Wii U consoles bricked when powered down mid-update

If you got your hands on a Wii U and have yet to start its huge day-one system update, heed this tip from your friends at GamesRadar: Once you begin the update, DON'T TURN IT OFF! We love you, and we don't want your expensive new hardware to become a shiny plastic door stop.

Several users have reported their consoles were rendered inoperable after power interruptions during the 5 gigabyte install which can take several hours to complete, according to Ars Technica. Some have even tried to reset the console, thinking it froze mid-installation. Consoles tend to warn users off from that kind of behavior, but it's tough to blame people getting worried after an hour of minimal progress.

Of course, the patch is important--it adds functionality for Miiverse, the eShop, and some backwards compatibility. Just give it time, and maybe hold off if any huge winter storms are about to sweep through the area. Be careful about losing internet connectivity, too.

Fortunately, Nintendo's 12-month warranty should cover those with bricked consoles as a result of the update.


  • db1331 - November 19, 2012 11:12 a.m.

    While it is BS that a 5 gig patch is needed just to provide basic functionality, I can't seem to muster up any sympathy for anyone who restarted their console in the middle of an update. You simply don't do that. I've never run an upgrade on any piece of electronics that didn't explicitly tell you not to turn it off before starting the update. Most laptops won't even let you run a BIOS update until you plug in your AC adapter.
  • bass88 - November 19, 2012 11:30 a.m.

    What about a power cut? Has happened to me a few times on the PS3.
  • JimmyP91 - November 19, 2012 11:43 a.m.

    I doubt it since bricking is technically the consumers fault. While it isn't your fault if the power goes out mid update and your console bricks, I doubt companies will offer replacements because then every moron who shuts his console off mid update and bricks his system will just say that his power went out and how do you prove that?
  • bass88 - November 19, 2012 11:59 a.m.

    Shouldn't companies install a failsafe then then? As I mentioned, three times the power cut on me during PS3 updates but upon resetting the PS3 was fine. Surely, Nintendo has implemented something along these lines in case of scenerios like this. They are usually pretty good with customer support.
  • JimmyP91 - November 19, 2012 4:18 p.m.

    The only possible failsafe I can think of would be to install a backup battery powerful enough to power the hard drive long enough so the system can save and cancel the update on it's own if the console loses power. Bricking is such a rare thing though that it wouldn't be cost effective to do that. In fact it probably be more cost effective to just add bricking to the warranty. I agree, Nintendo is one of the best tech companies when it comes to customer support so they'll probably do something to help out those unforunate souls who got bricked.
  • db1331 - November 19, 2012 1:14 p.m.

    Power outages are a different story. I was talking specifically about anyone who restarted their console.
  • larkan - November 19, 2012 11:56 a.m.

    There is supposedly a setting on the Pii-U that shuts it off after a certain amount of inactivity, I wonder if people are running into this as part of the problem?
  • KnowYourPokemon - November 19, 2012 12:06 p.m.

    While updating the WiiU temporarily disables that function.
  • brickman409 - November 19, 2012 8:38 p.m.

    I've heard somewhere that it's not actually 5GB in reality it's 1GB, and the reason most people think it's 5GB is because they calculated that from how long the download was. But the reason the download took so long was from all the day one buyers using the server at the same time.
  • Scuffles - November 19, 2012 11:18 a.m.

    5GB O.o fer srs? I have personally never had a firmware update take more than say 5-10min and during the process it was obvious that it was making progress. If a firmware update was taking hours and didn't show any notable progress I would probably start to flip out. Firmware updating is the most nerve racking of any updating because once you start there is almost never a "going back". I would hope for something like that they would have set it up to fail gracefully. A quick smaller firmware update for the firmware and basic OS and then some larger 'Apps' update that could fail and be recovered from.
  • JimmyP91 - November 19, 2012 11:48 a.m.

    Normally turning off your system during the download process is okay; it's the installing process where you have the biggest chance of bricking your system. However because of how important and crucial this update is to being able to run basic functions on the WiiU I highly recommend DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR SYSTEM MID-UPDATE. If you brick your console you have no one to blame for yourself and I doubt Nintendo (or any console producer) will cover bricked systems since it's the consumers fault (even in the unfortunate event your power goes out midupdate).
  • JimmyP91 - November 19, 2012 11:49 a.m.

    *nobody to blame but yourself... not for yourself
  • ParagonT - November 19, 2012 2:40 p.m.

    Weird that you say that if you brick your console that its your fault while mentioning that even if your power goes out mid-update, it's still your fault. Which in fact it wouldn't be your fault. Last thing Nintendo wants is to make the consumers feel as if they're buying a lottery ticket that they must hope to God that it doesn't brick due to out-sourced problems.
  • JimmyP91 - November 19, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    From a legal stand point it would be your fault. The problem is that if they said they would replace bricked WiiU's caused by power outages, every person who bricked his WiiU would claim that is what happened, even if it is their fault, just to get a free replacement. How do you prove that your console crashed or the power went out mid-update? It's not just the WiiU that runs this problem, every piece of technology can be bricked (your phone, a computer, Xbox, etc). However it is a rare occurrence and the only reason this is coming to light right now is because it seems a lot of people yesterday just shut their system off mid-update because they were impatient and didn't wanna wait. I don't know if you've ever read the warranty issue for a ps3 but on it, it says that your ps3 isn't covered if damaged by acts of god (no joke). This means someone literally tried to at one point to sue Sony because of damages to a Sony to product caused by God. People will try anything to get a free console and because of this, they ruin warranties for people who actually need them.
  • BazyLastard - November 19, 2012 4:35 p.m.

    No offense (honestly), but I'll pass on taken legal advice from someone who acts like they've never heard the term "acts of God" before.
  • BazyLastard - November 19, 2012 4:38 p.m.

    taking, not taken
  • ParagonT - November 19, 2012 6:17 p.m.

    Or it would be the responsibility of Nintendo since the console being debated here is for some reason bricking when there is an interrupted transfer. That's seems more of a development problem of how the data is handled more so than a consumer problem. Besides, what the heck is it doing? Rewriting and writing data as its received? A fail safe is obviously needed, many things could possibly happen to the console in transfer ranging from power outages, internet timeouts, to stalling and freezing (caused by the console itself). I agree that people who power the console off are being stupid, but that's a different story than for those that could have these "acts of God" and machine' as you partially said. Which I did look at the manual and warranty, and in summary says that unless it's due to a design/craftsmanship or manufacturing flaw, that they will not repair it for free (or at all). So this becomes a debate of which this situation is; A craftsmanship flaw or no. Plus as for people claiming that they rendered their console useless, that seems like a pretty stupid thing to do when they do in fact check to see if your console was modded, destroyed by accident and the like. They have ways of checking and do not repair physical damage, such as from electrical damage from power surges.
  • gopher1369 - November 20, 2012 2:08 a.m.

    "From a legal stand point it would be your fault. " Not in the UK at least. In the UK if something goes wrong with a product in the first 6 months it's assumed that the product was faulty at the point of sale and the retailer (not the manufacturer) is obliged to fix it, and if they can't fix, replace.
  • sixo T - November 19, 2012 12:14 p.m.

    Im assuming the bricking has to do somthing with the Anti-pirating software inside. Kinda stupid that nintendo has taken this thing to whole new levels, i mean look at the 3DS and its problem with bricking/antipiracy on day one. It seems that nintendo is trying to combat the inevitable and elusive Pirate.
  • Scuffles - November 19, 2012 12:53 p.m.

    If it does turn out that the bricking is part of a "feature" (tho I doubt it will) I will gladly stock up on popcorn for the class action suit.

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