The Melvinius Guide to a Truly Legendary Skyrim Experience

From Skyrim Nexus Latest Files

TheMelvinius Guide to a Truly Legendary Skyrim Experience

Whois this guide for?Doyou ever get tired of watching youtube videos of someone’s awesome

Skyrim SE setup with ultra textures, ultra view distance, and ultra

mods (all being run on an ultra computer)? And there you are with

your crappy laptop with its integrated graphics, and Skyrim SE won’t

even run smoothly on your computer even unmodded. It sucks, right?

This guide is for you, fellow adventurer.

Whatis the goal of this guide?UltimatelyI feel that Skyrim should be an experience. That means depth and

content, and smooth gameplay, not a fantastic looking slideshow that

looks pretty but plays terribly. The goal of this guide is to help

you streamline your game so you can actually enjoy it on an average

computer. That’s not to say that it can’t look good too; I will

discuss ways to optimize things so that you can get Skyrim looking

way better than vanilla but also performing way better.

Whatversion of Skyrim is used in this guide?Itshould be emphasized that this guide is for Oldrim, or the original

Skyrim Legendary Edition (LE). Why? Because you can get it to look

and play better than Skyrim SE or VR and it will actually run on your

computer (and, well, mine). Also, there are simply more tools and

mods available for Oldrim than there are for the newer releases of

the game. Why Legendary Edition and not other previous versions of

Oldrim? Legendary includes the official expansions, the final

official Bethesda bugfixes, and therefore the most solid Skyrim

experience out of all the Oldrim releases. The principles contained

in this guide can be applied to any Skyrim install, however, and may

help you even if you have a newer or older version than Skyrim LE.

Whatmakes you qualified to write a guide like this, Mel?Twothings: (1) experience and (2) results. Concerning experience, I’ve

been playing the Elder Scrolls games after Morrowind (as well as

Fallout 3) since these games were released. I have put together

dozens of different installs/builds for Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim,

and Fallout 3 with great success. I have played these games on both

consoles and PC. I typically play on OK laptops but I’ve never owned

a gaming rig, so tweaking everything to the max has always been a

part of my Elder Scrolls experience. At times, I have spent more

hours tweaking mods to my preferences or tinkering with the

Construction Sets than actually playing the games. This guide is my

attempt to give back to the amazing Bethesda modding community and


Concerningresults, consider the following:

Mycurrent computer and its specs:Laptop:Samsung ATIV Book 8OperatingSystem: Windows 10 Home 64-bitProcessor:Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3635QM CPU @ 2.40GHzMemory:16GB RAM (the only physical upgrade to my laptop)Graphics:Integrated Intel, AMD Radeon HD 8600/8700M 1GB VRAM

Asyou can see, my laptop is not particularly new; it has been around

for about five years or so. However, keep reading to see what I’ve

been able to do with my Skyrim install on this laptop.

Someof the mods I am currently running:Iam running over 600 mods, texture packs, SKSE plugins, etc.,

including many of the most acclaimed and most demanding (in terms of

computer capability) mods on the Nexus:


BeyondSkyrim – Bruma

Extensible Follower Framework

The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal

RS Children


Legacyof the Dragonborn

Immersive College of Winterhold


Immersive Jewelry

Realistic Water Two


Follower Commentary Overhaul

Anna NPCs

Civil WarOverhaul

Moon and Star

Phenderix Magic Evolved

Sea ofGhosts

Guard Dialogue Overhaul

Immersive Weapons



Recorder Follower



The Forgotten City


Lore Weapon Expansion

HogsMaws NPCs

Bijin AIO

Convenient Horses

Dragon CombatOverhaul

Fire and Ice Overhaul

Perfect Legionnaire

The Danceof Death – Ultimate Edition

Player Knockout


Selene Kate


Moonlight Tales


WICO – Immersive Character Overhaul


KS Hairdos -HDT

The Eyes of Beauty

Immersive Citizens – AIOverhaul

Relationship Dialogue Overhaul

Alternate Start – LiveAnother Life

Warburg’s 3D Paper World Map

Youcan see there are some notoriously heavy mods here, and this is just

part of my full load order. I have overhauls for all the Skyrim

houses. I have nice little extras like the footprints mod, Wet and

Cold, DYNAVISION, and Supreme Fog. I have HDT physics working for

bodies, equipment, and player hair. I travel with typically 3 or 4

followers at a time, all with custom bodies. I have increased spawn

mods, so there are tons of enemies.

OK,yeah, but how smoothly does it all run? Does it look like crap?Interms of FPS, I have no idea what the numbers are. I can say that

Skyrim runs more smoothly than it does on my XBox 360 and looks way

better. For example, as a base I have the Bethesda ultra-high

textures installed, but then with other texture packs over top for

certain things. I play as an archer and I like my combat and

movement to be fluid. I have no stutter or input lag despite

traveling with usually four followers and with extra spawn mods. My

view distance is also nearly maxed. I do eventually get an

out-of-memory crash after 2-3 hours of gameplay at about 3GB memory

usage, but almost no random CTDs whatsoever.

