USB loaders are the second iteration of backup loaders, mostly replacing the older disc based backup loaders.
The newer USB loaders have many advantages:
Near perfect compatibility with Wii games
More updates (newer features, improved compatibility etc)
Faster loading speeds (loads game MUCH faster than even original Wii discs, and definitely faster than the even slower Disc backup launchers)
Nice interface for selecting games
No disc swapping
Note: Depending on your cIOS version, only one USB port on the Wii may recognize the USB drive (usually the outermost one).
Make sure to try out both ports! This applies to all launchers.
FAQ (read before continuing)
My USB drive is not recognized
Firstly, make sure to try both USB ports. Some cIOSs have problems detecting both USB ports. In general, the outer most USB port will be the working one (but try both anyway).
You may also need to format the drive to a supported format (FAT32, NTFS).
Large drives (>3TB) may give problems. Try partitioning the drive in smaller chunks.
In rare cases, your drive may be simply incompatible.
Will USB 3.0 drives work?
Yes. Note, however, that USB3.0 drives require more power and thus may need an external power supply, or the use of a Y-Cable.
Note that the Wii is capable of USB2.0 only and will read at USB2.0 speeds.
Can I also use SD cards instead of USB?
Yes, all loaders support loading from SD. Just note that SD cards are quite limited in space. Wii games vary from a few hundred MB to over 7GB. They are also much slower than a HDD.
How do I install games to my hard drive?
There are multiple ways to install games to the USB drive.
Firstly, all loaders can rip games directly. The way to do this is different per loader, but usually there is an option in the menu, or a button to press, such as +
There are other Homebrew apps such as Cleanrip that can rip the games to ISO format.
In order to install a game (ISO) from your computer to the drive, use a tool such as Wii Backup Manager
Can I play GameCube games from USB as well?
You can, but you need to install a GameCube loader first. Please see the GameCube section (after you choose your USB loader). After installation, the USB Loaders below will support GameCube games automatically.
How do I download the cover images?
Cover images can be downloaded via the USB loader itself. If you don't have an internet connection on the Wii, you can manually download the covers from GameTDB.com and place them on the SD card or USB device (exact location differs per loader).
Can I load games from other regions (eg. PAL games on NTSC console)?
Yes, all USB loaders are region free. You may need to tweak the settings (such as video mode), though.
What is WBFS?
Wii Backup File System. A special format that was developed to efficiently contain Wii backups.
Initially, this was a full file system, but later on this was replaced by files with .wbfs extension on a normal FAT32 or NTFS partition.
If you still have a WBFS partition, it is recommended to convert it to FAT32.
Please choose one of the loaders provided below.
Which one is best for you depends on your personal preferences.
You can also have more than one loader, if you prefer.