Changing a hidden setting on your Wii U can help with the performance of some games on your console – if you play them off an external hard drive at least.
It takes literally seconds to make the change, which involves disabling the 'spindown' function of the HDD. This power-saving measure has been known to cause issues with playing games from external hard drives on the Wii U, with stuttering, slow loading and complete crashes reported by players.
As explained by HUELEN10 on NeoGaf, it's a few simple steps to disable your external hard drive's auto-off/powersaving function.
- Switch on your console. Obviously.
- Head to settings, then choose data settings.
- Hold down on the d-pad for a second or so, then - while still holding down - hold the + and - buttons.
- A prompt will pop up saying "You can enable or disable the USB storage..." - it is enabled by default, so to change it you need to choose 'disable'.
And that's it. Your hard drive will now no longer spin down or go into energy saving mode while you're using the Wii U. This means stutters and crashes some people experience will no longer occur, and we can all enjoy much smoother super-fun-times. I tried it and it's super-easy to change.
There is discussion to be had as to why Nintendo has this option hidden. Disabling a hard drive's power-saving feature will increase power consumption slightly, as the drive will always be working, and it will reduce the lifespan of your HDD – but when they last at least four years after being on and running every day 24/7, that's not so much of an issue.
Still, remember to back up!