Be Wary Of Updating Your Wii Firmware To 4.2

By Spencer . October 1, 2009 . 3:23pm

image I think the Wii firmware 4.2 issue has been well documented, but it’s pretty important (and we have a good amount of tips about it, thanks everyone!) so we’ll mention it here too.


Users have been reporting from all corners of the Internet that the Wii firmware 4.2 update has a chance of “bricking” or ruining unmodified consoles. The firmware update also disables applications used to run homebrew, like the Homebrew channel.


The bricking problem appears to occur while the update is loading so if you already updated your firmware you should be fine. However, if you didn’t update you may want to wait for a more stable firmware update. The only thing you’re missing out on is connecting to the Wii Shop channel, which now requires firmware 4.2 to use.


If you were unfortunately affected by faulty firmware Nintendo tech “NOA_TECH_JANE” says you can send your console to them and get it fixed for free – providing it’s unmodified.

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  • That’s why I never update my systems’ firmware the first week of a new firmware release. Too risky.

  • EvilAkito

    I’m pretty disappointed. If they’re going to force firmware updates on us, they should always be fail-safe. At the very least, they should have a back-door way to set your Wii back to factory settings without having to send it in.

  • daizyujin

    The most pathetic thing about this update is that it is totally unnecessary. All it does it stop people from using HBC. Imagine that, a company trying to shove a firmware update down people’s throats just to protect their own grubby pockets with nothing new in return for the end user. Welcome to the new age of consoles.

    The funny thing is, it bites them back. I was all pumped to get Castlevania ReBirth but there is no way in hell I will loose HBC for anything in the shop channel, so in effect their move has lost them money. Meanwhile everybody I know that has a heavily modded Wii (IOS mods or physical mods) are just sitting around waiting for somebody to find an exploit. To make matters worse, now they have to foot the bill for repairs to people whose unmodded consoles were damaged by a completely unnecessary update. Nobody wins and Nintendo just looks like asses.

    • Yeah that would suck if my Wii is ruined because of the “homebrew war”.
      I don’t have it modded and have no real reason to (the game I want region free for apparently has a translation patch that makes it play on US systems..) and it’s not fully mine to go about modding it. So I don’t want things to go this way when I’m no part of it.
      I’m sitting put until the next update comes to be safe here.

    • Ereek

      Is it so wrong that a company wants you to actually buy their games? Gaming isn’t a non-profit organization and, really, as a business they’re supposed to be making money. I don’t see how Nintendo, or any other company that updates their products for security, looks like asses.

      • daizyujin

        Perhaps you shouldn’t take things out of context. So let me explain this to you in bullet point.

        1. Nintendo gives user nothing new but tries to MAKE them update something that only benefits them (or so they think)

        2. People that they are trying to get to update don’t. They just sit on the sidelines and continue to do what they want.

        3. People who have no idea about what a “modded console” is get their consoles damaged.

        4. Nintendo has to pay money to fix said units that THEY broke. Consumers are inconvenienced, and were given nothing for the problems that NINTENDO caused. Nintendo hides behind a EULA and every other crazy legal defense they can come up with to try to weasel out of the fact that they indeed broke consumers consoles with an unnecessary update.

        5. HBC users (NOTE I DON’T SAY PIRATES) just sit around and wait, totally unaffected and laughing at both Nintendo and the poor saps who have fucked up systems.

        In the end Nintendo spends money to fix non modded systems and people who are modders are unaffected. Said consumers who do have messed up systems have to deal with Nintendo and sending in the console, waiting to get it back, with no compensation. Yeah, in my book, a company messing up a person’s physical property is at the least being an ass. After all, through all the licensing crap and what not, you do own the console, and they have no right to damage it, least of all if you have done nothing wrong. This update made sweeping changes to the Wii’s IOS even changing what IOS the system menu is under. This is not the type of thing you throw out the door with out SERIOUS testing.

        • Ereek

          Perhaps I worded my reply incorrectly. I wasn’t defending Nintendo’s mistake here, what I was defending is their decision to update their firmware. They screwed up with the update, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t continue updating in the future, with testing of course. It does not make Nintendo an ass to want to improve their security on their products, especially for future releases of their products.

          In fact, I’d say they aren’t an ass for an “accidental bricking.” It’s not like they’re breaking the consoles on purpose. It’s certainly not a -good- thing, but Nintendo doesn’t want to lose money. Being an ass in this case would be saying “Sorry, it’s your fault! We aren’t fixing the consoles.”

