Homebrew HPA and Wii U HDD


Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
United States
Hey guys :)

I was really wanting to find a way to set up two partitions on my Wii U HDD. So, not really buying that it wasn't possible, I went grave digging around looking for what other people have already tested before I tried anything myself.

I came across this:

"Actually I was wrong earlier. It doesn't block drives with HPA, it DOES block GPT drives where it can't find the backup table (since it needs to delete it I guess) and ignores drives that go beyond it's own partition table (yes, I was wrong about that too, parted, gdisk, and fdisk just don't differentiate between "unknown" and "none", dmesg had to set me straight there). So there you have it. If you have tools that can mount a partition using only the backup GPT table without restoring it you can have a Wii U "partition" by following these steps:

create GPT partition table across the entire disk
create a partition at the end of the disk
find out how many sectors that partition has
find out how many sectors the disk has
subtract partition sectors from disk sectors
set up HPA using the result from step 5 + ~100 (eg: hdparm -N pSTEP_5_RESULT+100 --yes-i-know-what-i-am-doing TARGET_HDD)
create a BRAND NEW GPT table across the now accessible area of the disk
plug the drive into the Wii U and let it format the disk

Congratulations, you're done. You now have a way to use the same HDD on your computer and your Wii U. Just temporarily remove the HPA every time you plug it into the computer."

This was posted by KDH and later referenced by the global moderator Cyan. The original post is here: https://gbatemp.net/threads/can-you-make-a-wii-u-partition.337805/

So cool, it is totally possible!........ buuut not useful without some way to deal with the HPA. As stated in the thread, the drive will be ignored if you remove the HPA and then try to connect it.

This seems like such a little hurdle to deal with and yet I have almost no idea how one would go about implementing a fix to this issue. Perhaps just a patch to the Wii U menu so that it wouldn't ignore the drive once the HPA was removed? What do you think could be a solution to this? Do you have any idea of how one could implement such a fix?

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