Last updated 2019-01-19 (added new stable web exploit for 5.5.2-5.5.3)
Last checked for updates 2019-01-19 by Cyan
5.5.3 update is safe
Supported Wii U firmware versions:
This guide used to cover multiple firmware version (5.5.1, 5.5.2 and 5.5.3), but I decided to drop support for hacking the Wii U on lower firmware. Even if it’s entirely possible to stay on 5.5.1 version and fully hack the console, it had some disadvantages: It required more steps and tools to hack it, and at the end you’d had more issues staying on a lower firmware. I think it’s better to go to 5.5.3 right away and forget about the problems you’ll have if you stay on 5.5.1 (game update not working, game launching giving an error, no eshop access, CBHC removed after updating to 5.5.3).
There’s no reason to stay on 5.5.1 anymore. This version was the best for a long time because it had a more stable web exploit, but now a new stable version is available for 5.5.3 !
This guide will give you all the current hacking options and give you a choice on what works best for your situations. Unlike other guides I will not simply give you a set of instructions and tell you to follow it blindly. Read up on everything so you can make an informed decision on what will work best for you.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Blank SD formatted to FAT32 (IF you have one that you are using for vWii just copy all your data to your PC first and reformat it to FAT32. You can copy the vWii stuff back after we’re done.) Make sure that your SD card is large enough to backup your entire sysNAND. You’ll need the next size up from your Wii U internal memory size. For example, if you have a 32gb Wii U then you’ll need a 64GB SD card. Windows will not format your large SD card to fat32. You’ll need to use a third party tool to do so. I recommend using “GuiFormat” *note* If you don’t want to backup your entire nand that’s okay. At least get otp.bin and seeprom and you’ll be fine.
- Do NOT give your SD card a name with capital letters. Example: “SD”. That will give you problems. Make sure your SD card has no name or you use lowercase letters.
- A computer capable of reading SD card and internet access.
- External USB Hard Drive if you want to install and launch titles from USB. Don’t use a flash drive. They do work. They are usually just too small for your needs. You will need either a Hard Drive that has it’s own power cable or a USB Y cable for hard drives that come with only a single USB cable.
- Turn off “Standby functions” and “Auto Power Down” inside of your Wii U power settings menu.
- A Wii U with a firmware no greater than 5.5.3 (5.5.3 is the latest).
WHAT YOU’LL CHOOSE
There are two levels of hacking on WiiU : user level and kernel level (custom firmware).
With the user level you can launch homebrew from the homebrew launcher, while with the kernel level you unlock the full potential of the console up to installing and launching new unsigned channels. That’s probably what you are looking for: Custom Firmware to install and launch games?
With the first user level, you can launch games with the loadiine homebrew, loading games from SD card. Some people are still using that method.
With the kernel level (or CFW), you can install games on your WiiU menu, located on internal memory or a WiiU HDD. This is the most used method.
In order to unlock the kernel level (CFW), you’ll have to choose between three methods:
– either you run the homebrew launcher first (user level hacking), and from here you launch a firmware patcher only when you need it.
– either you install Haxchi, and manually launch it every time you want to patch the firmware to CFW directly without going into homebrew launcher.
– either you install CBHC which will patch the firmware automatically at console’s boot.
This guide will cover all three possibilities, you are free to follow them in order and stop at the one you want. There is no better solution than other, all three methods give you access to the same features. The only differences are the requirements, how you use them and how different your console behave.
Visual hacking path you can choose
2. INSTALL AN ENTRY POINT
Learn how to use Haxchi!
3. BACKUP YOUR SYSNAND – DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
4. GAME LOADING METHODS
5. DIFFERENT TYPES OF CUSTOM FIRMWARES AND HOW TO INSTALL THEM
6. OKAY I’M USING CUSTOM FIRMWARE NOW WHAT?
7. WHAT IS REDNAND?
Please let me know if I’ve missed somebody