How to Hack Your Wii U to Run Homebrew Games and Apps

Wii U Gamepadtxking / Shutterstock

Homebrew allows your Wii U to run applications that Nintendo does not have for you. This includes emulators, custom games and mods. You can even install backup copies of your games on a hard drive and run them from there.

This process is long, but not too complicated and can be completed by the average user. You do not run the risk of damaging your console with a normal homebrew, so it's completely safe.

Why Homebrew?

The homebrew is a great way to breathe new life into an old console. There are plenty of cool things to do with a mod cons.

Emulators: Want to use Nintendo 64 games on your Wii U? With emulators, the Wii U can play almost any Nintendo game that is not exclusive to 3DS or Switch.
Loading the USB game: You only have 16 to 32 GB of space on your Wii U, which is enough to install some games on the fast internal storage. Homebrew allows you to load hundreds of games from a USB storage, which you can extract yourself from the drive. This allows hacking, but this is not the main goal.
Cemu: Homebrewing your Wii U is the only way to legally play Wii U games on PC, and with Breath of The Wild working much better on Cemu than on Wii U and Nintendo Switch, the reasons are not lacking.
GameCube Games: Nintendo has simply switched a switch to disable the running of GameCube games on your Wii U. The feature is still available, but it is disabled from Wii mode. You can reactivate it and fully use your console.
Modding Games: There is an active scene for Smash 4 mods, including one called Melee HD which completely changes the gameplay. Homebrew is the only way to play mod.

There is way too much content to display everything in detail here, but we will explain how to get your console to the home and to the point where you can start installing what you want.

Prepare your SD card

You will need to get the homebrew files on your Nintendo Wii U. To do this you will need an SD card reader. If your computer does not have one, you can get an adapter on your computer. Amazon for less than $ 10.

The homebrew process allows you to follow two paths. The first uses a browser exploit to execute arbitrary code and load the homebrew launcher. From there, you can install a custom firmware package called Mocha CFW, which removes the code signature and allows you to install the homebrew chain as an application on your Wii U. Once this is complete, you can to enter and exit homebrew applications without problems.

The problem is that if you restart your Wii U, you will have to restart the operation of the browser. This is annoying, especially on the latest firmware, where the exploit has a lower success rate. The solution to this is another exploit called Haxchi to crush a Virtual Console DS game and turn it into an improvised launcher, completely replacing the browser exploit. But you will need a legitimate DS game – no way to hack it, even with homebrew magic. Currently, the cheapest DS game on the Nintendo eShop is Brain Age, at $ 6.99. others are supported. You can also ask your Wii U to exploit the exploit at startup, called Coldboot Haxchi, but it is not necessary and it is one of the few things that may interfere with your console, in other words to make your Wii U hardware unusable.

Initial configuration

You will need some files, whatever the path chosen:

Download all .zip files and put them in a new folder, like this:

Files needed for Wii U Homebrew

Unzip them all, delete the .zip files and you should get something that looks like this:

Homebrew Wii U Files

Then we will move to the SD card. You will want make sure it is formatted as FAT32, with an allocation unit size of 32,768 (32 KB). It will also have to be using an MBR partitionand not GPT. In addition, for some reason, you can not name the wiiu SD card.

Once it is formatted, you will need to create some empty folders in which to place the homebrew files. You will need to create / wiiu / apps and / install / hbc, which should look like this:

Wii U Card Homebrew

The / install folder is used to install custom strings in the Wii U menu, which we use for the homebrew channel. The / wiiu / apps folder is used for homebrew applications.

Drag the appstore and homebrew_launcher folders from your downloads to the / wiiu / apps folder. Drag payload.elf to the / wiiu folder (not the applications folder it contains).

Open the contents of the homebrew_launcher_channel.v2.1 folder and select them all. Drag everything into the / install / hbc folder.

The resulting file structure on your SD card should look like this:

Structure of the Wii U Homebrew SD Card

If that fits, you can go there. You can download everything a lot easier on your Wii U once the homebrew launcher is loaded.

