Play Wii Games Off of an External Hard Drive

wii games from external hard drive

I’m not sure why I stood in line the day after my birthday, still drunk, in the freezing cold to get a Nintendo Wii, but I did. And to this day the console has probably only seen maybe 10 hours of gameplay… I bought into the hype surrounding it when it first came out and I, like a lot of people, got extremely bored with it and it sat collecting dust while I burnt through 3 Xbox 360’s. I always saw the Wii as a console for either a younger audience or groups of people. I couldn’t imagine sitting around playing the console by myself outside of maybe a few games of Zelda, so when the DVD drive crapped out on me about a year ago I never bothered to get it fixed. I did attempt to fix it as a project, but that didn’t work out so well considering I didn’t have the proper tools to get deep enough into the system to replace the drive motor (which I thought was the problem). So rather than go out and buy a super small Torx wrench (or super small Y-screw driver, I’m not really sure which it was anymore) to take out the screws holding in the drive motor, I just threw it back in the closet and forgot about it… until I read an article on Lifehacker.

Apparently with a little exploiting you could setup the Wii to run back ups of your games on an External Hard Drive. Well, without a working DVD drive in the Wii this sounded like a pretty good option, one that would seemingly bring my Wii back from the dead! My only problem was that in order to get the games onto the external hard drive you had to put them in the DVD drive on the Wii and back them up through the usbloader homebrew app… Well without a working DVD drive, this was a problem. I did manage to find some Wii Ripping apps for the computer that worked on most of the games which I then manually transfered over to the external drive. It’s actually a pretty slick interface and while I’m not sure if this will lead to me playing Wii more, it’s nice to know that the option is there again if I wanted to.

As for the actual process of setting this all up, it’s pretty simple. You’ll need to install the Homebrew Channel before you can do anything and Lifehacker has a pretty good explanation of how to do that. I used the bannerbomb method and while it took a couple tries (it locked up the first 2 times), it eventually did it’s thing and installed no problem. All in all, the whole setup took me about 4 hours, but I ran into some rather large problems with my DVD drive that required me to disassemble and reassemble the Wii multiple times before I figured out I could just completely unplug the drive and it would stop the system from freezing… The drive doesn’t work anyways so there’s no reason to keep it plugged in. So as long as you don’t have any major issues like I did, this should only take you 15-20 minutes from start to finish. Even if you’re not that technologically inclined it shouldn’t be too hard, the instructions are pretty straight forward. The only issue I ran into with Lifehacker’s instructions for setting up usbloader and such, is that their write up relates to old versions of the software so some of the menu systems and dialogue boxes are a little different, but you should be able to figure it out.

So if you’ve got an external hard drive laying around and an SD Card that you don’t need, this is a pretty cool way to ditch those stacks of discs cluttering everything up. And if you have any questions leave a comment and I’ll answer them as best I can.

How to Back Up and Play Your Wii Games From an External Hard Drive

Hack Your Wii for Homebrew without Twilight Princess (Installing Homebrew Channel)