Before you begin
Here is some important information that you should know when you want to softmod your Wii. Be sure to read the entire page!
Is this legal?
After following the main hacking guide, you will be able to run backed up Wii (and GameCube) games on your console. Please note that this is not legal everywhere in the world. This guide will also not help you with and does not advocate piracy.
What are the risks?
There is always a small risk of bricking your Wii (this will render it completely useless). This is not unique to this guide, all guides have this underlying problem. However, a reputable guide tends to have a very low risk. The initial hacking steps for example have not knowingly lead to any bricks, ever. Other more advanced steps do require some additional brick protection to be installed; which this guide will mention in advance.
Note that the steps we provide are MUCH easier than e.g. rooting an Android phone or flashing an Xbox. In fact, the Wii is probably one of the easiest and safest consoles to hack out there.
What will it cost me?
A little of your free time. ;)
Note: Never follow a guide that requests payment.
What will I need?
A Wii (or Wii U in virtual Wii mode)
An SD card. SDHC only works for system menu version 4.0 and above, some exploits don't support SDHC at all. SDXC may work but is technically not supported by the console itself.
A computer that can read SD cards.
If you are softmodding a Wii, you don't need any games.
If you are softmodding a Wii U (virtual Wii), you need to use a compatible exploit. All of the currently WiiU compatible exploits use a specific game.
Note: For Wii U, it is also possible (and recommended) to softmod the Wii U part of the console and then modify the virtual Wii from there. This guide does not cover Wii U console hacking, but there are multiple guides out there.
Will it work on my Wii?
This guide will currently work with any type of Wii except the Wii Mini (which lacks an SD card slot). There are ways of modding a Wii Mini, but this guide is not yet adapted for it.
The guide is completely compatible with:
All colors: White, Black, Red, Blue, Ultraviolet, ....
All regions: PAL, NTSC-U, NTSC-J, KOR
Wii consoles that have been previously softmodded.
New type "Family" Wii (lacks GameCube ports)
Will it work with the Wii U (virtual Wii)?
The main hacking guide includes steps for vWii mode of the Wii U. We do however recommend that you hack the Wii U itself with a dedicated guide, which will automatically open up the vWii part as well. We do not currently provide steps for this.
Note that several homebrew programs are not compatible with the vWii. Be especially careful when installing things to the NAND:
Homebrew Channel: 100% safe
cIOS: Follow this guide and it should be safe
Priiloader: Do not install, instantly bricks the vWii
Channels (WAD files): Double check if they are vWii compatible
Custom Themes: Do not install, will brick vWii
Any homebrew that does not install anything should be fine.
Note: If you do end up bricking the vWii, the Wii U mode will still work. There is currently no way to brick the Wii U mode from vWii.
What will I LOSE?
Functionality wise, the Wii will lose nothing at all. Everything will still work as before it was softmodded. So softmodding will only give you additional functionality.
The only thing you are guaranteed to lose is your warranty; however since the Wii is no longer actively sold, this should not be a problem.
What can I GAIN?
Of course it would be pointless to do this if there was nothing to gain.
Depending on what modifications you do, you can gain:
The ability to use dozens of Homebrew Applications
The ability to backup your games and play them from a USB device or SD card.
The ability to play games from other regions (full region free)
Re-enable internet connectivity (RiiConnect24); including weather and news channels, as well as online multiplayer.
Turn your Wii in a Media Center (Play Movies, Music and more from USB, SD or DVD*).
Custom themes for the System menu.
The ability to move your disc channel.
Use emulators to play various games from the past.
Play game hacks, such as the Brawl mods and texture hacks.
And MUCH more!
* DVDs will only work on older Wiis. On newer model Wiis, you can only use SD and/or USB. This is due to a hardware change.
Can it be undone?
It is technically possible to undo a softmod. However, the steps to do so are very dangerous and can brick the console quite easily, which is why we do not provide them.
Note that even if you undo the softmod, it will never erase all traces. Nintendo will be able to see the console has been softmodded before. As a result, you can not regain your warranty, ever, and Nintendo may charge extra for repairs.
In conclusion: once it is softmodded, it will always be softmodded.
However, since a softmodded Wii can do everything a normal Wii can, there is no real reason to "unsoftmod" it. It does not influence any future modding done to the console either.
So many pages... What to do first?
The first thing that has to be done with every Wii is the initial softmodding process. It is a very easy process and won't take much of your time. (If you know the process, you can easily do it out of your head in 5 minutes).
In this guide, this initial process is called the Hacking Guide. This guide can easily be found in the sidebar, or by following the "Next Page" buttons below.
After doing the initial Hacking Guide, you are free to do what you want to do and when you're doing it. If another step is required to complete a page, you will find this information in the "Required" section on the top of the page.