The WBFS is a file system designed for modified Wii consoles. More precisely, it is the file system with which, until a few years ago, all USB sticks and hard disks used to load games on Nintendo home consoles were formatted.
Now, thanks to the now advanced age of the first Wii and the evolution of the homebrew world, it has fallen into disuse enough. The classic FAT32 file system is preferred, which makes the units usable not only on the Japanese console but also on PCs, tablets and other devices. Either way, know how to format WBFS It may still have its uses.
That's the reason why today I want to focus on this topic and introduce you to free applications that allow you to format drives in WBFS, manage backups of Wii games and much more, both on Windows and macOS. All you have to do is follow the directions I am about to give you and I assure you that you will easily reach your goal. Happy reading and have fun!
Format WBFS from PC
If you want format in WBFS a disk or USB stick and use the operating system Windows, I advise you to use the software Wii Backup Manager, which does not require any type of installation in order to function. To download it to your PC, all you have to do is connect to its official website and click on the first link on the page (eg. Wii Backup Manager Build 78).
Next, click on the entry Download (in the center of the page), wait for the countdown to finish and click on the button Skip which appears at the top right.
When the download is complete, open the Wii Backup Manager zip package (eg. WiiBackupManager_Build78.zip) and extract its contents to any folder. Then insert the USB key or hard disk from format in WBFS and launch the executable WiiBackupManager_Win64.exe. If an error message appears it means you are using a 32-bit system, so run the executable WiiBackupManager_Win32.exe instead of the 64-bit one.
Nella finestra che si apre, click on your button Yes. Then, to format your USB key or hard disk with the WBFS file system, go to the menu Tools Wii Backup Manager and select the item Format drives. Then select the volume to be formatted via the drop-down menu Drive, scegli l'opzione WBFS from the menu File System e pulsing sul pulsating Start to start formatting.
Warning! Formatting a drive in WBFS completely erases its contents, so make sure there are no important files on the drive before proceeding.
Also, make sure you choose the right drive letter from the drop-down menu Drive by Wii Backup Manager. You can check the drive letter of the key or hard disk to be formatted by opening theFile Explorer Windows and selecting the item Computer / This PC from the side bar of the sinistra.
After preparing the drive to accept files for the Wii, you can transfer software and games to it using the Wii Backup Manager again. All you have to do is go to the tab Files application, select the item Files from the menu Add and select the game or software files to copy to the volume.
At the end of the import, put the check mark next to the names of the files to be transferred on the key or hard disk you have just formatted and select the item Transfer > [nome drive] from the menu at the top.
That's all! Now you know how to format a drive in WBFS and how to store Wii software and games on it. It is a very simple operation but, as mentioned above, it can also be done by formatting the drives in FAT32.
You can perform the FAT32 format of a volume using Wii Backup Manager (following the procedure above and selecting FAT32 rather than WBFS in the drop-down menu File System) or in Windows by right-clicking on the drive icon in My Computer and selecting the item Format from the menu that opens. If you need some more information about it, read my tutorial on how to format in FAT32.
Format WBFS from Mac
I use a Poppy? No problem: you can format keys and hard drives in WBFS using a special free software: its name is Witgui and it is a game manager for Wii and GameCube based on two other free software, white e wwt.
To download Witgui on your computer, connect to its official website and click on the link Download your own Witgui [versione] now (macOS Lion or newer) located in the middle of the page. Then click on the link Download Witgui [version] (macOS Lion or newer), put the check mark next to the box I'm not a robot, solve the captcha that is proposed to you (you may have to select the photos that portray a certain subject) and press the button Download to start the software download.
When the download is complete, open thezip archive ottenuto, copy Witgui in the folder Applications macOS and start the program by right clicking on its icon and selecting the item apri for two consecutive times (this operation is only necessary at the first start and is used to bypass the macOS restrictions on applications from non-certified developers).
At this point, answer OK to the notice that appeared on the screen and proceed with the download of white e wwt: the two free software that Witgui relies on to work. To do this, go to the menu Fillet which is at the top left and first select the item Download wit and then that Download wwt. Answer then ignore notice that appears on the screen.
Once this is done, you are ready to take action: first, insert the key or hard disk you want to format in WBFS into your computer and grant Witgui permission to access it. To do this, open the terminal macOS (you can find it in the Other on the Launchpad or by searching with Spotlight) and give the command disktil list.
You will be shown a list of all the drives present or connected to the Mac: write down the name of the one related to the key or hard disk you want to format in WBFS (eg. /dev/disk3). Then give the command sudo chmod 666 /dev/disk3 replacing a /dev/disk3 the name of the drive to format and then typing the Mac administration password (the one you use to access the system).
At this point, go back to Witgui and select the item Format as WBFS from the menu Fillet application (top left). In the window that opens, select the drive of the key or hard disk to be formatted from the appropriate drop-down menu and first click on the button Format and then OK.
When the operation is completed, a Witgui window should open through which you should be able to browse the contents of the formatted drive. If an error message appears, activate the mode /disk for accessing WBFS drives, which makes Witgui slightly slower but able to function properly with all WBFS formatted drives and drives.
To activate the / disk mode in Witgui, go to the menu Witgui > Preferences (located at the top left) and put the check mark next to the item Use /disk instead of /rdisk (WBFS transfers may be slower). Now close the preferences window, click on the button WBFS Partition of Witgui, select the key or disk you formatted in WBFS and you should be able to access the contents of the latter without problems.
Please note: the next time you connect your WBFS drive to your Mac, you will see a warning that the device is unreadable. Reply Ignore and access the contents of the unit using Witgui, as I just explained to you (you will also have to repeat the procedure from Terminal, to access the unit).
As widely mentioned above, you can format the sticks and discs for use with the Wii even in the classic file system FAT32. To do this, you can use the classic Disk Utility present "standard" in macOS.
Start, therefore, Disk Utility recalling the application from the folder Other . Launchpad or with a search in Spotlight, select thedrive to format from the left sidebar and click on the button Initialize placed at the top.
In the window that opens, type the name you want to assign to the unit in the appropriate text field, select the option MS-DOS (FAT) give menu to tendin Format and the option Master Boot Record (MBR) from the menu Scheme. Clicca, quindi, sul pulsating Initialize And that's it.
If any of the steps are not clear to you, you can take a look at my tutorial on how to format in FAT32, where I explained how to format any drive in FAT32 from Windows and macOS.
Salvatore Aranzulla is the most widely read blogger and IT popularizer in Italy. Known for discovering vulnerabilities on Google and Microsoft sites. He collaborates with computer magazines and edited the technological column of the newspaper Il Messaggero. He is the founder of Aranzulla.it, one of the thirty most visited sites in Italy, in which he easily answers thousands of computer-related doubts. He has published for Mondadori and Mondadori Informatica.