How To: Use NAND Emulation on the Wii
Post last updated: 12th August 2011
So you’ve got your Wii soft-modded and you can run homebrew and stuff (you haven’t? Well, ya could..) – what next? Well, you can install a whole heap of WiiWare, Virtual Console games and applications, but the Wii can only store a couple of hundred MB of stuff on its internal memory before it’s full. When this happens it’s like your drive’s full – you’re going to have to uninstall some things to install others.
Or… you could use NAND emulation to install as much stuff as you want! Sound more like it? Let’s get it on!
The Wii has 512MB of flash (i.e. NAND) memory, much like a USB stick – and it uses it to store the Wii operating system, save games, channels/WiiWare/VC stuff etc. When you soft-mod your Wii you’ve (hopefully!) backed up the system memory so you can restore it to default, in case you want to. If you’ve backed up your NAND system memory using BootMii, this is all well and good, but it’s not what we’re going to be using as the basis for our NAND emulation (i.e. the backed up nand.bin file) – we’re going to strip out just what we need to get a bare-bones NAND image (really, just a set of directories) and then use that to install our stuff.
To begin with, we’ve got two options:
- We can use a SD card to store our installed apps/games/channels (or SDHC card if your firmware is > 4.0, previous version of firmware don’t support SDHC cards), or
- We can use a compatible USB hard-drive
In this guide I’m going to set things up on a SD card, if you want to use a hard drive you’ll need it partitioned to have TWO partitions (each of which needs to be assigned a drive letter – not sure how? Try this): One large partition for your Wii ISOs which you’ll want to format using something like WBFS Manager, and the other smaller partition you can leave as standard FAT32, just like you’d have on your SD card or a USB stick.
On an SD card we can just use whatever space is available on the card, for hard drives you’re going to have to decide on how big the partition you want to use for NAND emulation is going to be (a couple of GB should do it plenty), assign the rest to the other partition for your WBFS ISOs. I’ve got a 640GB USB drive, so I’d prolly assign around 20 to 25GB for emulation so I’d have stacks of space for ROMs etc. – remember – there are no tools to resize WBFS partitions at the moment – so pick your sizes and get it right first time! =D
Okay, with that out of the way – let’s kick off with the emulation steps:
Step 1 – Get a copy of our Wii’s NAND in usable format
For this we’re going to use Simple FileSystem Dumper 0.2. Download it, create a folder for it in on your SD card under the apps folder, rename the .dol file to boot.dol and launch it through the Homebrew Channel.
Once you’ve run Simple FileSystem Dumper 0.2 you’re going to have a bunch of extra folders on the root of your SD card (or hard-drive, depending) – the new directories are these:
Make a copy of all these “blank” folders! Later on you can delete the folders off your SD card or HD and copy these “blank” folders back to effectively uninstall any installed WADs. You can prolly use WAD Manager etc. to just uninstall specific WADs, but I haven’t tried it out as yet. The folders are useful and only around 180MB in total, so it’s worth holding on to pristine copies.
Step 2 – [If neccessary] Update CIOS 38 to Revision 14
To use NAND emulation you absolutely need CIOS Revision 14 or higher. My Wii was on Revision 13b or something, so I used Waninkoko’s CIOS Updater and a net connection to get it up to Revision 14. You can find a copy like this…
Step 3 – Preparing the WADs for your emulated NAND
From what I’ve read you can install your WiiWare/Virtual Console WAD files to the emulated NAND using any of the following methods:
- By using WAD Manager 1.5 or higher.
- By using NeoGamma R6 or higher.
Because I formatted my USB Hard drive as a single partition in WBFS format (and I can’t be bothered to fix it up to have two partitions quite yet), and because you must have different source and destination locations at present to install WADs using NAND emulation (that is, SD to HD or HD to SD, not SD to SD or HD to HD) – I’m going to show you how to go with the manual method of installing stuff to your emulated NAND. And for this we’re going to need a little win32 application called wad2NAND.
The way it works is:
- Download wad2nand
- Extract the zip file
- Create a batch file called ConvertWADs.bat in the folder you extracted wad2nand to. Put the following in the batch file:
@ echo off
for % % x in ( . \ Convert \ * . wad ) do start / w wad2nand . exe "%%x"
- Create a folder called Convert inside the folder where you extracted the wad2nand zip
- Copy a bunch of WAD files (As many as you like! Woo-hoo! Or as many as you have space on your emulated NAND location for, really!) into that Convert folder and run your ConvertWADs.bat batch file
- Give it a minute to extract all the wads to two folders: ticket and title which will appear in the folder where you extracted wad2nand – remember these folders from earlier?
Update: Although the title and ticket folders hold the core content for games or apps or whatnot, I’ve read that the additional folders hold things like Miis and high-scores and things, so none of the folders are cruft or anything, and if you’re finicky about such things you’re best to hold on to them.
Step 4 – Actually install the extracted WAD files to your emulated NAND
After running wad2nand, the ticket and title folders will contain the installed version of the files to play whatever WADs you’ve converted. You now need to copy these two folders over the top of the “blank” nand folders on the root of your SD card or hard drive. Select [Yes to all] to overwrite things if there are duplicate files – just merge ’em all together. Almost there!
Step 5 – Launch the NAND emulation installed WADs
To do this, I’m going to use an application called Triiforce beta 7. Grab it and launch from the Homebrew Channel, then select your source (SD / HD / Wherever you’ve installed the extracted WADs).
Updated Note: TriiForce beta 7 is now available, at the time of writing TriiForce beta 5 was the latest version available, so that’s what you’ll see in the below screenshots.
By selecting the second from top option in TriiForce (showing a WAD version of Backup Launcher in the screenshot above) you can press left and right on the D-Pad of the Wiimote to select which WAD to run, and then just select the Start option above to launch it!
All done! Unlimited installs FTW!