Ultimate Guide to ALL Loader Issues

Intro / Is This Guide For You?

Read this post if your Loader (USB Loader GX, WiiFlow, Nintendont) won’t load your game.

Read it carefully. Please make sure you’ve reviewed everything in it before you ask a question that’s been asked a million times.

Any post that revolves around the inability to load a game Wii or GC on your Wii is subject to removal and referral to this post.

This guide Wii-Centric, so if you have a vWii, or even a Wii Mini this guide may not help you fully. But then again, our community is focused around the Wii. Otherwise we’ll help you as best as you can.

I will try to be as succinct and thorough as I can, this should cover nearly all issues with all usb loader software on all main-line model Wiis.

Resources pointing to the authority on the discussed topic will be posted. This is as of 2021-06-08. Remember these tutorials go out of date quickly, so please make sure that this tutorial is still being maintained by rWiiHacks.

If you haven’t even begun to mod your Wii, whoa there Hombre, mod your Wii first.

Lastly, this guide assumes you are fully upgraded. Running proper modern cIOS, updated versions of the software you need from authoritative sources, and the LATEST WII SYSTEM MENU.

If not, reverse course. Your issues are in another castle.

Getting Started / Minimize Your Variables.

One troubleshooting technique is to minimize the amount of things that can go wrong. A lot of these topics are easy to get wrong and easy correct.

We will spend some time eliminating things that you don’t need that might be causing the issue.

…Like your Write-Protect lock on your SD card. Please don’t have it on.

This guide is intended to check only certain things and how they are setup:

  1. Your Wii and your Wii’s mod.
  2. The USB Device you’re using with it.
  3. Your SD card and whether it is setup correctly.
  4. Your loader software and its configuration.
  5. The Image you are trying to load, assuming it is a common game that anyone can load.

Anything that includes variables beyond this is not addressed in this troubleshooting tutorial.

If you have something setup/plugged into your Wii that isn’t needed in getting it to load games, remove it. When you do it eliminates even the most remote possibility that it might be the issue.

Additional resources are at the bottom in the resources section.

Is Your SD Write Protect On?

Do I really have to elaborate on this. Putting it here a second time in case you missed my first blurb on it. UNLOCK YOUR CARD, WII CAN’T WRITE!@!

Are You Plugging Your Usb Storage Into The Right Port?

The only USB port that can run game backups is the one on the edge of the Wii, unless you are using d2x beta53-alt cIOS, which is not recommended as it is not as compatible.

So unless you have a specific reason to have it otherwise, ensure that your USB Drive is in the correct port. By default your loader uses USB port 0, which is circled here:

Wii Port

If you’re not using a USB device then this obviously doesn’t apply to you, it’s just one of the easiest things to correct.

Is Your Forwarder Causing An Issue?

Launch the app directly from the Homebrew Channel. If you have a channel forwarder to launch your loader from your home menu, please don’t use it, it could be causing the issue. Do not use it again until you’re sure everything is working.

If you don’t know how to use Homebrew Channel, check the Resources section at the bottom.

Is Your Image / ISO / WBFS Bad?

Rips are sometimes bad and images downloaded from shady sites are often bad.

You can test this by downloading Dolphin Emu on your PC or Android phone and testing the image in it to see if it loads in the emulator.

If you are trying to get a Wii game to work, it needs to be ISO or WBFS. NKIT will only work loading a GameCube game. Not a Wii game.

If your image tests bad in Dolphin-emu, re-acquire your image. Don’t ask us how, the only way we can tell you is to get another disc and try to rip it in possibly another Wii.

We cannot tell you where to download games from. That is illegal, even if you already own it. Please don’t ask.

Do You Have The Latest Software From Official Sources?

Getting the software from the developer if you can, lets the developer gage the popularity of their software. Also it minimizes possible complications that could arise from not doing so.

Also if you get your software from the same place as someone else who’s stuff is working you’ve lessened the chance of it being an issue.

Getting your software through The Homebrew Browser or The Open Shop Channel is NOT suggested.

A lot of times people will follow tutorials that contain links to file caches that have long since gone out of date. Usually if software this old is updated, it’s for a really good reason.

