News Article

System Update 4.2 Bricking Wiis Left, Right and Centre

Posted by James Newton

Consoles slightly left of centre should be fine, though

The Wii only received its 4.2 update the other day, but already the Internet's alive with reports it's causing machines to stop working completely, with many popping up on our very own forums. The update's major purpose was to remove the Homebrew Channel from consoles, as well as protect the Wii more robustly against piracy, but it appears it's had an unintended negative effect on legitimate gamers too.

Nintendo hasn't released an official statement yet, but admin NOA_TECH_JAN did have this to say in the company's official tech forums:


Some of you have reported problems with your Wii console after updating to the Wii System Menu 4.2. The symptoms most people are describing usually occur when the Wii has been modified. However, some of you also mention your system has never been modified.

We'd like to help get your system working properly again. If you're experiencing problems with your Wii console after downloading Wii System Menu 4.2, and you believe your system has not been modified, please give us a call. If we find that you have a normal system and the update caused your system to not work, we'll repair it at no charge.

Please call our Customer Service Department at your earliest convenience, 1-800-255-3700. We are open 6 AM to 7 PM, Pacific Time, 7 days a week.

Hopefully Nintendo will soon put this right with a future update.


From the web

User Comments (93)



Dicesukeinuzuka said:

Glad I didn't update
(no not cool that it bricks, but they are fixing it now! And No Pirates!)

OH yeah I didn't mod either
100% Legal!



jhuhn said:

I updated to 4.2 and my Wii hasn't had any serious problems......yet.



Objection said:

Which is why I don't bother with these pointless updates unless I have to. (I'm still on 4.0.)



AchubaNanoia said:

I have a modified Wii to play games from other regions... so far no problems, but now I'm scared .



Machu said:

I left the room while mine was doing it's thang, guess I was lucky the wireless didn't wobble when I did. Sad news for those that got done though, totally sucks dude!



Shiryu said:

If you guys updated to 4.2 and your Wii powers on and works, there will not be any problems or danger. The bug only happens if the update freezes halfway and you need to reset the machine. This sneaky update had a new boot sector code that if it does not complete the update sucessfully, will leave you with a bricked Wii because it will corrupt the boot. So dont worry if you got 4.2, the only real danger is during the update procedure. Sicne I have not needed to use the Wii Shop Channel, I did not update. Looking forward for a less buggy code on the next update. It's times like these that make me miss my GameCube and any prior home console I own that didn't really on internet and firmware upgrades...



TourianTourist said:

Looks like I'm not going to update then. I don't have any modifications, but I can't risk my Wii glitching now while playing Metroid Prime Trilogy. ^^

I'm waiting for 4.3 or 5.0 or whatever when they hopefully solved this problem.



warioswoods said:

From all the quick research I've been able to do, while this is a problem for at least a few scattered Wii owners, nearly all the reports referring to it seem to be jumping the gun a little. The only real reports out there are users on the Nintendo tech support forums, and the numbers are by no means of the imagination overwhelming there, even if it does make one a little cautious.



Kawaiipikachu said:

My Wii fine with with the update & its an older Wii like some i heard during this report here .
Like Wariowoods have said its really mentioned on the Nintendo tech forums & only a few reports so far so i can only expect this problem only hit a few small percentage of owners out there .



BJWanlund said:

Thank goodness I haven't updated yet!

But, my Spidey-sense is tingling here: What if this is all a mad ploy by Nintendo to make you buy another Wii?? Since they're $200 now, why not buy another one if your current Wii is squirrelly?

Just putting that out there...




SandMan said:

I had the homebrew channel and I updated. No bricking here! (No homebrew channel any more either. sobs)



drdark said:

"Left, Right and Centre"? Why does the headline get more sensational every time this news is posted?



