Wii System Menu

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The Wii System Menu (also called Wii Menu or System Menu) is the primary graphical interface of the Wii console. It provides access to all of the Wii's main system functions on retail units, including launching titles from a disc, launching channels on the Wii's NAND, save data and title management, adjusting system settings, and the Wii Message Board. On development systems, the Devkit Boot Program is preinstalled instead of the Wii Menu (but the retail menu can still be installed using a Wii Menu Changer disc).

There are five different regional versions of the Wii Menu, indicated by the letter after the version number displayed in the system settings:

America (U) Europe (E)
Used on American, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian Wii consoles. Used on European, Australian, Indian, and African Wii consoles.
Japan (J) Korea (K)
Used on Japanese and non-mainland Chinese (HK/TW) Wii consoles. Used on Korean Wii consoles. It is unknown if this applies to the entirety of Chosun[1].
China (C)
Was meant to be used on Mainland Chinese Wii consoles released by iQue, but was never released or used publicly. Fan-made menus with a x.xC version number exist and have been distributed on Chinese websites, but these are not official. A C region menu was obtained in the Zammis Clark Breach.

Unused Content

Channel time limits

An unused feature exists in the System Menu to set limits on the duration for which a channel can be used; this was seemingly intended for special subscription, rental, and demo titles as per the ES and Wii Shop Channel code which supports it, but was never used for unknown reasons.

It can be activated by setting byte 0x268 of a title's ticket to 0x01. The time limit is read from the following 4 bytes.

If activated, the System Menu will display the remaining time at the bottom of the channel's banner. If the time limit is over, you will automatically return to the System Menu, but instead of the usual animation for returning, you will face a black screen saying the time limit for this channel is over. After this, when viewing the channel's banner, the "Start" button will be greyed out and there will be a message saying the license for this channel expired.

The system saves the time that was spent in the channel (although it's unknown where it does), rendering uninstalling and reinstalling it useless. In fact, IOS will prevent installing a title where the license is already expired. The only way to be able to install the title again would be increasing or disabling the time limit.

The System Menu displays the remaining time the user can spend using this channel.[Wii Menu 1]
If the remaining time is less than a minute, this text will be used.[Wii Menu 1]
The System Menu displays the text saying that the period of use for this channel has ended.[Wii Menu 1]

DVD icon in Disc Channel banner

The banner of the Disc Channel has a DVD graphic and a matching shadow and reflection, but they are set to be invisible. It is located on the left of the Wii Disc, partly off screen; it is likely that originally the DVD was intended to be smaller than the other discs and positioned above or below them.

If made visible, one can see that the only animation that appears to be assigned to the disc is the spin animation that plays after clicking on the channel icon.

See Wii DVD Support for more information.

Rip of the DVD graphic.[2]
The DVD graphic, its shadow and its reflection made visible.[Wii Menu 1]

Revision History

Image of the unknown beta menu, distinguished from 1.0 by the lack of a disc icon peeking out from the Disc Channel[3]
  • Wii Startup Disc menu (also known as "Prelaunch System Menu", barebones stub to load the Wii Startup Disc and install 1.0)
  • Unknown Beta (several variants exist, mostly seen in pre-release screenshots and footage)
  • 1.0 RC1 (obtained in Zammis Clark Breach)
  • 1.0 (basic menu missing features such as SD card support and online functionality)
  • 2.0 (added features including SD Card support as well as "lump" on channel list)
  • 2.1
  • 3.0 (notably added a clock to the channel list)
  • 3.1
  • 3.2 (last version to use a Trucha Bug-vulnerable IOS, making it highly desirable for hacking purposes for a period of time)
  • 3.3 (first version to use patched IOS)
  • 3.4
  • 4.3 (final released version, patches Bannerbomb v2)

1.0 RC1

WiiSysMenu 1.0RC1.png

On October 17, 2020, a prerelease version of the retail menu (seemingly US version) was found in the Zammis Clark Breach data. The filename of the disc image which includes it indicates that this is likely "1.0 RC1" or "1.0 RC1.1", although the title version number (v33) is the same as final 1.0. This menu was built on Sep 24, 2006; roughly 2 weeks before the final version.

Differences include:

  • By default, the menu will boot to a black screen and only respond if a disc is inserted. To access the actual menu, Z must be held in GameCube port 4 at boot.
  • There is a timestamp on the Health & Safety screen.
  • Some minor sound and graphical assets are different.
  • The settings menu is mostly unlocalized, although the localized settings data is present in the files but unused.
  • Many text strings are unlocalized or unfinalized.
  • Error screens are rough and unfinished.
  • Empty channel slots can be highlighted with the cursor.
  • Entering the Data Management menu for Wii save data causes a crash; the reason for this is currently unknown.
  • Some animation oddities are present, such as the menu briefly showing the Message Board when entering Wii Options.
  • The button to launch on the Disc Channel is not greyed out when a disc is not inserted (pressing it just gives an error sound).
  • Onscreen debug output is present in some setting menus.

Regional Differences

GameCube compatibility

While all regional versions of the RVL-001 model support GameCube discs, controllers and Memory Cards hardware wise, the Korean System Menu does not. The GameCube references are also absent in the Wii Mini and VWii versions of the menu, but are still present on RVL-101 consoles (since they use the same software as RVL-001 consoles).

Japan, America and Europe Korea

Language and country settings

As per Nintendo's standard practice prior to their removal of region locks for the Switch, the Wii's language/country settings are completely segregated by the regional version of the installed menu. Japanese and Korean Wii Menus are locked to a single country and language so completely omit these settings, whereas American and European Wii Menus offer several choices.

America and Europe Japan and Korea
Wii settings page 3 japan.png

Wi-Fi Simple Start

The Japanese version of the System Menu has a Simple Start option in the connection setup menu, allowing the Wii to connect to a Simple Start compatible router. Since such routers are exclusive to Japan, the button got removed in the other regional System Menu versions.

Japan All other versions
This screen is shown when clicking on the Simple Start button.[Wii Menu 3]
The Taiwanese version of the Wii doesn't have Simple Start

Health and Safety screen

In the American version of the System Menu, the Health and Safety screen is entirely black and white. In all other versions the attention icon is colored yellow, and the URL is colored blue. Additionally, the URL differs between regions.

Japan America
Wii health and safety japan.png
Europe Korea

Sources

Wii Menu versions

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Wii Menu 4.3E on Dolphin
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wii Menu 4.3K on Dolphin
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Wii Menu 4.3J on Dolphin
  4. Wii Menu 4.3U on Dolphin