Make sure you’ve downloaded your software from their official sources if possible. I’ll put links to what I use in the resources.

Is Your Software Minimally Configured?

Best way to ensure that nothing is getting in the way including the configuration is to backup your SD, format it and put ONLY the new loader installed on it in the manner prescribed by the official installation instructions.

You can add your other stuff back to it when everything is known to be working.

Did You Correctly Mod Your Wii?

You can easily answer this question by running a syscheck on your Wii and making sure that you have these three exact lines:

IOS249[57] (rev 65535 Info: d2x-v10beta52): Trucha Bug  NAND Access USB 2.0
IOS250[56] (rev 65535 Info: d2x-v10beta52): Trucha Bug  NAND Access USB 2.0
IOS251[38] (rev 65535, Info: d2x-v10beta52): Trucha Bug, ES Identify, Acces NAND

How to run syscheck will be in the resources. Also IOS251 might be different on your system. If it is, it’s not a huge deal.

The recommended tutorial to bring you to this state is also in resources.

Did You Check The USB Compatibility Chart?

Some games that use accessories will require a different IOS to run.

Some games also have issues running on the normal IOS settings. Checking the compatibility chart will give you other’s experiences with those games and whether there was a specific condition that they had to meet to get it running.

Find your game on it, make sure there’s nothing special you have to do. Link to the chart is at the bottom of this article.

Is Your SD Device An Issue?

Most SD Devices work. I see a lot of mis-information on which SD cards the Wii supports. We’re not really going to go into the details of that, just what works…

And that is most SD Cards. Format the SD card FAT32 properly. Once you’re on 4.3x and you’ve gotten homebrew channel on the Wii, regardless of anything else, it will work with a FAT32 formatted SD card of nearly any size (200gb+ confirmed).

If the one you are trying might be causing issues, switching to a standard 2GB SD that is known to be working would be to your advantage. Or just trying a different one. Just to see if it changes anything. If stuff starts working, you’ve found your issue.

Is Your SD Formatted Properly?

Your SD must be formatted FAT32 MBR.

Windows -> If you’re in Windows you should be either using the command-line utility, or a 3rd party utility. (resources at the bottom)

Using the context utility will not allow you to format a FAT32 device greater than 32gb. If that is not an issue for your size, the simple formatting tool will work just fine.

Linux -> I shouldn’t have to explain this to a linux user. ‘parted’ and ‘gparted’ are the way to go, though.

Mac -> Couldn’t tell you. I don’t use a Mac. I’ll update it if I get this information at a later time.

‘gparted’ does come in a live-usb setup so you can boot to it and use it to partition with.

Is Your Homebrew Setup Properly?

There’s a link at the bottom on how to install homebrew software.

For a minimalist setup, I suggest backing up your SD, formatting it properly and only installing your loader as per the instructions on their official site or most accurate/reputable setup instructions for it.

To do this the only thing you need installed is your loader.

Is Your SD Write Protect Tab On?

BAM! YES this is a repeat. It’s such a common issue and so blindingly easy to miss I thought I’d repeat it. YET AGAIN.

Google it if you don’t know what it is. It should be ‘DISABLED’. Wii must write.

Is Your USB Device Causing The Issue?

USB storage devices were never intended to work with the Wii. The main goal of modding it is to allow it to do so, as all the hardware it needs to do so is available. All it needs is the proper software modifications.

So which is the best to use? There’s no real good answer to this question, and it is near useless holding up a random USB storage device and asking the world, “Will this work?”.

Try it. Then you’ll know. However there are some guidelines to assuring you are using a device that will most likely work with the Wii.

Don’t use anything too large. The Wii is really old. Drives over 2TB tend to have issues. Partitioning ‘tricks’ are often needed.

Lastly it’s to your advantage to have a replacement, even if temporary. Something you can try in its place to count it out as possibly causing an issue. If you change it out and your problems go away, it’s a dead give-away. If they stay the same the chances of both devices being bad or incompatible is greatly reduced.

If you don’t have a spare USB device to try, or SD card to try to count those out, you will always have to suspect that they might be the issue.