Wow,how did you get all this?ThomasEdison was a despicable person, but his methodology of tinkering with

everything until it worked really well has done me a lot of good when

it comes to Skyrim modding. I just tinker, tweak, experiment, test,

compare, and keep doing it until things are better and better. It’s

been a long process, and takes time, but this guide will hopefully

speed things up for you as you follow in my footsteps to a great

Skyrim experience. Still, depending on what you hope to achieve in

your Skyrim install, plan on spending significant time building that

install. My setup took two solid weeks to download and install all

the mods and tweak everything; if you want 600+ mods working nicely

together, you will need to put in the time to get to that goal. I

suspect though that most people will just glean through this guide

here and there to see what little things they can improve on their

existing installs. For this reason, I will spoiler a lot of sections

so you guys don’t have to navigate massive walls of text you’re not

interested in reading.

Toolsyou WON’T need:Thisshould be a short list, so I’ll put it first.

-Avoid mesh optimizers! Mesh files are complex and they are not all

created in a uniform manner. Using mesh optimization tools can

introduce errors that you will never be aware of until they bring

your install to its knees with crash after CTD. There are better

ways to improve Skyrim’s performance.

-Avoid mod organizers! This is pretty controversial, and if you

aren’t comfortable manually installing everything, I can certainly

understand. I have used Mod Organizer and Nexus Mod Manager in the

past, and they worked well enough. But if you want complete control

over your install, you have to install mods by hand. For example,

what if mod A has something you really want, but it overrides part of

mod B that you really want, which overrides the part of mod A that

you really want? Load order won’t help you here, so you have to dig

in, get your hands dirty, and tweak things manually. If you do use a

mod organizer, don’t worry! There will still be plenty you can use

in this guide.

-Large address aware patcher utility. It used to be with some older

versions of Skyrim that you had to manually patch the skyrim.exe file

and/or other executables to make them large address enabled so they

could utilize more system RAM. This is no longer necessary with the

Skyrim Legendary Edition available on Steam, and could actually do

more damage than good.

Toolsyou WILL need for some sections of this guide:(Iwill have further sections later about how to best use some of these

tools. Also, I recommend installing some of these, like Tes5Edit or

Ordenador, directly into subfolders right in your Skyrim Steam


-An archive extraction utility like WinRAR (the best) or 7zip. There

are free versions of both of these. WinRAR handles .rar, .zip, and I

believe also .7z

-A texture compression/downsizing utility like Ordenador Textures,

available on the Skyrim Nexus. There are several tools like this out

there, I like Ordenador because of its simplicity. A lot of people

will tell you not to compress or downsize your textures, but it makes

a huge difference if done properly. Done improperly, it will look

horrible and maybe even perform terribly.

-A .BSA archive extraction tool. I prefer BAE (Bethesda Archive

Extractor), available on the Skyrim Nexus, for its simplicity and

drag-and-drop capability. This tool is invaluable for quickly

looking up mesh and texture paths (you can open a .BSA file and look

at the path tree without actually extracting anything). It is also a

necessity if you want to micromanage/replace individual mesh or

texture files that are stored in a .BSA archive.

-Tes5Edit. This is available on the Skyrim Nexus. It is a useful

tool which can be used to merge mods together to prevent you from

hitting the maximum 255 plugin limit. It can also run scripts and

some mods need it for this purpose. We’ll talk about basic safe mod

merging a bit later.

-Skyrim LOOT, the Load Order Optimization Tool, available on the Nexus

and github. This is an invaluable tool for automatically sorting and

manually ordering mod plugin files. We’ll talk more about some LOOT

tips and tricks later on.

-Skyrim Creation Kit. Get it from Steam; other sources are often not

legitimate or not the most current version. It can be gotten under

the Tools section. Even freshly downloaded, this may not run without

errors right out of the box; we will discuss common Creation Kit

errors and how to fix them below.

-Paint.NET, a free image editor. This is one of the best image

editors out there, and I recommend it here because it supports .DDS

and does it really well. This is a great tool for editing and

downsizing textures by hand.

Aquick overview of your Skyrim directories and file types you will

Wheninstalling mods, the most common error is putting files in the wrong

places, so here is a brief overview of Skyrim’s directory structure

for complete noobs who haven’t messed with it before.

-Steam probably has your Skyrim install here: C:Program Files

(x86)SteamsteamappscommonSkyrim. This is the standard install,

and there is really no reason to change it. If you decide to run

your Skyrim on an external SSD or something to speed it up, there are

ways to just copy everything over and link it while still keeping the

install directory technically in the default place. I might have a

section on this, since running Skyrim from an external SSD if you

have an HDD in your computer can really improve load times and reduce

stutter. I don’t currently do this, but have in the past.

