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Imagine the disappointment on a gamer's face when they get ready to play a game on their Nintendo Wii, only to be met with a 'disc read error' after inserting the disc. Fortunately, it's not very common for Wii owners to run into disc read errors, but it does happen. The reasons for such errors are varied, as are the solutions. In this article, we'll go over what can cause the Wii disc read error and how you can fix it yourself, if possible. Sometimes the only Wii disc read error fix is to ship it back to Nintendo for warranty replacement, but hopefully you won't need to do that.
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Wii Disc Read Error Fix #1 - Cleaning
The first thing you should try is to make sure the Wii disc is clean. If there are fingerprints all over the underside of the disc, then wipe them off with a soft cloth and be careful not to scratch the disc. Likewise, a lot of scratches from mishandling can ultimately render a disc useless. If you have a game disc that is heavily scratched, you might try using one of those scratch repair kits, but I can't vouch for them. If your Wii game disc has any cracks in it, you can pretty much forget using it. The same goes for deep scratches on the topside of the disc, as this is actually more sensitive that the underside.
Many Wii systems are used by children, and the simple fact is that kids aren't always so gentle with the game discs. It may eventually come to the point that the disc is too messed up to work any more, just like a movie DVD can become so scratched that it won't play or an audio CD has so many scratches that it skips a lot. In the children's defense, I will say that the white plastic cases used to hold Wii games are very flimsy compared to PS3 or Xbox 360 games.
Another thing you can do is get a can of compressed air and blow out the inside of the Wii. Under no circumstances should you open the case or else void the warranty, but using compressed air on the side fans and open slots of the Wii will help clear it of dust.
(Image credit: Office Depot)
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Wii Disc Read Error Fix #2 - System Update
You should always keep your Wii updated, and this can be done by going into the main menu and checking for system updates. Make sure your Wii is connected online before you try to update. Some games, like Smash Brothers Brawl, won't play without the proper update. Depending on what game you are trying to play, you should try doing an update first and then try to play the game.
Note: I know some people out there have 'hacked' Wii systems. I've personally witnessed one that would not play one of the Rock Band games without a system update. After the system was updated, the Wii was no longer hacked. Such is the trade-off for those of you who wish to illegally modify the Wii system - you might not be able to play some games.
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Wii Disc Read Error Fix #3 - Reboot
Another thing you can try to do is completely turn off the Wii by holding down the power button until the power light turns red. Wait a few seconds, then turn the Wii back on but without a game disc inserted, then give it time to boot up to the main menu before inserting the disc. Sometimes you have to do this after installing a system software update.
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If nothing else works, it could be an internal component problem with your Nintendo Wii and that's something you can't fix or should even attempt to fix. Nintendo has really good customer service when it comes to replacing defective systems, because my niece had to get a Nintendo DS system replaced and it was done at no cost whatsoever. If you have to contact Nintendo, you may be pleasantly surprised by how well they treat their customers.