USB Flash Drives And Compatibility.

Technically all of them should work as well as a hard drive. Realistically they don’t. We won’t get into the technicals, but USB Thumb Drives are not a preferred storage method and if you plan on using Nintendont should be highly reconsidered.

The developers of Nintendont suggest against using a flash drive directly.

An SD card in a USB adapter is only marginally better. I’ve seen people switching from USB Thumb drives to USB SD Adapters and it solved the issue they were having.

WARNING: Using a USB Thumb drive or USB SD Adapter can also shorten the life of the storage device as you are using it in a way that it wasn’t really intended to be used.

Is Your USB Device Formatted Properly?

This one can get complicated. Formatting the entire thing FAT32 MBR, as you did the SD is optimal, unless you are using larger games. Then those will need to be split, which is fairly easy to do. Once done the loader will still recognize both parts as an entire image when named correctly.

If you don’t plan on using GameCube games, NTFS and ExFAT will also work. It will prevent you from having to split large images as highlighted above. However other pieces of homebrew only play nice with FAT32…

Do not use an Image Manager to format your drive to WBFS. No need to explain why. Just don’t do it. If you have a WBFS drive, it is beyond the scope of this guide.

At the most basic level you want FAT32 MBR or NTFS MBR if you’re not using GC. More complex setups are possible, right now we’re just trying to get your mod working.

Is Your USB Device Setup Properly?

For Wii games there should be a /wbfs/ directory, with your images in it.

We encourage you to set them up yourself, though if you plan on using Image Manager software, I’d suggest examining what it does and learn something from it. In most cases it’s just copying and renaming the file for you.

If you have that information already (easily found, gametdb link at the bottom, and you can get it from Dolphin), there is also a link on how to setup your game cache.

Remember that Nintendont games have a much stricter naming requirement than Wii games. But they must be named in the manner specified by the software you are using. If not, they could be an issue.

How to setup GC games are in the nintendont instructions and in our FAQ.

A Note On Backup Managers.

Quick note on backup managers that I’ve so far only mentioned in passing. By not using a backup manager and doing it yourself you are eliminating the backup manager’s possibility of causing issues.

I strongly suggest when you’re troubleshooting your issue, you do not use them.

Is It Your Wii Hardware?

That leaves us to the hardest to test, your Wii’s hardware.

First and foremost you should only be using one Wiimote, and have nothing plugged into your Wii that you don’t need to get this working.

If you’ve exhausted all options and have convinced even people in Wii hacking communities that you’ve tried everything revolving around the above discussions, then you might want to consider that your Wii is bad.

Most people don’t have a spare Wii laying around, but same as the USB device and SD card, switching it to a known working is how you verify that. Which is why this is last on the list. Most people if they get this far should be fairly sure that your Wii is the issue.

The Summary:

So far we’ve covered general, common situations. If none of these do you any good, proceed to the next section.

Nothing Worked! I Still Have an Issue.

This section is for people who the above hasn’t solved their issue. It is explicit, simple instructions to minimize the amount of things you have to manage on your own.

If you have gone through everything and you are not willing to perform these steps or you do not have what is required to complete them, we would have little ability to help you beyond this.

If at any point you perform a step and it doesn’t do exactly what is expected, stop. Ask someone in our community about it, as you’ve probably missed something.

Setup

These are the requirements for this process:

  • A Wii, not Wii Mini, not WiiU, on 4.1X or later. One that you’ve went through the modding process already with.
  • Your Wii should be plugged into a display that you know works. It should have power and a sensor bar. Nothing else.
  • You should have one working Wiimote. It does not matter if its Motion Plus.
  • You must have one SPARE SD card, not plugged in to your Wii.
  • You must have one SPARE USB Storage device that is NOT a USB Flash Drive, not plugged into your Wii
    • Platter or SSD External hard drive
    • Platter or SSD Internal in an enclosure.
    • an SD Card in a USB Adapter will work in a pinch. But we’d prefer the above.
  • You need one working Wii game image. It can be ISO or WBFS. Not NKIT. Before anyone asks; no, we cannot tell you where to get one. Also make sure it’s not a dual layer image. It should be only a SINGLE file. If you have FAT32, it can’t be over 4gb. If you need to convert an ISO to a WBFS to accomplish that, then do so. We won’t cover how to do that in this guide.
  • Lastly, you’ll need a PC. Windows, Linux, Mac. But we’re not here to instruct you on your OS. Pick one you know how to use. It needs to have internet access. You can use Android (Dolphin is on Android), if you can do everything you need from it, it should work fine too.