-All the good stuff is in the Skyrim/data subfolder. There are

subfolders named meshes, textures, interface, sound, etc. here.

Putting things in the wrong place in these directories will mess

things up, usually resulting in missing mesh or texture errors.

-Your .INI files will likely be here: DocumentsMy

GamesSkyrim. Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini have tons of settings

and you will likely need to edit them for use with mods at some


-Your saves are in a subfolder of the above: DocumentsMy

GamesSkyrimSaves. It’s a good idea to clean this out periodically.

Having too many saves can actually crash your game when Skyrim has

to parse through 500 save files on the load screen.

-Mods are typically downloaded as archives. This means they are in a

.zip, .rar, or .7z format. Think of an archive as a box; it holds

files and also compresses them so they take up less space on your

hard drive. Mod organizers can often install mods right from these

files, but if you want to install them manually you will have to

extract the files out of them using an archive utility like 7zip or


-.ESM and .ESP files are the core files of most standard mods. These

are called plugin files, and your Skyrim install can only have 255

total of this type of file active at once. In the Skyrim launcher,

these are the Data Files that you tick to be active or not. Active

plugin files should always be in Skyrim/data; if they are anywhere

else then something went wrong.

-.BSA files are Bethesda’s proprietary archive files. Like more

common archive formats, they contain compressed files. You don’t

generally need to extract these, as the game can load the files

inside them when it loads the corresponding mod. Extracting these

files can be useful in certain circumstances, however, for example if

you wanted to downsize some textures even smaller than the originals

to speed up your game performance.

-.NIF files are mesh or model files. Think of them like a white

mannequin doll; they represent the 3D structure of game elements like

characters, weapons, armor, etc. A mesh file has associated texture

files, which give the object its visible color and texture. Some

meshes have textures embedded in them, but most use a separate

external texture file or files.

-.DDS files are the most common texture format. These are images that

get wrapped around the 3D mesh/model files to make them look like

real objects. Many mods include textures which are poorly optimized,

causing your computer to use more VRAM than necessary when drawing

things to the screen. We will discuss how to optimize textures a bit

later on.

-.DLL files are library files which alter how Skyrim runs. These can

be part of graphical mods like the ENB lighting mods, or they can be

other things like SKSE mods. They will typically go either in the

Skyrim folder or in Skyrim/data/SKSE/plugins.

-There are other file formats in use by the Skyrim game also: .FUZ

files are character voice files; music and sounds are typically in a

.WAV format.

Bestpractices for manually installing mods-I cannot emphasize this enough; take a bit of time to explore and

learn how to use your tools. If you don’t know how to extract a .rar

file to a working directory, get a mod from the Skyrim Nexus and play

around with 7zip or WinRAR until you know how to extract the files it

contains. A lot of people are very down on Ordenador because they

used it improperly and it messed stuff up for them. Knowing how to

use your tools well is a good part of the modding battle.

-Make backups of your Skyrim install periodically. Is everything

working perfectly, just the way you like it? Back it up before

installing any other mods, if something goes wrong, you can go back

and try again. I make backup copies of Skyrim/data/meshes,

Skyrim/data/textures, and even the whole Skyrim/data folder often,

often, often. I always save copies of any files that I am about to

overwrite, in case replacing them messes something up. Also, make

backup copies of .ESP files before you alter them with the Creation

Kit or before you merge them with other .ESP files. Back up your

Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini files also before making changes.

-Never extract stuff directly into your Skyrim/data folder. When I

extract mods, I extract the files to a new folder on my desktop; I

call this my “working folder.” I can then check to make

sure the mod files are in the right structure before dragging them

into my Skyrim/data folder. I can easily run Ordenador to optimize

mod textures in this working folder before I drag them into my data

folder, so I am not running Ordenator over my entire data/textures


-Don’t mess with .ESM files. If you need to make edits to an .ESM

file, save it as an .ESP which always loads after the .ESMs and

overwrites the changes of the .ESM. Editing an .ESM and saving those

edit directly can create a ton of problems.

-Many of the tools I listed above can be installed anywhere. I

recommend putting Ordenador, Tes5Edit, and BAE in subfolders right in

your Skyrim Steam folder. Easy to get to, and they are all right

there together with your Skyrim install.

-You can have multiple Skyrim installs at once. After doing a basic

install, I simply copy the Skyrim directory to something like “Skyrim

– purist install.” Whatever is in the Skyrim directory is your

active install, just rename that folder to something else, and rename

another directory back to “Skyrim” to swap installs around.

My Steam apps folder has sometimes had directories like: “Skyrim,

Skyrim-purist, Skyrim-max, Skyrim-tropical, Skyrim-survival”

etc. in it. Each of these is a completely different install, and I

just switch between them as the mood takes me.

