Wii Startup Discs

The Wii Startup Discs (all known discs have GameID 'RAAE01') are a series of discs which were used to set up various special-purpose Wii systems for initial use. The Startup Disc was originally created to set up first-run Wii systems which were manufactured before Wii System Menu 1.0 was ready, then repurposed for Starlight Fun Center systems, iQue and Nintendo of Korea localization use, and possibly other use cases.

Wii Startup Discs
Startupdisc002.png
An image of what the (original) Startup Disc might have looked like, ripped from the installer program.
Disc Internal NameWii Startup Disc
Disc IDRAAE01
Disc IOSIOS9
Disc Release DateOriginal: October-November 2006

v1: Unknown

Starlight: Unknown

Ver.0501: 2009.05.07

Ver.0508 for NoK: 2009.05.08

Ver.0508 for iQue: 2009.05.11
Disc Build DateOctober 7, 2006 (main binary SDK build date)
Disc ApploaderOctober 7, 2006

At least 11 different Startup Discs are known to exist, of which 2 have had their disc images released in the Zammis Clark Breach (the original, and an iQue Startup Disc).

Startup Discs consist of an installer program (near-identical between the two dumped discs) which will, when launched, attempt to install all of the WADs present on the disc. The installer program runs automatically without accepting any controller input, and was also compiled in System Menu form as "System Menu 0" distributed on first-run Wiis which prompted for the disc on boot.

Origin & Distribution

Original Startup Disc

Nintendo has not officially released any information about any of the Wii Startup Discs, but it is believed that it was initially created due to Wii production (which started around July 2006) outpacing the development of the Wii Menu and preinstalled channels. As such, in August 2006 (according to build dates) Nintendo quickly built a barebones System Menu to launch this disc, then preinstalled it on the initial batch of Wiis produced (the exact number is unknown). These Wiis were primarily used for store demo kiosks, although some were also released to consumers along with later-run launch day units which already had the software preinstalled.

How the disc itself was distributed remains unclear; there is conflicting information ranging from the disc being included with Wii kiosk packages for stores, the disc being held only by Nintendo representatives who would personally visit stores to install the disc, and the disc being distributed in the box of some regular retail Wii consoles on launch day. As such, it is unknown how many (if any) of the physical Startup Discs were released outside of Nintendo, and not even a picture of one has surfaced 14 years later.

Some launch-day Wiis asked for the disc but did not include it, while others (allegedly) included the disc in the packaging. Since the disc was mentioned in the list of contents on some early Wii boxes (in place of 'Wii Sports Disc') and was also mentioned in an early version of the "Wii Terminology" document for publishers (although was silently removed shortly thereafter), it is likely that the disc was either sent out to consumers or plans to do so were cancelled at the last minute.

v1

An internal Wii release spreadsheet found on the CIS-004 hard drive dump lists both the original Startup Disc (v0) and an unknown v1 released around the same time.

Starlight

A Startup Disc was used as part of the initial setup of Starlight Fun Center units.

iQue/NoK/Mario Club

Several Startup Discs were made by Nintendo and released to localization departments at iQue and Nintendo of Korea to prepare RVT-R Reader development kits by installing the retail system menu and channels of their respective region.

At least 8 such disc images are known to exist, with the existence of more being implied. Each release of the Startup Disc for iQue/NoK includes an iQue image, a NoK image, and respective versions of each for Mario Club (Nintendo's internal debug team), with the only difference between Mario Club and non-Mario Club images apparently being the TMD version number of the System Menu WAD.

Installer Program

The installer program included on the disc (with a very similar program also being included on early Wii consoles in place of the System Menu, officially referred to as "System Menu 0") is a simple program which exists only to install the WAD files present on the Startup Disc.

It has the following possible states:

  • Waiting for Startup Disc (default state in System Menu variant, occurs after disc eject in disc variant, "Please insert the Wii Startup Disc")
  • Checking disc (occurs after a disc has been inserted)
  • Installing (default state in disc variant, occurs while the disc is installing WADs, "Installing. Do not touch the Wii console.")
  • Disc removal prompt (occurs once the disc is finished installing, "Please remove the Wii Startup Disc. The system will then perform Wii console configuration.")
  • Already installed (occurs when the disc is ran a second time, never normally appears, "Wii Startup installation has already been completed.")
  • Incorrect disc (occurs when a disc with a GameID other than RAAE has been inserted, "An incorrect disc has been inserted. Please remove the disc from the Wii console.")
  • Fatal error (occurs when a DVD library fatal error occurs or some other critical problem prevents the program from continuing, "An error has occurred. Turn the power off and refer to the Instruction Booklet for more information.")

There are also a few unusual behaviors; on the NAND variant of the Startup Disc application, if a disc with a GameID starting with 0 is inserted (which normally causes the Wii Menu to autoboot it), it will be accepted as if it was a RAAE disc.

The NAND variant is also normally only supposed to launch the inserted disc, but if a disc is inserted with only an update partition and no game partition, its contents will be installed while the "Checking disc" screen loops, then the system will automatically reboot. This might be a development leftover, but it could also indicate that originally the Startup Disc was going to have no content at all other than its WADs; this might have been changed so that the disc could be reused.

The installer program uses sound effects from the regular Wii Menu, as well as an additional "error" sound effect which has not been found in any other application.

The installer program has a second "simple.brlyt" layout file in addition to the regular one used for the graphics, which appears to include a version number textbox as well as frame positioning graphics; this file has not been found in any leaked SDKs and it is unknown if it was included accidentally or if it had a purpose at some point in development.

The disc version of the program links the WPAD library and the NAND version links the PAD library, even though no controller input is used.