GET IT I REALLY TRYIN FIGURE THIS OUT I NEED HELP

0 votes

ryan

Hi Justin! I followed the steps and after I hit the load button for the homebrew channel, I get an error “Read Error -6, Retrying…” which repeats until I reboot the wii or power it down. It seems to grab a list of repositorys, but cannot read the list for some reason. Any Ideas? Thanks!

0 votes

subhash

Justin,
I followed your directions and everything seemed to work well.
However I am getting error ” REad Error -6 occured : Retrying

Any ideas

0 votes

Justin Pot

Is it the Homebrew Channel, or the Homebrew Browser that’s causing that problem? The Channel doesn’t have anything to do with repos, which is why I’m asking…

0 votes

X

i am having the same problem with the browser and have tried so many times and different ways i read online but keep getting an error 6

0 votes

Justin Pot

Is there enough room on your SD card? Is your SD card set to read only?

0 votes

Nahum Larios

I’m definitely going to give this a try.

0 votes

Alex Perkins

Thanks for this, I will be doing this tonight.

0 votes

barry

did all steps correctly (im no computer rookie)
on sd card are all files plus a folder named apps with homebrew unzipped
at main menu i click the homebrew channel… then start…. then homebrew browser….then load…then it says.
homebrew browser v0.3.9.e
mounted sd card
unable to mount usb
requesting ip address of http://www.codemii.com…. failed using stored ip address
attmepting to connect to server …. connections established
requesting repositories list…. read error -6 occurded reyring…
read error -6 occured. retying…. (this just keeps happening over and over please help

0 votes

Justin Pot

I’ve seen this before. Restarting and trying again fixed it for me. Also check to make sure your SD card isn’t locked.

0 votes

Dan

This is a really helpful article, Justin. Well written, very succinct, and easy for the layman to understand. Thank you!

0 votes

Justin Pot

Thanks for reading!

0 votes

lilkobe24

how long does this take

0 votes

lilkobe24

how long does this process take

0 votes

Justin Pot

The jailbreak itself? Maybe 20 minutes. The tweaks after can take up more time.

0 votes

Travis

Thank you for this worked well on min and another friends sys. but having some problems with the 3rd. its a new out of the box black wii ver 4.3 U with a mac address of 8c-cd-e8-84-0e-dd. when i put all the info in on the letterbomb generator it tells me the exploitt will only work if you enter your wii’s mac address. any help?

0 votes

Justin Pot

Did you select the proper region at the site? Can’t think of why else there might be problems…