After playing around with my Nintendo Wii all Sunday, I finally managed to set everything up so that I can boot backed up games directly from my 32GB USB stick. Here’s what I did.
Installing homebrew channel
The first step will be to have access to the homebrew channel on your Wii. This can be accomplished by several ways. I used the Twilight hack described here http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Twilight_Hack however, this has been fixed in later updates of the Wii firmware. However the Indiana Pwns hack explained here http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Indiana_Pwns currently works with the latest 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2 system menus.
You can also use the BannerBomb hack which is explained in this article http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Bannerbomb
I am however not going to explain in detail the software hacking of the Wii, as this was something I did when I first got the Wii, by going out and buying The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, so I could load the hacked save game and start installing home brew. This is all explained in the links I posted and should be enough to get you started.
Installing the latest IOS package cIOSCORP
In order for the system to be able to load the latest games without having to update the system itself, we need the latest IOS packages. These packages can be installed in numerous amounts of ways, but I found it easiest to use a package installer called cIOSCORP. This installed all the latest IOS packages, patched with whatever it needed to have patched, and as many as needed to run any game available on the market. More info and download of the package can be found here http://cioscorp.com/
Simply explained is that you download the package, place it under apps/ on your SD card and start the install through the homebrew channel. Some basics about how you do this here http://sites.google.com/site/completesg/how-to-use/homebrew-channel
Making a WBFS USB stick with wbfsmanager
In order to play games from an USB stick, the file system on the USB stick have to be altered to use the WBFS system the Wii uses to read the game DVD’s etc. This can be accomplished by using a simple application called WBFS Manager, and can be downloaded here http://wbfsmanager.codeplex.com/ Simply follow this guide http://adewii.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/howto-wbfs-manager-for-windows-basics/ and you will have the USB stick converted to WBFS in no time. This guide also explains how to transfer the ISO files onto your USB stick.
Scrubbing Wii game isos and adding to usb stick
It is also possible to do a “scrub” of the ISO images for games you backup. This makes them smaller, which is what we want when we are storing games on an USB stick. You can download the Wii scrubber here http://wiiscrubber.com/ Once the game you have scrubbed is done, transfer it to the WBFS USB stick as shown in the link above.
Installing an USB loader
I’m currently on a slight experimental stage with this, but right now I’m using an USB loader called WiiFlow which is working quite well. Download it here http://wiiflow.wiitdb.com/ Simply place the package inside the apps/ folder on your SD card to run it from the homebrew channel. If everything is working as it should, you will be asked to insert the USB stick and the games placed on the stick will show up!
I know there is another launcher available, enabling you to launch games directly from the channel menu explained here http://sites.google.com/site/completesg/backup-launchers/usb/loadstructor which I’m going to try out, but I just managed to boot up Super Mario Galaxy, and my girlfriend has now claimed the Wii for the evening ;)
I take no responsibility for the use of pirated games with this walk through. This guide is strictly for information use only (and as my personal reference). I also take no responsibility for any damage to your Wii caused by this guide, neither do I take responsibility for any harm made to other hardware.
Also, there are probably several errors in this guide. If you wish to correct my post, please leave a comment and I will do the necessary updates.