Loading the Homebrew Launcher on your Wii U

Since the initial exploit is loaded via the browser, you must ensure that your Wii U can connect to the Internet. Open the Internet browser on the Wii U and go to You may want to add a bookmark. If this particular site is down or does not work for you, there is many other exploits exploit homebrew.

Once there, click on the button to launch the homebrew launcher.

Wii U Homebrew Browser Exploit

If it worked, your console should restart in the homebrew launcher application from the SD card. If it freezes, you will need to hold down the power button to turn off the console and try again. Gels are completely random and much more common on the latest firmware of the system. Do not be surprised if it takes a while and make sure your SD card is properly formatted if it requires more than ten tries.

Installation of the Homebrew chain

The homebrew channel is an easy access charger for the homebrew launcher. Even if you only use Mocha CFW, this will allow you to download games and applications without having to run the long browser operating process to access the homebrew functions.

From the homebrew launcher's home screen, open the homebrew app store.

Wii U Homebrew Launcher Screen

Look for "Mocha CFW" and "WUP Installer G2X" in the app store and install them both.

Wii U Shop Homebrew Mocha CFW

WUP Install GX2 is used to install channels and applications on the home screen of your Wii U. Since we can not do this without the code signature being disabled, we will have to first load into Mocha CFW.

Go back to the homebrew app store and load Mocha CFW. Your Wii U must reboot and display the Mocha startup screen when reloading.

Once you're using custom firmware, it's time to install the homebrew channel for a more permanent solution. Run the browser exploit again, open WUP Install GX2, select "hbc", then press "Install."

Wii U Homebrew WUP GX2 Setup Program

It will ask you if it should install on the NAND or USB system, choose "NAND". This installs the homebrew channel from the / install / hbc / SD card folder into the system memory of the Wii U. If it fails with a "DSi Exception Occurred", reboot your console and try again.

If it worked, you can exit homebrew and return to the home screen of your Wii U. You should see a new "Homebrew Launcher" icon.

Wii U Homebrew Launcher chain on the home screen

You can now load at any time into the homebrew launcher and install any other homebrew application you want to use. Do not forget that the "Homebrew Launcher" channel only works when you use Mocha CFW. Therefore, if you disable your console, you will have to run the browser exploit again and reload Mocha.

Optional: Haxchi Installation

Haxchi replaces the browser exploit with an easy-to-use channel on your home screen. This step is entirely optional, but you will avoid having to run the browser exploit every time you turn off your console. This is especially important if you are using the latest system firmware, as browser operation may take several tries to work.

Do not forget that Haxchi requires you to pay for a legitimate copy of a DS Virtual Console game.

You will need to add some extra files to your SD card:

Download the file and unzip it. Inside, you will find two folders: one containing the Haxchi data in / haxchi / and the other containing the Haxchi installer in / wiiu / apps / haxchi.

Drag the entire / haxchi / folder onto your SD card and drag it to / wiiu / apps / in the / wiiu / apps / folder on your SD card. You can also download the Haxchi installer from the homebrew app store, but you will still need the other folder / haxchi /.

Wii U Homebrew Haxchi Files

By default, Haxchi will try to load into a custom firmware, but we can block this behavior with a different config.txt file. Replace the configuration file in the / haxchi / folder with the one you downloaded. You can configure this to load Mocha automatically, but for now, it will be manual.

After that, you can load the homebrew launcher again and open the Haxchi installation program. The installer is a command-line prompt that will ask you to select a compatible game. Press the A button to select the game.

Wii U Homebrew haxchi installer

If you do not see it here, you will need to download one from the eShop, the cheapest being Brain Age at $ 6.99.

Another prompt will ask you if you are sure you want to install. Press A to install everything.

Wii U Homebrew haxchi completed the installation

Once the operation is complete, you should see a new channel on your home screen replacing the DS game called "Haxchi", which you can use to load the homebrew launcher instead of the browser exploit. If you want to load the homebrew launcher from the "Homebrew Launcher" channel, you must run Mocha after running Haxchi.

If you still have too much to do with each reboot, you can upgrade to Coldboot Haxchi, but it is possible to make up your console if you do not do it properly, we will not recommend it.


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