Hacking Why is a flash drive in a Wii softmod not good?

Zurd

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Hi, had my Wii for years, softmod, always worked wonderful. But out of the blue, I can't play Worms Battle Island, it just freeze either at boot with IOS222 screen or either when the game load after the intro animation.

Turns out, my friend's Wii does the exact same thing too. We have played for years without issue, haven't touched anything, no internet connection on it.

I was able to find the problem, we are using a USB key and if I format it and put back the game on it with WBFS Manager, it works again. The USB keys are fine.

I found two posts from godreborn saying that using a flash/usb key is a bad idea and it's better to use an external USB HD instead. My question is: why is that better? What's the difference? Both should work the same as far as I know. A USB key is quite practical because it doesn't use any additional space compared to a big external USB HD and our Wii worked for many years without any issue.

References:
gbatemp.net/threads/another-black-screen-problem-you-see.593055/#post-9559720
gbatemp.net/threads/black-screen-on-game-boot.593487/#post-9567018
 

ChiefReginod

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They're generally a lot slower than USB hard drives or even most comparably-priced SD cards. I'm not saying this is why you had problems with that specific game and IOS, because that could have been something else altogether, but when people recommend against using them it's mainly due to the poor read speeds, which, regardless of media type, can definitely lead to black screens, crashes, etc.

Assuming it's fast enough, I would make sure it's partitioned and formatted properly, and make sure to use FAT32 instead of the outdated WBFS partition setup. Also, make sure it's using MBR instead of GPT. exFAT can also be problematic.
 
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CoolMe

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I
Hi, had my Wii for years, softmod, always worked wonderful. But out of the blue, I can't play Worms Battle Island, it just freeze either at boot with IOS222 screen or either when the game load after the intro animation.

Turns out, my friend's Wii does the exact same thing too. We have played for years without issue, haven't touched anything, no internet connection on it.

I was able to find the problem, we are using a USB key and if I format it and put back the game on it with WBFS Manager, it works again. The USB keys are fine.

I found two posts from godreborn saying that using a flash/usb key is a bad idea and it's better to use an external USB HD instead. My question is: why is that better? What's the difference? Both should work the same as far as I know. A USB key is quite practical because it doesn't use any additional space compared to a big external USB HD and our Wii worked for many years without any issue.

References:
gbatemp.net/threads/another-black-screen-problem-you-see.593055/#post-9559720
gbatemp.net/threads/black-screen-on-game-boot.593487/#post-9567018
It's not about storage space. And an external hdd needs to be connected with a y-cable to get enough power, to provide enough speed for the games to run properly. Also the Wii is finicky with usb flash drives and the 2.0 usb ports might be a factor to why they don't work as they should.
 

Zurd

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They're generally a lot slower than USB hard drives or even most comparably-priced SD cards. I'm not saying this is why you had problems with that specific game and IOS, because that could have been something else altogether, but when people recommend against using them it's mainly due to the poor read speeds, which, regardless of media type, can definitely lead to black screens, crashes, etc.

Assuming it's fast enough, I would make sure it's partitioned and formatted properly, and make sure to use FAT32 instead of the outdated WBFS partition setup. Also, make sure it's using MBR instead of GPT. exFAT can also be problematic.

USB key slower than USB hard drives? I wonder why, I mean they are both using the same USB port on the Wii and this is the bottleneck. USBs key are very fast, they are flash memory like SSD. It's fast.

Is the WBFS format button in the WBFS Manager application bad? I've always used it and my Wii has been working just fine for about 8 years and my friends for about 5 years. I made him a new USB key and it's all working fine but I'm having trouble with mine. It's a 120 GB USB Key. Everything is fine but Worms Battle Islands, haven't figured out why now. I cannot format if FAT32, just NTFS or exFAT.

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

I

It's not about storage space. And an external hdd needs to be connected with a y-cable to get enough power, to provide enough speed for the games to run properly. Also the Wii is finicky with usb flash drives and the 2.0 usb ports might be a factor to why they don't work as they should.

Ah, I understand. I guess me and my friend were lucky it worked good for many years. So long term, we should invest in an external hard drive with a power cable.

p.s. when I was talking about space, it wasn't about storage space. A USB key is smaller than an external USB drive, so it uses less physical space. And one less power cable :)
 

ChiefReginod

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USB key slower than USB hard drives? I wonder why, I mean they are both using the same USB port on the Wii and this is the bottleneck. USBs key are very fast, they are flash memory like SSD. It's fast.

Is the WBFS format button in the WBFS Manager application bad? I've always used it and my Wii has been working just fine for about 8 years and my friends for about 5 years. I made him a new USB key and it's all working fine but I'm having trouble with mine. It's a 120 GB USB Key. Everything is fine but Worms Battle Islands, haven't figured out why now. I cannot format if FAT32, just NTFS or exFAT.

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------



Ah, I understand. I guess me and my friend were lucky it worked good for many years. So long term, we should invest in an external hard drive with a power cable.

p.s. when I was talking about space, it wasn't about storage space. A USB key is smaller than an external USB drive, so it uses less physical space. And one less power cable :)
I feel like I say this a lot, but unless you test it and see the actual read speeds, you can't be sure it's actually fast enough. Flash drives are notorious for having cheap controllers and slow storage. You can test it with h2testw.