          • daizyujin

            The bricking to modded Wii consoles was not accidental nor was it necessary nor warrented. If I smash your car in your driveway, it don’t give you a right to come into my house and smash my TV. We hold individuals to legal standards, one that basically says it is not ok to harm another simply because they harmed (or you believe they harmed) you. Regardless of what I did to your car, you would still be arrested for breaking and entering. It is not really a crazy idea to hold corporations to the same standard.

          • Ereek

            What? That’s a terrible example because you’re simply making no sense.

            Using a slightly different example, but one just as exaggerated as yours:

            With humans, there is accidental and premeditated manslaughter, among others but let’s keep it basic. Accidentally killing someone, such as in a car accident, usually will not get you into as much trouble. On the other hand, if you rammed someone’s car over and over attempting to cause physical harm to the occupants, then that is purposeful and you’ll definitely get a far harsher punishment.

            The former is the case with Nintendo. They didn’t purposefully and willfully damage the consoles. Why would they want to willfully damage your console? As you said above, it’s costing them money.

          • Aoshi00

            Well, I still hate them for the unnecessary region locking while the DS/PSP/PS3/most US 360 games are region free. For me and many others who import, we are actually willing to spend money on games regardless of regions. I don’t use homebrew, so I was pissed w/ the update rendering the freeloader useless, which was the only way for me to play imports, eventually forcing me to buy a 2nd Jpn Wii system (for only a handful of games that aren’t localized)

            I agree w/ daizyujin, these incessant updates are totally unnecessary and only cause trouble for everyone, since the homebrew people will not touch it anyway. So what is Nintendo accomplishing here? Nothing, it doesn’t affect the homebrew crowd, regular people getting their systems bricked, and importers not being able to play the legit copies of import that they bought.

          • Ereek

            I agree about the region locking, it’s a bit archaic at this point with how easy it is to simply import and how each market has grown together and is less separate entities.

            I take it you dislike the PSP, too? Because updates in that did, in fact, help stop CFW. Just to be clear, I have nothing against CFW by itself, I just dislike how 90% of people use it.

            I think the problem here is that Nintendo isn’t requiring updates in the same way that PSP does with their games. That’s why it’s continually mentioned that they’re simply waiting it out. But then, if Nintendo did require them, then people would whine the same way they do on the PSP about the updates. Nintendo is in a no-win situation and, really, I think they can do with some modifications in their practices when it comes to updates. However, I do feel they are justified in updating as long as it does not hurt their customers – which is happening in this case. A bit more testing would probably have stopped this from happening at all.

          • Aoshi00

            Dang, can’t reply to you anymore..

            I hear you on why they want to do it, nothing wrong w/ their logic to fight against piracy, and it’s not mandatory (except you can’t use the shop anymore..). I don’t use CFW for my PSP, so I really never cared about the whole firmware update issue, I always get them when they’re available. My main gripe is region lock, and PSP plays all games so I’m cool w/ that. UMD movies aren’t but who watches them anyway.. still it would be nice if the movies are region free too, since my PSP-2000 is a Jpn one, and I can’t buy a cheap UMD movie even if I wanted to.

          • malek86

            One should distinguish between importers and pirates. On the PSP, importers don’t need to modify their console – indeed, I never did. So I always apply any update immediately. Just downloaded 6.10 yesterday. On the Wii, however, you have to at least softmod it for region free games, so of course you’ll be angry if Nintendo tries and block it. If they had to be asses and region lock their console while pretty much everything else is free, it’s not like I have to deal with their stuff. They are even making DSi games region-locked now. How much does that suck?

            Pirates, well, they’ll whine in both cases, but I don’t really care about pirates.

          • Aoshi00

            You’re right, pirates should be ashamed and they always get around this, and in turn it is us importers that the updates are inconveniencing..

            My beef w/ the big N is I had to go w/o access to Wii shop before I still needed to use the freeloader to play Wii and GC imports, I know people have told me to go HBC, but I don’t want to temper w/ my system if possible. I waited that long for a different colored (blk) console if I’m importing one because I wasn’t going to get another identical white Wii. Now it seems like Nintendo can’t touch me w/ their updates anymore since I own a Jpn Wii and DSi (for Wiiware), yet I still have a big problem, I can’t transfer my GC saves from US memory card to my new Jpn Wii because the memory card needs to be formatted to a specific region as well. Now I can’t continue playing Baten Kaitos (& Origins) and Tales of Symphonia on the Wii (w/ component cable) and resort to using the old GC, Nintendo are asses in that regard, in their absolute desire to region lock games.