Initialinstall of SkyrimLet’sstart at the very beginning of putting together a brand new Skyrim

install. We’ll go over the main stuff in this section, then discuss

some topics that may help avoid some crashes and issues right off the


(1)Install Skyrim from Steam. I recommend installing to the default

directory, installing elsewhere could introduce some otherwise

avoidable issues.

(2)Install the Skyrim Script Extender, SKSE, also via Steam. This is a

virtual necessity these days due to many crash fixes and mods needing

its framework as a base.

(3)Install the Skyrim Creation Kit via Steam. It’s good to have, even

if you’re not a “modder” per se, because you can tweak mods

to your liking.

(4)Install SkyUI. Most people love it, some people hate it. It really

is necessary though; most major mods utilize the MCM menu system,

which allows you to configure mods right from an ingame settings

menu. On SkyUI’s MCM menu you can also disable version checking for

any menus that you use other replacers for (like the map) so SkyUI

doesn’t give an error every time you open that menu.

(5)Install USLEEP, the Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch, from

the Skyrim Nexus. This is a fan-made patch which fixes a ton of bugs

and issues. Some people will turn their noses up at this too, but it

is also really a necessity. Note that quite often other mods will

then go and break what USLEEP already fixed, so sometimes other

additional fixes are necessary on top of USLEEP. We’ll talk about

some of those other issues in a bit.

Atthis point, there are three other mods that I always install because

they are so useful. These are optional, but there are very good

reasons to use them, which I will enumerate:

(6)Alternate Start – Live Another Life, available on the Skyrim Nexus.

This is a quick character creation mod which allows you to make a

character fast and then jump into the game anywhere in Skyrim. You

can later pursue the main quest if you want, or you can choose to

just begin the game normally in the quick start area also. This is

super useful for someone who will be testing a lot of mods; you can

begin a new game without having to go through the whole intro every

time. Two minutes and you can have a new character and be in an area

of Skyrim near whatever mod it is you want to test/check out.

(7)Dynamically Disable Eye Adaption and Bloom. A lot of people can’t

stand the HDR eye adaption effect and there is no way to turn it off

by default. This little mod adds an MCM menu right in your game and

you can turn off eye adaption or bloom or both.

(8)DYNAVISION. This is a dynamic depth of field mod. It adds a

configurable MCM menu ingame with a ton of customization for

conversation, normal, and combat modes. I personally set this to

static mode with a setting of 1.1 which blurs distant land so well

that I don’t even need to use a distant land overhaul.

Congrats! You now have a solid foundation for a great Skyrim install. But

maybe you are already having issues, perhaps a common startup error

or performance troubles. We’ll discuss libraries, crash fixes, and

performance mods next just in case things are already not going well

for you.

Ijust did a new install, but Skyrim won’t start up.Thishappens sometimes, and there are a couple common things it could be

that I’ll throw out there right now.

-Try deleting the intro video from your Skyrim/data/videos folder.

You may want to do this anyways just so you can get to the main menu

more quickly. For some reason that intro video sometimes crashes the

game. It’s probably a computer specific thing, though I have found

that changing up certain INI values can mess up ALL .BIK video file

playback in Skyrim.

-You may need to install/reinstall various libraries like DirectX,

Visual C++, etc. There are actually subfolders right in the Skyrim

Steam directory for some of the recommended installs of these

libraries. Try installing these first, but if you are still getting

runtime errors when starting Skyrim, you may need some older and

newer versions to fill any functionality gaps. The weird thing about

these is that you can have multiple release year versions installed

simultaneously, as well as 32-bit and 64-bit versions installed

simultaneously, and sometimes you need to do so. Search google for

“visual c redistributable all in one” to find a couple

geek-made installers for a bunch of different versions at once, or

download them one at a time from (usually) Microsoft. I have the

following versions of the Visual C++ redistributables installed right

now: 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017. For each of these years I

have both the 32-bit and the 64-bit versions installed. Obviously if

you don’t have a 64-bit system just install the 32-bit versions.

-If you installed SKSE (and you really should!) then don’t forget to

start Skyrim using the skse_loader.exe, not skyrim.exe.

Hopefullyif you are getting a fresh install startup crash one of these things

will solve your problem. If not, google is your friend; if Skyrim

crashes with an error, search that error in google to see what you

get. Steam forums and reddit are particularly good places to get

answers for crash issues also. The next section is about various

crash-fix mods, so if these first steps didn’t work for you, continue

on and see if the next section helps.

Crashfix mods that you really should install even if you aren’t having

problems (yet)
Anounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or something like that.

I would recommend installing all of these following mods to make

sure things keep running smoothly, or to fix any existing crash

issues. I am currently using ALL of these in my Skyrim install.