Shiryu said:

For all you people claiming this only happes to "hackers" I wish you had read my comment...
This Wii update does not brick a Wii because it finds the HBC, It bricks a Wii during the update of the boot sector. It does not matter if youre legit or modded, the glitch is in the buggy code for the rewriting of the boot sector. Again, don't worry if you have 4.2, if you dind't frooze halfway during the update, youre perfectly safe. Wii's are getting bricked because of corruption in the boot.



firecookie29 said:

my wii stoped playing disc software games (before this update) but i can still play my downloadable games. if my wii messes up, hopefully they'll transfer ALL of my purchases to a new one.



AVahne said:

i'm 100% legal, but i'll wait til 4.3 because im not taking any chances



paygar said:

*oO thats not nice...i pay for these consoles and games...and they will put patches online which bricks it...

Piracy isn't good, but these isn't better.
Shame on you, Nintendo



Big_A2 said:

Nintendo better not release anything worthwhile on the PAL VC today, as I'm still not updating.



residentWii94 said:

My Wii is updated to 4.2 and it hasn't had any problems and if it does,it doesn't really matter cause I'm gonna buy a new one sometime when I get enough money for it. The one I have right now is toast.



Stuffgamer1 said:

My console is slightly left of center. (<-proper American spelling )

I agree with Shiryu; this kind of stuff makes me miss the time when there were no updates to potentially mess up. At least it does with Wii, since it has a generally horrid track record for adding new features (save for SD channel). I do think these reports have been blown out of proportion, though. As if THAT was unusual...



JayArr said:

Kudos to the person who made the Brick Wii pic.

Those refusing to update know that "no update = no Wii Shop Channel", right?



fudgenuts said:

If you want to use the Wii Shop Channel without updating, install the HBC and run WiiSCU. It will update your Shop Channel without updating your firmware.

@JayArr: Some guy at wiibrew made the pic.



jbrodack said:

those "horrible" homebrew guys figured out ways around this problem and identified the buggy boot code immediately.
I don't know of anyone who bricked their wii simply from installing the homebrew channel.



drdark said:

@Shiryu: Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that anyone was lying about having a bricked "non-modified" Wii, only that the headline to this story is exaggerating. It would give the impression that a majority rather than minority of Wii owners are having this problem.

As for those who are claiming Nintendo is intentionally trying to punish pirates by bricking their Wiis: AFAIK most have just reported that the Homebrew channel was removed, and in any case you get warned more than once that the update will disable any illegal software on the system. I can't ask more than that.



Token_Girl said:

Thanks Shiryu for explaining the problem. The only reason it seems you may want to hold off on this update would be if your wireless is unreliable enough for an install to be cut off in the middle. I'd do some online gaming first for like 15 min. and if the connection is good, then I'd go to town. Some days my router likes to play games with me though.



wanderlustwarrior said:

I don't have a modded wii, and I still think that nintendo is being dicks. Theres a distinction between running homebrew on the Wii and DS and outright malicious intent.



mjc0961 said:

"But, my Spidey-sense is tingling here: What if this is all a mad ploy by Nintendo to make you buy another Wii?? Since they're $200 now, why not buy another one if your current Wii is squirrelly?"

Why not? Because Nintendo is fixing broken Wiis for free, that's why. Kind of the entire point of this article.



TheKingOfTown said:

I updated, but not long after, my wii froze! I never had the homebrew channel, so I don't know if it's the update's fault. Maybe it's because my Wii is getting pretty old now. I think I got it at 06.



Firefly said:

I updated my wii and it still works. I noticed that the update took some time. Sometimes the progress bar didn't moved for minutes. This could be the point where some people just reseted their wii even after they have been told not to do this.



Starwolf_UK said:

Properly? The way of doing things properly isn't to put out an update which updates the boot sector using poorly-written code. At the very least properly is to withdraw that part of the update (or the entire thing) until you have found and solved the problem. They did neither.

The poorly written code in question regards the error correction code being re-written to the new boot2. It is a case of a small probability of that part of the Wii requiring error correction code (to skip corrupted blocks or whatever) and then a small probability of the error correction code not being re-written.

