How to Restore the Homebrew Channel After Updating Wii

Wii upgrades and the Homebrew Channel don't play well together.

homebrew channel screenshot

The Homebrew Channel is a channel for launching fan-developed homebrew applications on the Wii. After the Homebrew Channel is installed, it appears in the Wii System Menu where you can use it to easily install homebrew applications. The Wii is not designed to support homebrew applications. Occasionally, users update their Wii operating systems, not realizing doing so results in the loss of the Homebrew Channel.

How to Prevent Upgrades

An accidental upgrade is most likely to happen if you play a game that includes an update check and you haven't disabled Wii's update checking. When a new Wii update is available from Nintendo, you are notified, but you can refuse the update. If you don't refuse, your Wii upgrades and your Homebrew Channel disappears.

Wii updates 4.2 and 4.3 were both specifically designed to kill homebrew. If you have lost homebrew but can still use your Wii, be happy about that, because sometimes the updates made Wiis unusable.

How to Get the Homebrew Channel Back

You need to know what version of the OS you upgraded to. The latest upgrade version at the time of publication is 4.3. To find out what version of the operating system you have, go into Wii Options, click on Wii Settings and check the number on the upper right corner of that screen. That's the OS version.

Now you reinstall the Homebrew Channel for the appropriate OS. Read the Homebrew Channel installation guide to learn how to determine which homebrew package you need and how to install it to your system. Briefly, for OS 4.3, you:

  1. Go to the Letterbomb webpage.

  2. Input your OS and the Wii's Mac address (available in Wii Options > Wii Settings.)

  3. Download Letterbomb to an SD card and unzip it.

  4. Insert the SD card into the Wii.

  5. Turn on the Wii and when the main menu is up, click the envelope in the circle to go to your message board.

  6. Click on the message that looks like a red envelope with a bomb in it. It'll be dated within that past two days.

  7. Read and follow the onscreen directions precisely to install the Homebrew Channel.

  8. When you get the Homebrew Channel back, make sure to turn off update checks and don't opt to upgrade your Wii again to prevent this from recurring.

How to Uninstall The Homebrew Channel

Remove the Homebrew Channel from your Wii by deleting it with the channel manager in the system software.