-Crash Fixes by meh321, available on the Nexus. One million downloads

can’t be wrong. It used to be that you had to use Sheson’s memory

patch to keep Skyrim running smoothly with lots of mods, but the main

feature of Crash Fixes is a better fix for memory issues, and the mod

includes fixes for a lot of other stuff too. Install it, then go to

Skyrim/data/SKSE/plugins and open the crash fixes ini file. Set

UseOSAllocators=1, and notice that you need the SKSE Plugin Preloader

mod, available on the Nexus, to use this feature, so grab that too.

-Bug Fixes by meh321, also on the Nexus. I love this meh321 guy.

Install this right along with his Crash Fixes mod. Works right out

of the box.

-Load Game CTD Fix by The Care Taker, on the Nexus. A quarter of a

million downloads, and I can personally say that it works. It fixes

an infinite load screen bug I used to get a lot when loading games

from the main menu.

-NVAC, or New Vegas Anti Crash mod. Get it on the New Vegas Nexus

site. Yes, I know, wrong game, but the nvac.dll works on several

Bethesda games including Fallout 3 and Skyrim.

Performanceenhancing mods that you will soon be unable to live withoutA Skyrim install that isperforming better is also a Skyrim install that will crash less. I

use all of these various performance enhancing mods together, and the

cumulative effect is stunning.

-PrivateProfileRedirectorLE – Faster game start (INI file cacher) by Kerber100. This is

available on the Nexus. Basically the Skyrim engine is super

inefficient in how it utilizes INI files; instead of reading the INIs

once at startup and using that information, Skyrim reads from the INI

files ON DEMAND. I don’t know how the reads are actually

implemented; maybe the INI gets read once per frame, maybe it gets

read once per every subroutine that uses INI settings per frame. At

any rate, it’s your computer doing a lot of work that it doesn’t have

to, and this mod fixes that.

-TESVAL, The Elder Scrolls V Acceleration Layer. This is an older mod

and a lot of people don’t use it any longer, but it purports to do

something unique and it seems to smooth things out for me. Someone

on the Nexus forums mentioned that patch 1.4 integrates most of what

TESVAL did directly so it’s no longer needed, but I’m still gonna

keep it. Basically Bethesda’s code is very poorly optimized, so a

programmer wrote TESVAL to help streamline things. For some reason

on Windows 10 I do get an error about TESVAL.dll when I start Skyrim,

but everything runs fine despite it.

-Skyrim Performance Booster by Jenna Watson, available on the Nexus.

With a little bit of tweaking, this mod can work alongside an ENB and

really makes a big difference. I set SpeedHack=false in the

enbpatch.ini file from this mod though, because for some reason

having that setting on results in white or gray ghost hair flying

high above my character. To use this, you will need to fire up the

.exe provided with the mod before running Skyrim itself.

-Swiftshader DLL, available on the Nexus. A lot of people are

skeptical about this mod, but it has made a big difference for me. I

run it in conjunction with the Skyrim Performance Booster by using

the following lines in the enbpatch.ini from the Skyrim Booster mod:
[PROXY]EnableProxyLibrary=trueInitProxyFunctions=trueProxyLibrary=swiftshader.dllAfterpoking around a bit, I have found that there supposedly is a newer

version of the Swiftshader DLL freely available out there; you could

search and download that one instead of the one on the Nexus and see

if that one works better.

-Skyrim Reloaded, available from This mod has a

little bit of everything in it, including some really odd options.

It does a lot of automatic optimization and can take control of some

water settings. I use it along with the mod Realistic Water Two and

the combination is great, both in terms of looks and performance.

The mod includes some nice optional touches like extra blood screen

spatter (a completely separate screen shader from a mod like Enhance

Blood, so you actually get two screen overlays) and a water lens

feature for when you come up out of water. Water is just so pretty

with this and performance is better.

-Bethesda Performance Textures by gamwich, available on the Nexus.

There are two different mods on the Nexus, grab them both. These

should be the very first texture packs that you install. These are

ultra detail Bethesda textures which gamwich modified for use on

computers with 1GB of VRAM or less. They look better than the

official HD texture packs and perform better also. You can then

install other texture packs over top of this, but these will fill in

the gaps nicely. Read the section about using Ordenador below for

best practices when installing texture mods.

-Colorful Lights – No Shadows, available on the Nexus. This mod

actually doesn’t disable shadows for me, but improves performance.

It’s probably meant to be used in conjunction with a shadow remover

mod, but I don’t do so.

-Insignificant Object Remover, available on the Nexus. As mentioned

in this mod’s description, the grass engine draws a lot of extra

useless things, including small rocks and pebbles everywhere and

underwater plants. Increasing grass density increases these things

also, and it’s a lot of extra stuff for Skyrim to draw for really no

reason. This mod eliminates a lot of junk, everything runs smoother,

and you won’t even notice what’s missing. Seriously, I was skeptical

at first, but you really won’t even notice the tiny pebbles

everywhere are gone. You WILL notice that your game runs much more


-Remove Underwater Grass and Other Stuff Too, on the Nexus. Works

similar to the Insignificant Object Remover, except it actually

replaces some stuff with empty meshes so there is literally nothing

to draw.