It has the potential to brick a number of Wiis but only actually will brick a few. Of course had Nintendo thought, "hey our ECC code is rubbish since the hackmii team wrote their own for bootmii*" they would have re-written their code so that it would brick no Wiis. But instead they seemed to be preoccupied with "if we delete the channel with title ID HAXX we've gotten rid of the homebrew channel...whats this? A day after our update the homebrew channel has a new title ID, back to the drawing board"
*-A homebrew application which writes to the boot sector.



drdark said:

@wanderlustwarrior: So you would like them to go around to each individual Wii owner and just ask them whether they're using the Homebrew channel to pirate games, would you?

Get some sense; are you 8 or something?



i8cookie said:

Ok I have a question. I had homebrew installed for a bit coz I like to tinker with things. I got bored with it and uninstalled it. If i happen to be one of the few unlucky people that has my wii bricked by this update, will they fix it for free or see that i had hb for a bit and think that I must have downloaded games? ...which I didn't.



Sean_Aaron said:

@i8cookie: That might be a problem for you. Whilst the HBC is installed and removed like a normal channel it will leave a record that it was installed in the first place and if Nintendo check for that then it's possible they'd slap a surcharge on you for having modified your system.

I had HBC installed and my update went fine. One thing I would say to people is to confirm your network connection is working before attempting this update by launching a channel like Weather or News which makes a remote connection to download information. I would also be patient. This update took 5min. to install on my PAL Wii and I have an 18Mb DSL2 link. I had no problems with either the PAL or Japanese systems, though.

Clearly it's the riskiest update Nintendo's rolled out yet; I hope lessons will be learned and they'll be more careful with the code next time if as starwolf says there's problems in it, but having dipped their toes in the water and largely met with success I expect that further updates will make more of an effort to modify the boot process to stop homebrew running on their systems. I would also think the next gen after this will see a more serious effort against software modding.



Betagam7 said:

Nintendo should be embarrased by their amateurish attempts to block homebrew. The fact that a few amateur coders can write better code than professionals employed by a company the size of Nintendo is a disgrace.



jer18 said:

Still running fine on v3.3 here. Kudos to Nintendo for trying to fight back piracy but truth is if there's a will there's a way - meaning programmers are always going to try to keep a step ahead of these updates.



KDR_11k said:

It's not a problem with modding, the update code is just sh*t. The modders actually have a better update code because they analyzed Nintendo's code and found it too buggy to use. I'd rather wait for a modded updater that doesn't have those flaws.



nintendo87 said:

mine is fine but i kind of wish mine brick up so i can ship it and get another year warranty lol!!



invmat said:

You know, when I saw the changelog I couldn't believe my eyes....
Ninty was actually updating the most important part of the Wii.
And this is no suprise for me.

@ AllthepeoplewhothinkthatNintycansolvethisproblem: Unless they take the update offline immediately, more Wii's will brick. The update itself is no problem, but the odds of failure are.

When Nintendo launched an update, there were always people who turned off their Wii or the update didn't work. That was mostly no problem, but this update is.

This will also be the last and only update for the Wii that bricks so many Wii's. Please believe this and don't ask why because it's a very long story...



tootie_kicks said:

1. While I HAD the HBC, I have never used it to play illegally copied games.

2. I only used the HBC to try to save my save game files/Miis/etc when AN EMAIL caused the Wii to freeze everytime it tried to download it.

3. To accuse every person with the HBC of being a filthy pirate (by Nintendo putting out this shoddy update), is similar to accusing every person who owns a gun of being a killer who goes on a rampage (extreme example, but trying to get my point accross).

EDIT: My Wii booted, so it's fine, but the HBC is gone



ejamer said:

This story has been exaggerated and sensationalized to the point where it's a joke.

The update could potentially brick Wii consoles... but the odds of it happening are extremely low. Despite nearly every gaming website reporting the story, and there has been a ridiculous amount of trolling surrounding the news, but the actual number of claims I've seen where a console was bricked because of the update is still in single digits. Of those claims, roughly half were because people bought grey-market Wii consoles what had been imported from other countries and flashed with different firmware.



