Hacking Buying a Wii U, what do I need to know?

drfsupercenter

Flash Cart Aficionado
OP
Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
1,907
Trophies
0
XP
1,022
Country
United States
I'm surprised there isn't a sticky thread that has a n00b's guide to hacking the vWii, only the progress and do's/don'ts.

I am going to be buying a Wii U tomorrow (the Wind Waker HD bundle), and it would be nice to have homebrew support on the Wii emulator.

However I've read about some of the bricking nightmares and the fact that doing a system format doesn't fix the Wii emulator if you screw it up. So I want to be absolutely sure I don't do anything permanently bad to my system.

Is there a way to format the vWii's memory like you can on a normal Wii? That way at least if I install HBC and later need warranty support I can just format it and they won't know.

I'd imagine the first things I would want to do are install Homebrew Channel and make a NAND backup, right? What else is essential? I am hoping to do a system transfer from my Wii to the Wii U so I would have a bunch of legal Virtual Console and other titles anyway.

As far as the formatting thing goes... is there any way to return your Wii U to "vanilla" status? I know with the Wii there was a way to do it via ModMii that would reinstall all the stock stuff and remove all the hacks... I'm guessing Wii U is different.

Sorry if you guys have seen a million of these threads before, I'm trying to ask specific questions and not just "can I do x and y"
 

drfsupercenter

Flash Cart Aficionado
OP
Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
1,907
Trophies
0
XP
1,022
Country
United States
So in theory, if I installed Homebrew Channel using one of those exploits (darn it, the only game I own that would have worked was Twilight Princess, I guess I need to go rent a compatible title from GameFly!), then did a NAND dump... if I ever wanted to "vanillafy" my system I could just restore that NAND dump and uninstall HBC?

If an update is available for the Wii U, the Wii Mode will be disabled until the update is done.
This is interesting. Do the system updates affect Wii Mode at all or do they just update the main software and leave Wii mode well enough alone?
 

Cyan

GBATemp's lurking knight
Former Staff
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
23,422
Trophies
2
Age
43
Location
Engine room, learning
XP
14,524
Country
France
You can't restore WiiU's Wii mode NAND.
The "dump" is actually not a NAND Dump, but a copy of the NAND content, file by file.

It's useful only if you want to restore one file, but you can't restore the NAND image like you do on a Wii.
 

Cyan

GBATemp's lurking knight
Former Staff
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
23,422
Trophies
2
Age
43
Location
Engine room, learning
XP
14,524
Country
France
You can, but it will mix with existing files, and it's not a brick protection that you can restore like bootmii nand dump on Wii.
The only way to really make and restore a backup state is with a hardware NAND flasher.
 

TehCupcakes

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2013
Messages
344
Trophies
0
Age
29
XP
1,361
Country
United States
That being said, the guide emo kid 68 posted a link to has been tested time and time again and it's very reliable if you follow it properly. As has been stated, keep in mind that there is no fool-proof brick protection at the moment, but stick to the guide and you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

Furthermore... Several people have reported that upon sending in a Wii U to be repaired they received a new one free of charge. It seems the repair services (at least in NA) are not bothering to check if vWii is modded, or they just don't care. Of course one would hope you never have to do this, but if it came down to it you could get lucky.
 

drfsupercenter

Flash Cart Aficionado
OP
Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
1,907
Trophies
0
XP
1,022
Country
United States
Alright, that's nice to know then. Since I had heard of people intentionally frying their Wii's NAND when they needed repairs to avoid having Nintendo void their warranty for having homebrew.

If someone knows how to remove the Homebrew Channel and whatever other hacks, that would be nice too, that way I could sleep easily at night knowing there's a way to revert back to stock should I want to.
 

Cyan

GBATemp's lurking knight
Former Staff
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
23,422
Trophies
2
Age
43
Location
Engine room, learning
XP
14,524
Country
France
To remove the Homebrew channel, I'm sure you can use Hackmii installer. There's a remove choice.
Just run hackmii installer from HBC.

To remove other hacks, I suppose you talk about cIOS (use a wad manager to uninstall them) or patched IOS80 (install proper IOS80 you extracted from your NAND copy which you should have done before installing anything to it using ShowMiiWad>vWii NAND dump>IOS80>Create wad>wad manager on vWii).
 

drfsupercenter

Flash Cart Aficionado
OP
Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
1,907
Trophies
0
XP
1,022
Country
United States
So... I realize we can't run BootMii on the Wii U, but has anyone tried something like Waninkoko's NAND dumper? There was another one on WiiBrew as well. I'm just curious, since I can't see any reason why those wouldn't work on vWii, and that way you'd get a full file that can be restored later.

I've installed HBC on my vWii using LEGO Star Wars, and dumped my keys/NAND as files. I'll hold off on the cIOS stuff for now - do I really need that for regular homebrew? Most of what I plan on doing would be installing WAD files, etc.
 

Cyan

GBATemp's lurking knight
Former Staff
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
23,422
Trophies
2
Age
43
Location
Engine room, learning
XP
14,524
Country
France
Existing homebrew are relying on IOS, but IOS on vWii don't have access to dev/flash/ anymore.
It could be done by writing your own PPC function to read/write to flash, but nobody did it.
look here and read all the thread if you are interested.