            But, they did do one thing better than Sony/MS which I did not expect at all, it’s one can use a non-Japanese credit card to buy stuffs on Wii shop and DSi shop unlike MS pt card/PSN tickets, which need to be imported at a premium. So now I can buy whatever I want from the Jpn Wii/DSi easily, w/o needing to worry about running out of points. Still, it’s a little contradicting since not many people could enjoy this as most people outside of Japan don’t own a Jpn Wii or DSi.

          • Aoshi00

            I’m also not bounded by 360’s Jpn region lock either since I had a Jpn machine to begin w/, but it just RROD on me two nights ago (the horrible flashing red lights..), thankfully it’s 3 months until the 3 yrs is up. So I’m sending it back to MS today, pray to god they just fix it or return a machine in the same region to me, otherwise I would have no use getting a refurbished US one.

          • Sorry to hear about that :(
            Let us know in the future of how it turns out. I’m curious to know what MS would do when they see an Xbox from another region on their work bench.
            I know when I had to send my DS for repair (very minor, R button is just a SLACKER!) to NoA I had to put in the serial number. That kind of worried me since I just imported a JPN DSi (for [email protected], btw. Very good) and if there is any trouble with it and try to send it in they’d know right away that it’s an import. I think they outright refuse to look at anything from a different region and I obviously can’t get any help from Japan. I understand policies to an extant, but isn’t that kind of sh*tty?

            I wish there was an organization for importers for region free rights or something. Isn’t there anybody in these companies standing up for us at all?

      • CleruTesh

        While I once tried HBC simply to add import + DVD functionality, I got put off by all the “hackerishness” of it and promptly removed it before I broke anything. So I understand that not all hackers have evil intentions.
        However, in spite of the fact that Nintendo really should have made the Wii region-free, and should at least have a d/l in the shop channel to play DVDs…
        I still definitely support the big N on this front.
        The fact is that the majority of hackers are going to be pirates, and piracy has to be fought against.
        It is quite unfortunate that there has been “collateral damage”, but you want to make an omelette, you got to break a few eggs.
        I absolutely loathe piracy, as we enter the “information age” of movies, music, and games all more frequently being distributed digitally, piracy could potentially have devastating effects on the economy.

  • Does anyone else get the feeling this was Nintendo of America and not NCL? Apparently, this update also takes care of online cheaters in The Conduit. It might have been easier for NOA to develop the update rather than NCL. Just a thought.

    • daizyujin

      That is doubtful. These are major changes to the entire firmware. There have never been changes this large. It is rather funny it is 4.2 rather than 5.0 but I guess they can’t call it a 5.0 if there are no new features that the end consumer sees.

      Regardless, whoever is to blame, this was obviously not tested well enough. It is bad enough when this happens and a company is adding features to a product. This was just a CYA and it blew up in their faces. Rather humorous considering it is likely to cost them more than they ever would have “saved” by stopping pirates (not that you actually save or make anything by “stopping” pirates, but that is another topic all together.)

      I just find it ridiculous they even bothered. Considering it will have a work around in a week or two most likely, it seems like a lot of time and money wasted. The entire Wii system is just built around poor security like the DS, this is a loosing battle for them. It will be interesting to see what they do with the WiiHD. Hopefully they learned their lesson, don’t base your entire system off outdated technology that the entire hacking community understands.

      • I think what they’re trying to protect, more than anything, are WiiWare developers. There are going to be a lot of high-profile WiiWare games coming out over the next few months and piracy is a growing concern on that front. That’s the only reason I can think of that they’d do something this radical.

        • daizyujin

          Considering there are already methods for modded wii console 4.1 users to get on the shop channel and download these games, they can still be wadded, so whatever the reason, it has likely already failed.

          • Oh, there’s no way they’ll ever beat the homebrew crowd. But they can’t exactly just sit on their asses and do nothing. Makes them look bad in the eyes of developers, you know?

          • daizyujin

            Yeah, I see that point. BTW, just got confirmation, HBC updated to the latest version will not be deleted now. BannerBomb v2 has been released allowing HBC to be put on a 4.2 Wii. Waninkoko has made a new updater for people with hacked IOS systems. This has been totally defeated in two days.

          • Yeahp. Agreed on all points here. Sad that the old boring saying holds so true in the case of video games and piracy. A few (I use the term few loosley here) bad apples spoils the bunch.

  • daizyujin

    Just played Russian Roulette with my Wii. Updated fine and HBC is alive and kicking. Funny how the new version of HBC actually has new features for the end user and this firmware did not.