Corbs said:

I'm not sure what the big deal is. If your console isn't hacked and bricks, you get it fixed for free. If you download homebrew and something happens, you're sh*t out of luck, which you know going into it. So what's the problem?



primeris said:

100% agree with Corbie. Nintendo has always provided me with great customer service, repairing every system I ever sent them for free. I have had issues with half their systems, so keeping my Wii unmodified, just in case, was a no-brainer.
The Afterburner mod for the GBA is the only one I've ever done on a Nintendo system, 'cause, really, the unlit GBA sucked.
I've hacked systems before. But I'm fully prepared for the consequences. I don't cry when I know full well that it was me who messed with my toys. And from experience I always expect Nintendo will fix it if they broke it.



Jeroen1 said:

This is a potential disaster for non-modified Wii owners. Sure, they'll replace your Wii for free, but that doesn't mean you will be able to transfer your save data for games like Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Kart. I can't be arsed to play those games for the third time, after the death of my first generation Wii unit a year ago.

Not to mention Wii Sports and Wii Play data, as it isn't tied to your mii character (like it was in Resort). Nintendo messed up real good this time.



wanderlustwarrior said:

ah ha ha. you must be new here.
You (who I'm guessing are still developing [hopefully], naive and impressionable, and without a filter), don't seem to understand much.

First, Nintendo was well aware of the likelihood that a Wii, like any console, could be hacked. Information from quite reputable members of the forums (while not the best source) does suggest that Nintendo was made aware of how the Homebrew Channel was possible, by its developers, before they launched it. Nintendo chose to ignore this. Unfortunately, this is well within some Nintendo business practices to ignore a potential asset regarding use expansion and exploitation until after it's become an issue (see: the Head-tracking guy now working on the Natal). Fourth, the sheer speed at which Nintendo's updates are beaten both on DS and Wii is a joke. On some occasions, it's happened within days. The multiple signs of incompetence on Nintendo's part in this area suggest people should have a right to be worried.

Second, while it is an issue, users of homebrew are in the minority. The targeted updates were okay as long as they did not interfere with normal users, but if indeed this one did, Nintendo has overstepped its bounds in it's responsibility to consumers. Not all people can or will be able to fix a console that they had no fault in damaging. At the least, Nintendo could've tested their updates before they launch, to make sure there is no issue.

Third, If you had actually bothered to read the page or other parts of the site (lurk moar), you'd know that Nintendo actually can check if someone has installed the homebrew channel.

I accept that there are things I can be wrong on. But, try to intentionally misinterpret my words again and make a pathetic attempt at an insult, and I'll give you a no-holds-barred verbal beatdown. This isn't Kotaku, there are actually coherent and mature users here.



Starwolf_UK said:

Thing is Nintendo's checks of the homebrew channel might not be that advance. An internal remail with NOE suggested they only looked at the menu to see any channels. In theory there could be a disc to check the installed tickets on the system and find it that way (I would guess un-installing the homebrew channel through the homebrew channel gets rid of this but just removing the channel through system management won't) but there lies the problem. Upon system menu 4.2 loading (judging by the name of one of the routines; iplESMisc.cpp:eleteTicketsForce) the HBC ticket will be deleted (channels with no tickets associated with them vanish as well) so in a way Nintendo might have provided a good method for those who are unsure how to get rid of the homebrew channel actually get rid of it



Ski_Deuce said:

"The update's major purpose was to remove the Homebrew Channel from consoles, as well as protect the Wii more robustly against piracy, but it appears it's had an unintended negative effect on legitimate gamers too."

I take issue with the whole "legitimate gamers" statement.



