If you read the guide you linked several times as instructed to in the guide, you'd not be asking this. I answered a similar post here just a bit ago and it would apply to you as well.
I'm brand new here and just read through the "thinking phase" thread. I plan to read (thoroughly, several times) the softmod any wii thread.
I have a GCN-compatible white Wii I bought used. Currently, it's running 3.3U. Question 1 - Are there any recommendations as to whether or not I should update the System Menu (obviously PRIOR to proceeding with any softmods)? Is one softmod process (and thus system menu version) more effective/quicker/easier/higher success rate? Any pros/cons to having 3.3U vs something newer for post-softmod? (I know not to update after softmod).
If I SHOULD update, Question 1a - it is possible to choose an update version, or is it "4.3 or nothing"?
If it matters, I plan to use the Homebrew Channel almost exclusively for emulation of older 8-bit and 16-bit games I already own, and maybe to play DVD movies here and there. Any actual Wii games I'll play will be basic old ones - i.e. none that should ask me to update.
Question 2 - Also, just out of curiosity, after reading through everything and becoming familiar with the instructions, how long should I expect it to take to see the softmod process all the way through?
Question 3 - Is my plan to follow the softmod any wii instructions a good one? I've seen a lot of sites, forums, videos, etc out there with all sorts of different instructions.
The only difference in menu level from the Softmod Any Wii Guide's point of view is which exploit do you use to start the process. Once it has been started, it pretty much is the same process at that point. We would recommend that you don't update your system first and use the bannerbomb method shown in chapter 1 part 1 for the 3.3 systems. When you get to Chapter 2, you will want to perform the menu 4.1 install to get your menu updated to what we recommend so you can use higher capacity cards than 2 gig, etc.
If you did choose to update first, you are stuck with updating to 4.3. If you update through Nintendo Update over the Internet, you have to go to 4.3. If you know a disk happens to have 4.2 instead, then installing based on disk will get you to that level. But we would suggest you don't do that.
2) The first time will be your slowest. As you get better at it, the process goes faster. It will take you about 30-45 min to go through chapter 1 since it includes collecting a NAND backup which will take up most of that time. The rest of the time is how fast you can download files, install them to SD card, and follow directions. I can go through this step in about 5 min since I've done it so many times. It may take you 15-30 min your first time through.
3) Using Softmod Any Wii is what we would recommend, so yes. That's a good plan. We find most sites, especially failtube videos will post it and leave it alone left to become filled with obsolete information. Ours has expanded and evolved over the years so it is still the best guide that we know of.