Bummed because you've got a new Wii and the Twilight Princess hack won't work on it? Have an older Wii but you don't want to buy Twilight Princess just to install Homebrew? Try the free and easy bannerbomb exploit.
Last year we showed you how to use the Twilight Princess hack to install the Homebrew Channel and various goodies like DVD playback. The bannerbomb exploit is the newest way to install the Homebrew Channel and works on the newest systems, unlike Twilight Princess—which has been a defunct hack since menu 4.0 was introduced.
How does it work? The hack exploits the Wii menu itself, loading a fake banner which causes a system crash and allows the exploit to load unsigned code. During our field testing it took—not counting time to carefully read the instructions and take photographs—less than ten minutes to complete the process.
For this hack you'll need a Wii, an SD card formatted to FAT, and a copy of the bannerbomb file (I've linked to the banner bomb exploit file that works for the most number of Wii units right out of the gate; if it doesn't work for you, visit the main page and try some of the other versions), and the HackMii installer. The following instructions are an expanded photo-pictorial version of the instructions found on the bannerbomb exploit author's site.
You'll need to copy the files from your computer to the SD card. If you're using an SD card you already use for the Wii, you'll need to rename the "private" directory to "privateold" for the duration of the hack.
First, unzip the contents of the banner bomb exploit onto the card. This should create a "private" directory with the contents of the zip file.
Next, copy the installer.elf file from the HackMii installer onto the root of the SD card and rename it to boot.elf—as seen above.
Once you have the files on the SD card, it's time to toss it in the Wii and boot up.
Here we are at the initial main menu of the Wii. Nothing special to see here except for the fact that it's been over a week since we've hopped on the Wii Fit.
Click on the circular Wii icon in the lower left corner. DO NOT click on the SD card icon if you've got a newer or updated Wii with the 4.0 menu. You won't hurt your Wii, but the exploit won't work.
Once you've clicked on the Wii icon, you'll be in the sub-menu seen on the left. Click on Data Management to access the next menu.
Click on Channels to get to the SD card. You won't be able to access it via the Save Data tab.
Click on the SD card tab to load the exploit.
The Wii will ask you "Load boot.dol/elf?", click Yes.
Not turning your Wii-hacking skills into a profit engine for global domination is a very altruistic thing to do. Take a moment to be thankful for all the awesome people in the world that create and distribute the free and open-source software that makes our lives better. Press 1 to continue loading the exploit.
At this point the exploit has been executed and the HackMii installer is the temporary operating system—think LiveCD—of the Wii. From this menu you can select whether or not you want to install The Homebrew Channel, DVDx, and/or BootMii—BootMii is a more advanced tool which you may or may not care to load, it's essentially a boot loader for the Wii that provides a more extensive "takeover" of the Wii than The Homebrew Channel. You can read more about it here and here, if you're curious.
On this menu you install or uninstall the respective tools. If this is your first time running the HackMii Installer you won't see the Uninstall option under any of the entries. During testing we forgot to photograph this screen and hopped back into the installer to snap it.
Install The Homebrew Channel? Yes, Ma'am.
After you agree to install the The Homebrew Channel it usually installs in a matter of seconds. Far faster than we were able to raise the camera to snap a picture. You'll see the SUCCESS in cash-money-green when it is done installing. You can repeat the installation process for DVDx and BootMii if you desire.
After The HomeBrew Channel finishes installing you'll be take to the channel itself. The Homebrew Channel runs applications out of the /YourSDCard/Apps/ folder. During this screenshot our SD card was empty, thus the expansive bubbly-goodness of the default Homebreww screen. As you add applications they will appear here.
Now we're back to the main menu. 12:46pm to 1:15pm and we're done! Under 30 minutes, including stopping to take pictures.
Wondering what you can do with it once you have the Homebrew Channel installed? Well, for example, you can backup your Wii games to a hard drive for safe keeping and faster load times, play old-school games in emulation, and play DVD-backups without a modchip.
Have a favourite homebrew application for the Wii? We'd love to hear about it in the comments.