Doing The Deed

WARNING: We are formatting both pieces of storage. Make sure they are backed up or you will lose everything on them. Backing them up is as easy as plugging them into your PC, and dragging the files into a backup folder ON YOUR PC.

  1. On your PC: Format your SD to FAT32 MBR. If you’re on windows there’s a utility in the resources section for doing so. Any of the other OS’s, you’re on your own. There should be no errors during this process.
  2. On your PC: Format your hard drive to FAT32 MBR, or if you do not plan on using GameCube games, NTFS will work. There should be no errors during this process.
  3. Put USB Loader GX on your SD card via the link to download in the Resources section. If you need help installing it: Our Guide | Their Guide. Again, if you encounter an error, something is going wrong. It’s all drag-n-drop.
  4. Test your game image in Dolphin Emulator on your PC. Again, verify it isn’t an NKit. It HAS to be either an ISO or WBFS. If it works in Dolphin, put it on the formatted hard drive in the suggested manner. DO NOT USE WBFS MANAGER or WII BACKUP MANAGER. If you need help installing it: Our Guide
  5. Plug your SD Card into your Wii. Plug your USB Drive into the PROPER PORT on the back of your Wii (if you read the rest of the guide, you’ll know which is the right one).
  6. Turn your Wii On. Once in the System Menu, click on ‘Homebrew Channel’. DO NOT USE A FORWARDER TO GET TO USB LOADER GX or AT ALL. Once in Homebrew Channel you should see USB Loader GX in the list of apps and NOTHING ELSE.
  7. Click on USB Loader GX, choose ‘Load’. After showing a title screen, initializing your USB, you should be brought to the USB Loader main screen, with a single game, represented by a placeholder image (‘?’). Hovering your Wiimote over it should show the title of the game.
  8. Click on the game, click on the ‘Start’ button to load the game. It should load the game. This is the last step.
  9. If the last step didn’t load the game, it crashed, or brought you back to USB Loader or the System Menu; install Syscheck Hacksden edition (link in resources) and run it, and provide an experienced modder in our community with your ‘syscheck.csv’ on the root of your card.

After the Deed

Unfortunately if you’ve gotten this far we tend to be more inclined to think that you’re missing something we can’t see you miss. Missed/messed up instructions are the main reason for this problem’s existence.

We would welcome you to try to swap out any of the hardware we used in this process, save your PC. If you have a different SD, USB device, even another modded Wii. Verifying something works in one situation, and not another typically tells you that it isn’t an issue.

We rely on your ability to perform these steps to fix your issue. And as you’ve seen from the above steps, there’s really not much to getting this working:

  • A working Wii, on sysmenu 4.1x or later.
  • A compatible SD (most are), setup properly.
  • A compatible USB device (NO FLASHDRIVES), setup properly.
  • Known working software, minimally configured to work with your setup.
  • Custom IOS, setup in a manner in which is known to work.

This covers everything. Anyone needing more than this will literally just be walked through these steps again.

If you’re here and your USB Loader GX is now working, move on to do more. Add games, setup Nintendont, more homebrew, whatever.

Congratulations.

Resources

Below are things discussed in the above article that can be useful in diagnosing your Loader issue.

How to install Homebrew Applications

How to properly install your Wii USB mod

How to run a syscheck on your system

GBATemp’s USB Game Compatibility Table

GameTDB for Wii game IDs

Our modding FAQ with in depth section on how to setup your storage

Wii Backup Manager

GUI Format : a 3rd Party Windows FAT32 Formatting Tool

USB Loader GX official download

Suggestions, Corrections, etc.

You can send a modmail, but preferred method to give suggestions, corrections or direct questions would be our discord.