Ren said:

weirdly mine was bricked a few days after a previous update from a couple months back. I got a "Mii Channel corrupted", warning of some kind and then it froze forever. I never use anything unnoffficial and I'm not interested in most of it after even looking it up. Still had to pay to get it fixed even though it wasn't my fault. I don't remember when this 4.2 update was, maybe I haven't done it, but it makes me nervous.
The frustration is understandable when it happens to you, but otherwise it probably is extremely rare.



Betagam7 said:

Corbie, you appear to be missing the point which is the inconvenience of having to box up and send off your Wii to Nintendo to fix and send back losing all your save game data in the process and having to wait 2 weeks or so for Nintendo to send back your Wii.

How any gamer can sit back and say "what's the big deal" to that is beyond me. Nintendo should be pulling this update right now and restoring the shop channel rather than leaving it one there to potentially brick even more Wiis than it already has.



Corbs said:

A good reason to own multiple consoles.

But in all seriousness, I have yet to see any verifiable proof that anyone with an un-modified Wii has had their console bricked due to the update. And many sites are reporting that most of the reports are from those who don't even own a Wii console. But if your console is bricked and you've not used homebrew, then I'm sorry if I offended you.



Objection said:

Q: What's the big deal fi your system is bricked? Nintendo will repair it for free?
RE: Do they now? Setting aside however long it takes to get your wii back, time you should be able to use instead of this update rendering it useless, does Nintendo pay for the shipping to them? I doubt it, and with the fairly large and heavy (for postage) Wii, that could be $5-10. So, basically the way I see it, Nintendo makes an update that could possibly do nothing but (fail to) limit piracy whilst costing gamers some money and time.



Lotice-Paladin said:

I am okay too since I updated it about a few days ago knowing what I'd have done to my white box. Then again I read somewhere that it was safe for un-modded wiis to update. Seems I was wrong but has anyone on here actually had theirs bricked?

@67: $5-10 isn't a bad price for delivery imo. Over here we get postal strikes and perhaps the greater burden of pricing more or less . Then again I can understand why people would be upset at paying for it to be delivered all the same.



wanderlustwarrior said:

From what I remember, the cost of shipping would be closer to $20. Of course, that's going off of memory (the price to send a Disc Read Error PS2 for fixing after that class-action lawsuit was $25, so i was making an estimate)



Nintendude92 said:

They rewrote System IOS and added a new one to try and stamp out homebrew, look what happened.

I haven't updated.



mastersworddude said:

Oh and I don't think It bricks the Wii, I just think it erases all the homebrew from the console witch actually makes me glad as I didn't want it modded anymore.



rustythekid said:

I'm not updating! I bought it on release day, and I don't even live in the U.S.
No sir, I'm not updating.



Crushy said:


I'm in the same boat as you I used Homebrew to try out a few freeware games and back up my collection. I'll admit to trying out 2 Japanese games I was interested in but was afraid I'd never see here in Europe. (Curiously one of them was that new vs Capcom game ).

I just wish we could still have homebrew though. Backing up my games is VERY important to me, call me what you wish. The only reason I don't mind this update is because I know a new hack will come soon, and Cave story will probaly come even sooner



citizen_zane said:

The biggest problem with having your Wii bricked is not that you are inconvenienced with having to send it back to Nintendo, it's the fact that you will more than likely lose your save files!

I happened not to do the update because I actually sent my Wii off to Nintendo that very morning. I was having disc reading issues as well as "corrupt save file" issues. I'm afraid that they are going to have to wipe my system's memory clean. Why in the Hell won't Nintendo let us save our all of our save files to an SD card?



Betagam7 said:

@Corbie 66

Corbie, you seem to be confused about what causes the bricking. It's got nothing to do with the system detecting homebrew. It's caused by a problem with a persons internet connection interupting the rewrite of the Wii's boot system. If the connection drops while this happens then the download freezes and the system has to be hard reset. unfortunately because the Wii now has incomplete information about how to boot up it doesn't and so is bricked.
Nintendo should therefore be warning people at a bare minimum to ensure there connection is fully working while they update.



bestbuck said:

My Wii was bought on release day 6 December 2006 I've never had anything illegal on it. I updated yesterday and have had absolutely no Problems



Sean_Aaron said:

In the UK at least Nintendo does pay for the postage (you supply your own box, though). It's a tempest in a teacup as far as I'm concerned. Unless there's some confirmed mass posting of Wiis to Nintendo it sounds like a bunch of sour grapes from people who feel they should be able to do as they please and in case anyone hasn't noticed planet Earth is not the Land of Do As You Please.