-Skyrim Performance Plus, on the Nexus. There are a lot of small

objects like snowflakes, falling leaves, etc. that are tiny on your

screen and don’t need detailed textures. This mod downsizes these

textures for significant FPS gains in many outdoor areas and


-Performance Spell Sound, on the Nexus. Downsamples spell sounds to

improve performance and mitigate crashing related to spell sound

playback. Install this, then install any sound replacers you want

over top.

-Ultimate HD Fire Effects, on the Nexus. You would think with a name

like that this would be a horrible mod for performance. Actually a

lot of people have issues with fire in Skyrim, and using this mod

really helps a lot. I use the low res pack from this mod, which is

already very well optimized. With vanilla fire, the mod Fire and Ice

Overhaul would turn things into a slide show, but it is very smooth

with Ultimate HD Fire Effects installed.

Helpfulgraphics setup tipsIflike me you have a laptop with switchable graphics (integrated

graphics chipset and a separate graphics card) it can be a nightmare

to get games to recognize the “real” graphics card. One

way to deal with this is to go into Device Manager and disable the

integrated chipset so your computer always uses the “real”

graphics card. This solves any problems with Skyrim not finding the

right graphics card, and things will run much more smoothly.

Considerscaling down your graphics resolution a bit; for example, my laptop

is 1920×1080 but I play at 1600×900. It makes a noticeable

performance difference but still looks great. However, playing in

fullscreen mode at your computer’s native resolution can sometimes

give you a performance boost, depending on your system, so experiment

to see what works best for you.

Enablingmipmaps can be a great way to improve performance without sacrificing

too much graphical prettiness. Add or change these lines in your

skyrimprefs.ini file under the [Display] section:
iTexMipMapMinimum=0iTexMipMapSkip=1Basicallya mipmap is a lower quality texture that will get displayed on some

objects. The Bethesda Performance Texture mod referenced above

contains mipmaps for most of the included textures. When I use

Ordinador to optimize other texture packs before installing them, I

uncheck the “create mipmaps” option for any textures that I

never want to be compromised in terms of display quality, for example

body textures or weapon textures. This way boring default textures

from the BPT mod sometimes get downgraded when mipmaps are enabled,

but important things like NPCs always stay full detail. Enabling

mipmaps can really help out with performance.

Howto troubleshoot crashes – a general methodologyBethesdaknows how to create a compelling world, but it’s a fine system with a

lot of moving parts to go wrong. Bethesda games are notorious for

crashing. There are ways to suss out the secrets of why things go

bad, though. Here are some tips for narrowing down a crash. Crash

fixes is pretty good about giving reasons for some crashes also.

-If the game crashes before you even get to the main menu, it is

likely one of these: too many save games, a mod is missing a required

dependency (other mod files it needs to run), your intro video is

crashing, a main menu replacer has a corrupt element or a mesh your

computer can’t handle, missing or damaged .EXE or .DLL files, load

order issue.

-If the game noticeably starts stuttering or slowing down right before

a crash, especially in a busy area or while scrolling through your

inventory, it could be an out of memory/VRAM issue. Try using

Ordenador to downsize textures, lower your view distance/texture

settings, don’t load too many mods that add NPCs, don’t keep too much

junk in your inventory, etc.

-If the game crashes while fast traveling or while changing areas,

waiting, or sleeping, try turning off all the autosave options in

game settings. You really should turn these off anyways; Skyrim has

enough to load when changing areas without having to deal with saving

your game also. Instead of autosave, set your backspace key to

quicksave and get in the habit of tapping it every so often while


-If the game crashes in a certain area, it could be a bad mesh issue.

These can often result in instant sudden crashes without warning.

Consider what mods might be adding content to the area or changing

the area, then try going there without those mods loaded to narrow it


-If the game crashes often with sound looping on a certain sound,

replace that sound file and see if that helps.

-For mod caused crashes, you need to narrow down which mod is causing

it. Once you have a fairly stable base install, most crashes after

that point will likely be caused by new mods you have installed. If

you install just a couple at a time, it may not be difficult to find

out which is the problem, but if you have just done a full reinstall

of dozens of mods, that could be more tricky, especially if you have

close to the 255 plugin limit. If I have absolutely no idea which

mod is causing an issue, I follow this methodology, since it is

faster than checking every mod one at a time:
(1)Deactivate HALF of all mods in the launcher.(2)Run Skyrim and test, if everything works then the active half of your

mods are fine.
(3)Activate HALF of the deactivated mods, run Skyrim again and check

everything. If it works, then you know the mods you just activated

are also fine.
(4)Continue this process, each time activating another HALF of the

remaining deactivated mods. If at any time things fail to work

nicely, you know that the problem is somewhere in the mods you just


Onceyou know what mod is causing the problem, try moving it in your load

order with LOOT. Many crashes are easily fixed with a proper load

order. Double check to make sure the mod was installed correctly and

that you have all the prerequisites also. If you made any edits to

the mod using the Creation Kit, restore a backup of the mod prior to

your edits since something may have gotten messed up.