Regarding the file system, you can still format it to FAT32 with Partition Wizard. Be sure to set the cluster size to 32KB during the format. Your Wii games will need to be in .wbfs format for FAT32 drives, but there are backup managers that can convert them for you. WBFS partitions sometimes get corrupted and you can't keep Wii and GC games on the same partition like you can with FAT32. No one recommends WBFS partitions anymore.

And I'm pretty sure most USB hard drives work fine on Wii without the splitter cable. You definitely need one on Wii U, though. There might be some drives that don't draw enough power, but try it without one first.
 

6adget

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its because flash memory doesn't do well over time. it happens when data is changed, written to, it can cause a sector to go bad. it prolly lasted that long because most of the files were only read, not written. I could be wrong about reading data from the flash drive doesn't cause bad sectors over time to go bad. its late, and I'm too tired to look that up. but if you look it up you will see what I'm talking about. one of my TV's has the ability to dvr live television. you just have to plug in a usb drive. I would burn through a flash drive every 3 or 4 months because they would constantly be written to. like non stop. so I finally plugged in a usb hdd and problem solved. I should have done so in the first place. the manual warned against using a flash drive for that very reason.
 
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notimp

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I cannot format if FAT32, just NTFS or exFAT.
Thats a windows limitation (only allows Fat32 formating up to a certain size). Any third party format tool should do:
https://gbatemp.net/threads/fat32-formatter.392383/

All that I can say is, that I used a Sandisk USB drive and most games worked well, but then Mario Galaxy 1+2 and WiiSports+Resort never booted (stick formated to fat32), and then I got a corrupted stick once, due to a brownout and...

So my best guess is, that the USB stick using more power once more games are loaded onto it (probably two kinds of storage (faster cache, and slower main), once you exceed cache size, the stick takes longer to move data (to the cache) and more power while doing so). And its at that stage, where problems start.

Saw something similar with the PS Classic. Some USB Sticks would work with the front USB (which on the PS Classic is notorious for low power delivery (almost below standard)) ports, until you filled more than 20% or so of the stick, and then suddenly it wouldnt get recognized/brown outs would start.

So despite Mario Galaxy 1+2 and WiiSports+Resort never working from USB stick in my case, I actually got a brown out eventually, that corrupted the stick (data could be rescued with low level tools :) ) -- so with all those potential problems waiting for users... Better tell them to use a HDD, or SSD (in an external enclosure) and a y cable for power delivery:

(See: https://gbatemp.net/threads/usb-loader-gx-blackscreen.591228/ )

Once I switched to my external SSD not only did Mario Galaxy 1+2 and WiiSports+Resort start working without a hitch, game loading speed also was noticeably faster (from button press, to image getting loaded to the wii remote warning screen).

If it worked for you - good, but imho its just much easier to tell people to go the HDD/SSD route (using a y cable), because with differing qualities of USB sticks out there, its just the better general advice.
 
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Zurd

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ChiefReginod: I used "format /FS:FAT32 X:" in PowerShell to force format my USB key in FAT32 but after 2h of formatting it just failed. What a waste of time! But then I used Partition Wizard, that was successful but still same problem with my USB key, all games works except Worms Battle Islands. My games in are .iso format and I use WBFS Manager and this works quite well except for one game. It does work fine on the USB key of my friend. In any case, I found a solution: I have my big 114 GB USB key with all my games and another small USB key with only Worms Battle Islands on it. Everything works. If it fails in the future, I'll just format the key again or put a brand new USB key.

6adget: Indeed, seems like flash memory doesn't do well over time (better than CDs or DVDs though!). I would guess too that if there's written data, it will make it worse, however, in the case of the Wii, I would think that it's only read and absolutely no write. The saved games are on the SD card, not the USB key which contains only the game. Very interesting about your TV, especially the fact that it's written right in the manual.

notimp: Oh wow, I love your explanation about the possible cause of the USB key, that makes total sense in my opinion because my USB key is 114 GB and I have trouble with it and my friend is 32 GB and no problem.

What I find weird however, is that all games works (all IOS249) except just one which is using IOS222. Might be a coincidence but I find it weird.

So I kind of fix the situation for now but in the future, if I do buy an external hard drive, you are all talking about a Y cable. I'm not sure what it is exactly. I see the one in the other thread "USB 3.0 to Micro B Dual Power Y Shape 2 X Type A to Micro B" but I fail to see how you plug it into the wall for power. There isn't much external HD today with a power cable since they are all USB 3.0 which give power to the drive.

Thanks everyone for your insights, this forum is awesome!
 

ChiefReginod

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The USB splitter cable is named something like "USB Double Splitter Cable." The shorter the cable, the better.

Here's a picture.


USB splitter.png

Only some hard drives will need this on Wii. I've had good luck with the WD Passport line of hard drives not needing a splitter cable.
 
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Zurd

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The USB splitter cable is named something like "USB Double Splitter Cable." The shorter the cable, the better.

Here's a picture.


View attachment 276352

Only some hard drives will need this on Wii. I've had good luck with the WD Passport line of hard drives not needing a splitter cable.

Wonderful, thanks a million, you're a gold mine of information :)
 
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