FAT/NTFS support FAQ
The FAT and NTFS support has raised a lot of repeated questions, so here's a FAQ about that:
Q: Can it play .iso files directly?
FAT: Yes but only .iso files which are smaller than 4GB such as forwarder .iso files or .iso files compacted with WiiScrubber. To solve the 4GB problem, convert the .iso to .wbfs format using the wbfs_file utility.
Q: Isn't FAT limited to 4GB file size but a game iso is larger than 4GB?
A: Yes, that's why the .wbfs files are scrubbed to save space and if it is still larger than 4GB it is split to 4GB chunks. Split files are named gameid.wbfs, gameid.wbf1, gameid.wbf2,... similar to how the a .rar archive can be split to multiple files (.rar, .r01, .r02,...)
Q: What about the file size, games on WBFS partition are scrubbed / compressed, will it take more space on a FAT/NTFS partition?
A: No, it will take the same space because the files are not in .iso format but instead .wbfs format, which uses the same scrubbing / compression method as on a WBFS partition, actually the file format is the same as the format of the WBFS partition. And to be even more accurate, the .wbfs files will take even less space, because the wbfs block size will be smaller too. (The size depends also on the selection which partitions are copied - all or only game)
Q: I have copied the .iso/.wbfs files to my usb drive but the loader doesn't see them?
A: The files have to be copied to the \wbfs folder on the FAT/NTFS partition.
These filename layouts are supported:
Same for .iso:
Q: Can I extract all the games from a WBFS partition to .wbfs files?
A: Yes, use this command:
wbfs_file.exe W: extract_wbfs_all D:\wbfs
Where W: is your WBFS partition and D:\wbfs is the FAT partition on USB (or on local hard-disk)
Q: How to convert all the .iso files to .wbfs files in one step?
A: Open up CMD where your iso files are and run:
for %i in (*.iso) do wbfs_file.exe "%i"
If you write that in a .bat batch file then you have to use %%i instead of %, like this:
for %%i in (*.iso) do wbfs_file.exe "%%i"
Q: How long does it take to convert one game to .wbfs?
A: Depends on hard drive speed and (scrubbed) game size. It should take the same time as copying a file. That means a couple of seconds for a game like WiiPlay which uses only about 100MB and a couple of minutes for games that take up 4GB...
Q: Are there any GUI wbfs managers that support .iso/.wbfs files on a FAT/NTFS partition?
by pccfatman: Wii Game Manager - A GUI for wbfs_file.exe
by fig2k4: Wii Backup Manager
Q: Does running games from a FAT formatted SD / SDHC card work?
A: Yes, but only from SD cards, SDHC compatibility is still an issue.
Q: What is the recommended cluster size when formatting FAT?
A: It's not important - any size should work fine. But 32kb is a good choice as that size is aligned to wii disc sector size.
Q: Is it possible to install a game from a dvd disc to a FAT partition in .wbfs format?
A: Yes. Just press button + to install the game as usual.
Q: Is there any advantage using FAT/NTFS rather than a WBFS partition?
A: Depends on personal preference. These are some of the poins:
- no need to repartition in case the disk is already used for other stuff
- the game files can be copied using normal file managers
- the partition space can be shared for other purposes
- better choice of file-system recovery / de-fragmentation tools
- only cIOS 222/223 v4 can be used. FAT/NTFS using cIOS 249 is not supported.
- limited choice of loaders: only CFG and GX support FAT/NTFS at the moment.
- install game on NTFS is disabled at the moment because of libntfs write instabilities (install on FAT works fine)
- loading speed should be approximately the same compared to WBFS