Whenall else fails, ask for help. Reddit, Steam forums, Bethesda forums,

mod forums on the Nexus, there are tons of helpful and knowledgeable

people out there who might be able to help you fix your crash


CommonCreation Kit crashes and their fixesAnnoyinglythe Skyrim Creation Kit will often not work at all after installing

it from Steam. And then certain mods will not load even if you do

get it running, due to an INI setting preventing the loading of

multiple master files simultaneously.

Acrash on startup is often due to a steamapp link issue, I don’t

remember how to fix it but usually running the Creation Kit from

within Steam will work just fine.

Forthe multiple masters fix and DLC file loading issues fix, look up the

mod Creation Kit Fixes on the Nexus. I don’t want to steal that

guy’s thunder by just copying his info here.

Modorder sorting – best practices and using LOOTTheLoad Order Optimization Tool, or LOOT, is one of the handiest tools

for Skyrim. Load order makes a big difference as to which mods take

precedence over others, and LOOT gives great control over the process

while also being quick, convenient, and largely automatic.

LOOTautomatically updates itself and checks your load order against a

masterlist of mods to see where things should probably be. Most of

the time LOOT’s suggestions will be right on, but there are tens of

thousands of mods out there and the authors of LOOT can’t prepare for

every possible mod combination, so you will sometimes have to tweak

things yourself.

Thisis where LOOT’s metadata system comes in. You can click on a mod and

click “edit metadata,” which allows you to assign a numeric

priority to the mod (anything that needs to load last or nearly so, I

just set to 999) or set it to run after another mod. Then when you

click the sort button, LOOT factors these things in when it arranges

everything. Quick and easy. Many crash issues are due to a bad load

order arrangement. LOOT is your friend.

Usinga controller and getting the console to work at the same timeThiswas an annoying vanilla issue; you could not press the ~ key to bring

up the console with a controller plugged in. I believe the mod MFG

Console fixes this, so you can use the console without unpluggin the

controller every time.

Usefulconsole commands that you should memorize-help [searchterm] Let’s say you wanted to look up the code for the

unbreakable lockpick perk so you can add it to yourself. You would

type “help unbreakable” and the code will come up. If your

search has a long list of results, you can scroll through the console

lines using page up and page down. This is useful for looking up

item codes and NPC codes. If the term you are searching has spaces

in it, use quotes around the search term: help “maiq the liar”

-additem, addperk, addspell These allow you to add stuff to yourself,

npcs, or containters if you know the item’s code, which you can look

up with help. You can click on containers or npcs to add stuff to

them. Use removeitem, removeperk, removespell to take stuff away.

Add “player.” to the beginning of these codes to add or

remove stuff from the player: player.additem 0000000f 1 (For

additem, you need a number at the end telling Skyrim how many to

add.) Lockpicks and gold are 0000000a and 0000000f, though I forget

which is which. Good to know though.

-unlock, lock Select a container or door when the console is open

then type these commands to lock or unlock the object.

-tcl Toggles collision and lets you fly through things. Useful if

your followers block you in, or you get stuck in the terrain.

-tgm Toggles godmode, handy for doing testy stuff and for…

cheating. 🙂

EasyINI tweaks that add a lot.Thereare a ton of tweaks that only require you to edit your Skyrim.ini and

SkyrimPrefs.ini files. If you don’t know where these files are

located, check above or do a quick google. For these tweaks, either

change the value if it exists already, or add it if it does not

exist. You might need to create a new section also if it doesn’t


-Game FOV, or field of view. Change it to whatever you like in

Skyrim.ini. I like the default of 75, even on a widescreen display.

-Extend spell/arrow range. This is the variable that Skyrim’s engine

uses to decide how far from you projectiles should just disappear.

Obviously for an archer or mage, you want this to be as far as

possible. Note that gravity still affects arrows at long distances,

so they drop off at range. Add the [Actor] section to your

Skyrim.ini if it does not exist already. With a mod like Torch

Arrows, you can really see the difference when shooting arrows at


-Faster book open animation. You’re looting a bookshelf with 30 books

on it, and it takes four seconds to open each book. Argh! Two

minutes of my life GONE! This speeds up opening books. Add the

[Interface] section if it’s not in Skyrim.ini already. You can set

this as low as 50, but you might start seeing issues with where the

books display on your screen. I use 100 for a snappy book


Alot of older performance tweak guides recommend a lot of crazy INI

tweaks. I was surprised though how few I needed to do on my last

install; INI tweaks are not the best way to improve Skyrim’s

performance. For the most part, if you are using the mods I have

mentioned above, you can tweak the INI files of those mods and use

the Launcher graphical settings to get your desired results.