Betagam7 said:

So let's get this straight, if I've never modified my Wii (which I havn't) and bricked it with Nintendo's update (perfectly possible if I had a slightly loose internet connection) it would be "sour grapes" of me to feel disgruntled about it?
Sorry but I don't get that logic at all, nor do I get why Nintendo is still stating myths like this one to Eurogamer:

"The symptoms described usually occur when a Wii console has been modified. However, there are a very small number of people reporting problems when a system has never been modified".

Nintendo ought to stop using this as an attempt to promoite its anti homebrew agenda and start responsibly informing people to make sure they have a good quality internet connection before updating so as to avoid needless bricking.



SmaMan said:

It's good they're replacing them for free here, but save data is irreplaceable. I for one have lost a few GCN memory cards in Hurricane Katrina and it's frustrating to lose 4 or so years of game progress. I fear that's what's happening here for many (or at least a few) of our Wii brethren.



SmaMan said:

Btw, in case any HBC'ers out there didn't know yet, they released new workaround for HBC days ago. (Like a day after 4.2 came out.)

Oh yeah, I went ahead and updated, too. And HBC is still there. It got rid of BootMii but that'll just take a second to reinstall.



drdark said:

@wanderlustwarrior: thanks for amusing me for all of 20 seconds.

@Betagam7: there is a warning message displayed just before you proceed with the update, although I can't remember whether it specifically mentions internet disconnections though (it does however mention unofficial software I do recall).
Also, regarding said Eurogamer "myth" quote - I don't see anything wrong with the statement. They didn't say "none", they say "usually" and "very small number". So far I haven't seen anything to prove otherwise. If you look at the comments on this thread and several other sites, I've seen plenty of comments saying nothing happened to their Wii rather than the opposite.

Thus I stand by my statement. This story has been overblown, and the title of this news piece didn't help at all.

@citizen_zane: I can't remember the source of the story, but I believe some people have had their Wii repaired and got it back with downloads and saves intact. I hope you are eventually one of them .



AUnkownFuture said:

Im worried that my wii will get bricked when i update it ill wait for mario and sonic 2 to come out.It will probably tell me that i need to update it i cant let my wii get bricked ive had it since 2007.ill let you know when i update my wii



Betagam7 said:


Nintendo's warning doesn't say anything about internet connections because they didn't even consider this when releasing their potentially dangerous update.

Nintendolife is absolutely right to promote this story. If even one Wii was bricked through this update people need to know.



drdark said:

@Betagam7: I agree Nintendolife should report it. I haven't denied that at all. I'm just saying the headline blew things out of proportion as far as I can see (I'd love to be proven wrong).

This site has recently become one of the most popular for Nintendo-related news and reviews. And this'd be the perfect moment to quote that Spiderman line about power and responsibility. So, errr there you go.

Not trying to attack Nintendolife or any users, just trying to keep the peace so to speak.

~all the best.



Denkou said:

im really mad at nintendo.
wii update 4.2 breaks wii's, they knew that, so i didnt download it.



Goldmidget said:

Right im gonna cut the bull here!!!
GROW SOME BALLS and have the update!
and if you have wait for abit untill more people have tested wether it bricks your wii
Thank you and i bid you goodbye



i8cookie said:

i used to have homebrew, but uninstalled it yonks ago. i never used it for copied games though, just played with some custom apps and games people had made. I just updated my wii coz i wanted lost winds, everything is fine. I think just make sure ur connection wont drop out and u'll be fine to update.

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