How Do I Reboot a Wii?
By Grahame Turner
Updated September 22, 2017
Occasionally, the Nintendo Wii console will freeze or have some kind of glitch that requires rebooting the machine. While frustrating, it doesn't necessarily mean the end of your game or your console. In these situations, a quick troubleshooting session can fix most of the problems and get you back into the game.
Basic Rebooting and Troubleshooting
Freezes and crashes on a Nintendo Wii are rare and usually a fluke caused by some chance error in the code. If the screen stops moving altogether or goes entirely black, you may have accidentally crashed the Wii. Some games use freezes and bladkouts in storytelling, so there is a chance it's supposed to freeze or crash at that point--but these are usually indicated by having some motion on-screen.
First, check all of the buttons on the controller to determine if pressing any of them or shaking the remote or nunchuk attachment cause any movement on the system at all. If so, the freeze may be part of the game, so be patient while it plays this moment out. If the screen doesn't change for a few minutes, try pressing the power button on the front of the Wii console. Pressing the console's power button should quickly reboot it, but if the console doesn't power down, press and hold one of the power buttons until it does. If this still doesn't work, try unplugging the console from the power. Wait about five minutes before plugging it back in, and try again. You will lose any unsaved progress in the game, but it should now run.
When you return to the point at which the game froze, try to approach it differently--make a change to your character, acquire some new items and try to pass through the point at a slightly different angle--these measures may help prevent the game from freezing again. If it does freeze again, examine your game disc for scratches.
On rare occasions, you may need to restore the system to its factory settings. This means it will erase anything on the hard drive and clear all of your settings. If your system is being particularly problematic, this might be necessary. This is a last resort, as you will lose all saved game files you have not backed up to an SD card.
Open the Wii System Memory, then locate the Restore option. Choose "Yes," and leave the system for a few minutes to blank out the memory. This should fix any rebooting problems but will also erase anything saved on the hard drive. While you can re-download any WiiWare or Virtual Console content, you will lose any save files which you haven't copied to an SD card. You will also lose the Internet settings you have selected and any other options saved in Settings.
If none of the measures above helps fix the Wii, you should contact Nintendo. If you have purchased the system recently, the sooner you do this, the better. If you are still covered by a warranty, Nintendo may repair the system for free--otherwise, you will be charged for the repair.
Grahame Turner has worked as a freelance writer since 2009 and a freelance reporter since 2010 for Wellesley Patch and Jamaica Plain Patch in Massachusetts. He also works part-time as a bookseller at the Northeastern University bookstore. He is a Northeastern University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English.