(almost) clueless noob eeds help with USB loader GX and hard drive issues

Discussion in 'Wii - Hacking' started by Bumblefoot, May 9, 2017.

  1. Bumblefoot

    Bumblefoot Newbie

    May 9, 2017
    Hi everybody! This is my first post here, as I've got an issue I'm trying to get to the bottom of. There seems to be a lot of dodgy information online and I keep running into some frustrating problems as I try to puzzle it all out, so I figured it might actually be best if I asked the venerable bods over here about it.

    Basically, it goes like this:

    I recently got somebody to softmod a Wii console (note - NOT a Wii U) for me, for the purpose of playing back-ups of my old game disks from a hard drive using USB Loader GX. I'm not paticularly well versed when it comes to to the business of hacking consoles, so I beg a bit of tolerance here - I've tried to muddle though and work out as much as I can.

    The Wii has the latest system update installed. It's reading as 4.3E.

    I'm using a WD Elements 500GB external HDD. I believe the compatibility of this drive has been well proven. The first time I plugged the drive in - which was literally he first thing I did with the HDD after I took it out of its box - USB Loader GX registered the drive but asked me if I wanted to format it. However, it showed me four partitions, three of which were labelled 'cannot format this partition.' The firt one, which I formatted, was labelled as 2048GB.

    After formatting, I was able to install games from disk without any issue whatsoever. But it was bugging me that USB Loader GX was telling me I only had 128GB total storage available.

    Reading up a bit on the subject, it seemed that I might be able to get better results formatting my HDD to FAT32. I downloaded the FAT32format utility to do this, using the 'full format' option.

    However, on plugging the HDD back into my Wii, rather than being asked to format the drive again, it showed me that the previously installed games were still resident on the HDD. And working! But I'm now unable to install anything else, as USB loader GX tells me there is no free space available.

    My guess is that the previously installed games are on a WBFS partition, which isn't being erased when I format because my PC can't read it. Would that be correct?

    I've since uninstalled the games from within USB Loader GX and found that I have just less than 10GB of storage space available to me for Wii backups - less than useless!

    So, my questions are:

    1. If my suspicion about my HDD having a WBFS partition is correct, how might I completely remove that from the hard drive so that I can start from scratch? Is that even possible, or have I borked my hard drive?

    2. Is there some way to make the total storage space on my HDD available for use with the Wii? It seems strange that I can only use a portion of it.

    3. I'm thinking that where I may have gone wrong is that I haven't done any preparation of the HDD prior to plugging it into my Wii. I know now that FAT32 is now considerd the best option for formatting an external hard drive for use with a Wii. But I haven't altered anything with file partition tools, and I'm unsure if I need to use a program like Wii Backup Manager.

    As I say, I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to console hacking. I've done a few mods that required soldering and case alteration, but this is all a bit new annd confusing to me. I may well be asking some stupid questions here, but any clearly worded answers will be VERY much appreciated.
    Last edited by Bumblefoot, May 9, 2017
  2. Bumblefoot

    Bumblefoot Newbie

    May 9, 2017
    Bit of an update to this! (Sure, no replies to this thread yet, but I know folks are watching it. Here's hoping this'll help somebody.)

    I've managed to un-bork my HDD. Did some fiddling in Windows disk management, unallocated the HDD's active partition, and then plugged it back into the Wii before running USB Loader GX. I'm now given the option to format the drive again. It's still telling me that I can't format 3 of the four detected partitions.

    I'm not sure if this is par for the course when using an extrnal hard drive with the Wii. So, before I press ahead and format the drive through USB Loader GX , I'd really like to know if there's a way to fiddle with the hard drive so that I can use all 500GB or thereabouts, as opposed to the 127GB it's telling me I have available to store games on. Even if somebody can point me to a reliable online guide, that'll be a MASSIVE help.
  3. Lapask

    Lapask Newbie

    Jan 3, 2014
    United States
    Not sure the exact issue, but if I were having this issue, here's what I would do.
    1. Plug the HDD into your computer and remove and/or back up all the files you want to keep. Using Windows' built-in Disk Management Tool, remove any disk partitions.
    2. Reformat the drive to exFAT or anything other than FAT32 (temporarily), and uncheck "quick reformat" or anything similar. Let the drive FULLY reformat.
    3. Lastly, Reformat the drive AGAIN using the FAT32_format_utility.exe, to create a clean and single FAT32 partition. When you plug it into your computer, it should say "0/500GB" and when you click properties, it should say "FAT32" for format.

    Some notes from my experience:
    I prefer to do all formatting on my computer, and not on the wii. I haven't run into any issues doing this.
    If you end up not seeing your drive when you plug it in, check the disk management tool in windows, you can always reformat there.

    (optional) Use a data destruction program to completely wipe the drive. When a hard drive reformats, It basically is just allowing previous data to be written over. Using any data destroying program would prevent the wii from reading old files on the hard drive, its just kind of a pain. I wouldn't personally do it because I don't have enough research on it.

    If you have any questions, i'll check back here to see if I can help.
    One more question, when you plug in your hard drive to a PC, what size does it show the drive as?
    Last edited by Lapask, May 27, 2017
  4. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf GBAtemp Guru

    Mar 2, 2015
    United States
    This explains how to wipe all the partition data from the drive using DISKPART on Windows. You don't need to do a full format.

    Read it before you start and note everything in red. DISKPART does not have any warnings or "are you sure?" prompts so it is easy to wipe the wrong drive if you're not paying attention.
  5. Bumblefoot

    Bumblefoot Newbie

    May 9, 2017
    Thanks a ton for the input, guys! I apreciate it a lot.

    I'll be looking into Lapask's suggestion about formatting and then re-formatting the drive once I get a bit of time to tinker with the Wii a bit more.
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