Anote on Papyrus script settings in the default INIs: At times

changing the Papyrus settings did actually improve gameplay on some

of my past installs, at least in the short term. I suspect that

tinkering with these settings too much leads to an unstable game as

you play over time. For my most recent install, I have not needed to

tinker with the Papyrus settings at all and I would no longer

recommend that anyone else do so either. If you do choose to fiddle

with these settings, save your default ini files so you have a backup

just in case.

Installingtexture mods and using Ordenador – best practicesEveryonewants a pretty Skyrim, and yes, you can have it, but you have to be

prudent in how you go about it. Let’s say you have 1GB of VRAM. Did

you know that the textures of a standalone follower’s body can be

~100MB in size? You can see right there that there are some

significant limitations you are working with. If you are creative

though, you can get a setup like mine; I have the Bijin all-in-one

mod and HogsMaws NPC replacer, as well as most of the Customizer mods

and about eight standalone followers, all of which use different and

unique texture sets that I optimized and installed by hand. The

trick to this is downsizing and/or compressing textures, otherwise

graphics mods, especially NPC graphics mods, can eat up your VRAM

like Trump eats cheeseburgers. There are trade-offs involved here;

if your shadow settings are on low, for example, you may get shadow

striping on NPCs due to compression gradients (I guess that’s what

they are) so there can be a slight noticeable loss in texture quality

in some lighting situations. Here’s some more info on texture

downsizing and compression:

-I mentioned before that you should always create a working folder to

extract textures into prior to installing them in your skyrim/data

folder. Also, back everything up that you will be modifying or

overwriting so you don’t lose what you already have if something goes


-If you use Ordenador, I recommend unchecking the “create mipmaps

if not present” option for any textures that you want to always

see at their best quality.

-If you are downsizing textures using Ordenador, do it in stages, not

all at once. For example, if you have a mod that has 4K armor

textures, first downsize to 2048×2048 then do a second run to

downsize to 1024×1024 instead of jumping right to 1024×1024.

-Some things can be downsized more than others. For example, you want

fairly large textures for bodies, say 2048×2048, but hand and feet

textures do not need to be this big. Remember, each step down saves

you 3/4 in terms of file size; a 1024×1024 texture is 25% as large as


-The best way to optimize a texture is to open the .DDS file in

Paint.NET and then save it again; I find that 9 times out of 10

Paint.NET will shrink the file a good deal with little, if any,

quality loss.

-Paint.NET is a quality option for downsizing and compression;

Ordenador is a fast option for large volumes of textures since you

can point it at a directory.

Settingup the epic mod Legacy of the DragonbornAlsoknown as the Dragonborn Gallery, this is perhaps the most expansive,

ambitious, and unique content mod available for Skyrim. It is also a

greedy, demanding beast from the pits of Oblivion which ever strives

to devour your sanity, your soul, and your computer. But it is

possible to get it running very smoothly. Here’s how I did it:
(1)Download it from the Nexus, whatever version you want.(2)Extract the mod archive into a working folder.(3)Using BAE, extract the textures archive into the proper place in the

working folder.
(4)Run Ordenador and point it to the folder to compress and/or downsize

the textures.
(5)Drag everything from working folder into Skyrim/data.

Ihave found that often this mod runs great at the beginning of a new

game, but as you add more and more to the museum it becomes

increasingly unstable with lots of out of memory crashes. I have

actually downsized all the textures in the mod to 512×512 and it

works great. Visually it is a bit less detailed than the rest of my

Skyrim now, but it’s a fair trade to have it stable and playable.

Theprinciple here can be applied to any mod with lots of textures. The

modding community is amazing, but a lot of these modders are

enthusiasts with decent computers, real graphics cards, etc. and 90%

of the time mods contain unoptimized textures. Because of this, it

doesn’t take long for your install to reach the breaking point. I

optimize every mod that I install, and that combined with all the

tweaks and mods listed above, allows me to push my Skyrim install to

the max.

Someuseful bug fix and other mods that you will likely end up needing(Allof these are on the Nexus, I think.)-Modern Brawl Bug Fix-Glow Be Gone-Quick Wait and Sleep-The Cleaner – dead body removal system-AddItemMenu – Adds ingame menu that lets you browse your plugins and

see every item which that plugin adds. Great way to test clothing

mods without having to buy/craft everything.
-Better Dialogue Controls-Better Menubox Controls-Fus Ro Doh silent voice-SkyUI Away – If you hate certain menus that SkyUI adds (crafting!)

you can revert them to the original
-Quickloot-SIM – Skyrim Interface Makeover

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