You don't need cIOS for regular homebrew.
You need them only for Wii disc based backup loading (redirecting Disc access to SD/USB) and EmuNAND.
cIOS are not required to play VC/WW Channels on realNAND, or to play gamecube with devolution or nintendont.
 

drfsupercenter

Flash Cart Aficionado
OP
Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
1,907
Trophies
0
XP
1,022
Country
United States
So what exactly is FS Toolbox reading from if there's no access to /dev/flash?

I guess let me rephrase that. If FS Toolbox can read all the files from the NAND, couldn't someone code it to dump to a file (you know, like the dd command in UNIX), so that said file can be restored later? That way if someone wanted to re-virginize their Wii U, all they'd have to do is restore the initial backup, then uninstall HBC.

But as far as that goes... if I install WAD files, then remove them using AnyTitleDeleter (or even the MultiModManager program I use to install them)... will that basically put me back to where I started so there's no sign I was tampering with the vWii?
 

Cyan

GBATemp's lurking knight
Former Staff
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
23,422
Trophies
2
Age
43
Location
Engine room, learning
XP
14,524
Country
France
FS Toolbox access the file system of the NAND, while dev/flash access raw sectors of the Flash chipset (with ECC error codes, etc.)

it's like using your computer to list the files in a folder opposed to reading a single HDD sector in hex editor. (which might contain only a part of the file and different data like checksum, file attribute, etc.)
Windows displays the files and folder
Hex editor display hardware sector's list and its content

Access to raw Flash sectors is disabled in later IOS version (even on Wii), you need to use PPC access and registers (using AHB access) to read/write to the flash in sector's mode.


Installing a title and deleting it has been proven (on wii) to leave traces. only flashing a clean NAND dump can wipe homebrew use.
 

drfsupercenter

Flash Cart Aficionado
OP
Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
1,907
Trophies
0
XP
1,022
Country
United States
Yeah, I get that.
But FS Toolbox can restore individual files, so it obviously has read/write access at a high enough level that you can mess with the contents of your NAND. (I used that trick where you replace the messageboard file with a blank one so it erases your play history, just to test it, and it works fine.)

So in theory, it could restore all the files at once, overwriting whatever copies are there. But obviously that would take forever to go through and hit plus to every file. So what I'm wondering is if someone could implement something like FS Toolbox, but where it copies all the files to an image (could be a .bin file, or whatever extension you give it), even a ZIP file. That way, you could restore it with one click, and it would go and restore the entire folder's contents.

I'm 100% sure this is doable, I just don't have any knowledge of how FS Toolbox is written so I wouldn't be able to do it myself. The program could also delete files that aren't contained in the backup, so it would ESSENTIALLY do the same thing as a BootMii backup, just going about it differently.


As far as installing a title and deleting it... ouch, really? I thought the point of AnyTitleDeleter was that it removed those traces and not just the ticket... or am I wrong?
 

Cyan

GBATemp's lurking knight
Former Staff
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
23,422
Trophies
2
Age
43
Location
Engine room, learning
XP
14,524
Country
France
Any title deleter deletes files.
But like most file systems, deleting a file is only done by removing it's reference in the file system table.
The actual data is still stored on the drive/device/flash, you can use undelete/unformat/sector viewer to read the deleted content.

Restoring a NAND dump replace all sectors one by one, empty ones became empty again.
replacing files by files doesn't remove traces left in unreferences sectors.

You can restore a backup at a file and folder level like they were at a given time, and it will probably works the same way than if you restored a full binary dump, but it won't delete trace of softmod if you analyze the NAND at a sector level. you would still require to access the sector level if you want to erase the content of unreferenced sectors. It depend how much traces you want to clean.

There are also data stored in some unreferenced files, for example sector 0 hold Boot1 and boot2, it's not listed as a file but it hold useful data which can be written/restored/updated by nintendo too. restoring at a sector level writes unlisted data too.
(nothing to do with current subject, just common knowledge : Having bootmii installed in boot2 is not 100% brick protection as you can have your sector 0 corrupted.)
 

drfsupercenter

Flash Cart Aficionado
OP
Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
1,907
Trophies
0
XP
1,022
Country
United States
That is a very valid point. However, due to the nature of file systems, if you delete a file and then write more files, there's a good chance the deleted files will be written over. So for example if I were to make a backup of my vWii right now (100% legit everything except for HBC being installed), and then installed a bunch of WADs and such... should I want to revert to untouched, I could restore that and then buy some legit channels from the Wii shop (or even download free ones like the Zelda save fixer), and there's a good chance it will write over that.

I'm not too fussed about areas of the NAND that aren't truly gone, since what are the odds that Nintendo would go and try to un-delete files anyway? Just the fact that they aren't "there" is good enough for me.

So do you know of any way to copy all those files to a single archive and restore it in one click? If there isn't one, someone really needs to make one. :ph34r:
 

drfsupercenter

Flash Cart Aficionado
OP
Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
1,907
Trophies
0
XP
1,022
Country
United States
I can't imagine why it wouldn't be safe. It would be just like opening up a Windows hard drive from another computer and replacing all the files with those of a backup. As long as it's from the same machine it should work fine.

Does anyone here who code homebrew want to take a crack at this? I'd do it myself if I had time to learn programming.
 
General chit-chat
Help Users
    The Real Jdbye @ The Real Jdbye: jail is also optional if you're good at running