  • ElTopo

    My wii is unplugged on a shelf, collecting dust. Sad really.

  • Too many replies so I’ll start a new one. I agree with a lot being said here. I’m very similar to Aoshi00 as I always import way too much stuff. SOMETIMES, I have been known to open a game, rip it, and then play my copy instead of my regular disc. This is considered “piracy” to some? Oddly. Anyway, I hacked my PSP so that I could rip my Saturn games and convert them to the PSP as well as some of my PSX games (of which I all PHYSICALLY OWN), yet get screwed constantly when they update the firmware. It’s to the point where I haven’t touched my PSP in months due to being lazy about backdoors. The same goes for the Wii. I’d like homebrew for the system but I’m worried about putting it on for these reasons. Hell, my friends have a modded Xbox that acts as a home entertainment center yet everything attached is completely legal and owned. What is wrong with this?! I can buy an arcade stick and mod it to however I deem appropriate and all it should do is void warranty – not have someone come over and tell me it’s illegal to change MY property and replace it to it’s original look. The same should go for systems…

    I think I make no sense, but you folks get me, right? =P

    • I get you, Qoo.
      In regards to what I replied to Aoshi00, I just think there’s a lack of communication between pretty much everyone involved. Understanding, trust, compromises, leeway, middle-grounds, it all needs to be worked on.

      And, I completely see your point on owning the actual product, but not having them compatible just because they’re from different regions. Some cases I can understand like servers, but everything else – nu uh. That just needs to go away. I think it will eventually, but the matter is so complicating to untangle it’ll be a while.

      • It is very complicated as the whole subject is very “Grey.” I have at LEAST two of almost ever system back to the Famicom/Sega Mark III for NA and JP regions. Even my 360 has a twin. I, for obvious reasons, did not do this for the PS3 and have fought the urge to get a black Wii for imports. This just seals the deal for probably not importing a Wii.

        My main concern has spawned lately with Mushihimesama Futari. I always heard that companies region locked for actual, law restricting, understandable reasons. Obviously, large companies (ex. S-E, Capcom) would region lock because Company of NA and Company of JP do not want to aggravate eachother. Smaller companies, however, seem to have just region locked for no good reason? At least that’s what I’m gathering from CAVE. “Let’s lock it, because we don’t think it’ll sell overseas,” is the dumbest reason I’ve ever heard and can’t be true. Please, someone, tell me there has been more to this over the years and some sort of ban is being lifted?

        • Aoshi00

          I feel completely the same, MS left it up to the individual developer whether to region lock or not, 95% of the US games aren’t while 100% of the Jpn games are, at least until Mushihime-sama comes along. It just feels so arbitrary like you said “we lock it because we just feel like it”, BS.. well, guess I’m thankful to Cave, since my system just crapped out, and if MS isn’t returning a Jpn system to me, I can still play it on my other 360. It would be no death smiles for a while (and I haven’t even tried my full voice dlc card yet!)

          @matty — sure man, I’ll let you know how it turns out. If MS doesn’t give me back a Jpn system, I guess it would be importing a HDMI Natal 250Gb dammit. And now I have Magna Carta 2 waiting…

          • CleruTesh

            My understanding is that the reason the 360 has succeeded in spite of a lack of reliable hardware, is due to a highly responsive customer service in regards to failure situations. Have you talked to any persons on the telephone, and addressed to them your specific concerns regarding the region of your console? I’m just saying, it couldn’t hurt…

          • Aoshi00

            Yeah, I actually called them up before sending it back since I wasn’t even sure if they would take back a Japanese system (thought I was doomed), but the online form takes the serial number fine. Their service reps are actually very helpful.

            But the rep said it’s up to the repair center’s discretion and there’s no guarantee I would get a Jpn replacement if it’s not available since they usually just send you another refurbished one for fast turnaround in matter of days. I put in a specific request asking them to attempt “fixing” my actual system first and if it’s not repairable, hopefully they would send me a Jpn system. I’m counting on the worst case scenario if they send me back a US one, I would just sell it to Gamestop for $70, and maybe import a HDMI 250gb Natal bundle later.. my Jpn 360 was the original Core system w/ only component connection. I guess 2 yrs and 9 months is considered good, lol.. damn the faulty hardware..

    • daizyujin

      You make perfect sense. Unfortunately some people will always equate using your property in the way you want to as wrong if the company that made it throws a hissy fit about it. The fact is you own the damn box, if you want to open it up and put a toaster in it, that is your right.

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