According to Wii U Internal Storage Space Information (Nintendo Wii U FAQ):

  • You can store games/content on an external USB HDD. "If you wish to download more content we recommend an external USB storage device with a dedicated power source so that you can expand your storage capabilities for Wii U software."

  • The storage device will be formatted for sole use by the Wii U. "To optimize performance and ensure a consistent experience, all USB storage devices must be formatted and configured on the Wii U console for exclusive use with the console. Once a device has been configured for use with a Wii U console, it cannot be used with another Wii U console, PC, etc., unless it is reformatted."

  • Maximum storage capacity for one device is 2TB. "Following the December [2012] system update the Wii U will be able to recognize a storage device that is over 2TB, but 2TB will still be the maximum amount of storage capacity. Any extra capacity in the storage device beyond the 2TB will not be accessible via the Wii U."

With all of this in mind, is it possible to use a single storage device for both Wii U and non-WU use? For example, by partitioning it and having the Wii U format only one partition. Or does the second point imply that any partitions will be ignored and the entire device taken over in the formatting process? (In which case what happens to the remaining space on a >2TB device?)

  • 5
    It clearly says "sole use". The typical way this is handled is that the rest of the drive is not used. Tampering with the drive afterwards, by adding more partitions, might render the first partition unusable depending on how the unit reads the partition table. Commented Nov 22, 2012 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


According to PsyBlade and KDH in this thread, it's possible. Here's the approximate way of achieving this:

Many drives can be set up to appear shorter (Host Protected Area -- HPA). So, the main idea is the following:

  1. Set HPA on your HDD.
  2. Format the HDD on WiiU.
  3. From your PC, remove HPA, then write a partition table at the end of the drive, in the space that was protected by HPA.
  4. Set your linux kernel to read the partition tables at the end of the drive.
  5. Set HPA each time you're using your drive on WiiU, and remove it each time you're using it on Linux.

The precise explanations are detailed in this post (but the whole thread is informative).

I take no responsability whatsoever for any loss of data consecutive to you trying to follow my explanations. Play safe, backup your data before attempting any partitioning task!

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