Step 4 – SSEEdit and ESM Cleaning

STEP 4 - SSEEdit and ESM Cleaning

To edit Skyrim SE's game files directly, we need a tool by the name of SSEEdit. It is also commonly referred to as 'xEdit' as it is available for all Elder Scrolls / Fallout games and pretty much on the same level as Mod Organizer 2 when it comes to usability, allowing you to quickly load up, view and edit up to 255 plugins at the same time. Entire mods can being created exclusively with xEdit. You can also use it to build your own conflict resolution patches - or clean Bethesda's official master files.

4.1 Installing SSEEdit

  • Download the latest version of SSEEdit.
  • Extract the downloaded archive to Your Modding Folder\Tools\SSEEdit v3.2.x.
  • Open Mod Organizer 2 and add SSEEdit as an executable to the drop-down menu (just like you did with the SKSE64 Launcher).

  • Download the latest version of Check for old form version. This is a neat little extra script that will come in handy later.
  • Extract the downloaded archive (1 script) to Your Modding Folder\Tools\SSEEdit v3.2.x\Edit Scripts.

4.2 Cleaning your master files

Back in the Classic Skyrim modding days, it was regarded as extremely important to clean the official ESM files with xEdit. With the Special Edition, it appears to be less critical but it's still good practice to follow the process once, not just to remove all those ITMs and dirty edits, but also to start learning xEdit.


  • Open Mod Organizer 2 and select SSEEdit in the executable drop-down list. Hit Run.

YouTube video - cleaning your master files (0:00-5:10)
Please note that the video is slightly outdated. The cleaned ESMs no longer appear in the MO2 Overwrite folder and do not have to be moved.

4.2.1 Update.esm

  • Launch SSEEdit through Mod Organizer 2.
  • Select only Update.esm, then click OK.
  • When the background loader is finished, right-click Update.esm and select Apply Filter for Cleaning.
  • Right-click Update.esm and select Remove “Identical to Master” records. Click YES in the warning window.
  • Right-click Update.esm and select Undelete and Disable References.
  • Close SSEEdit. Make sure Update.esm is ticked and no other plugin appears in the list.

4.2.2 Dawnguard.esm

Repeat the exact same process with Dawnguard.esm – but this time clean the master file twice. For some reason a few more records are removed the second time around.

  • Launch SSEEdit through Mod Organizer 2.
  • Select only Dawnguard.esm, then click OK.
  • When the background loader is finished, right-click Dawnguard.esm and select Apply Filter for Cleaning.
  • Right-click Dawnguard.esm and select Remove “Identical to Master” records. Click YES in the warning window.
  • Right-click Dawnguard.esm and select Undelete and Disable References.
  • Close SSEEdit. Make sure Dawnguard.esm is ticked and no other plugin appears in the list.

Finally load up Dawnguard.esm in SSEEdit once more and repeat steps 2-4 to clean it again. It is not necessary to Undelete References again. We will come back in a minute and do some manual cleaning for Dawnguard.esm.

4.2.3 HearthFires.esm

Repeat the process for HearthFires.esm, but only once.

  • Launch SSEEdit through Mod Organizer 2.
  • Select only HearthFires.esm, then click OK.
  • When the background loader is finished, right-click HearthFires.esm and select Apply Filter for Cleaning.
  • Right-click HearthFires.esm and select Remove “Identical to Master” records. Click YES in the warning window.
  • Right-click HearthFires.esm and select Undelete and Disable References.
  • Close SSEEdit. Make sure HearthFires.esm is ticked and no other plugin appears in the list.

4.2.4 Dragonborn.esm

Repeat the process for Dragonborn.esm, also only once.

  • Launch SSEEdit through Mod Organizer 2.
  • Select only Dragonborn.esm, then click OK.
  • When the background loader is finished, right-click Dragonborn.esm and select Apply Filter for Cleaning.
  • Right-click Dragonborn.esm and select Remove “Identical to Master” records. Click YES in the warning window.
  • Right-click Dragonborn.esm and select Undelete and Disable References.
  • Close SSEEdit. Make sure Dragonborn.esm is ticked and no other plugin appears in the list.

4.3 Cleaning Dawnguard.esm manually

Following alt3rn1ty's manual cleaning guide we are going to remove some wild edits in Dawnguard.esm.


  • You know the drill - load up only Dawnguard.esm in SSEEdit and select Apply Filter for Cleaning.
YouTube video - cleaning dawnguard.esm manually (5:10-6:23)
  • Double-click Dawnguard.esm to open the plugin and navigate to Cell\Block 5\Sub-Block 3\00016BCF RiftenRaggedFlagon. Scroll down to the red highlighted entry (under XEZN - Encounter Zone), right-click and select Remove. Click YES when the warning window appears.
  • Next, navigate to Cell\Block 2\Sub-Block 1\0001FA4C CWGuardTemplates, right-click the record and select Remove.
  • And finally navigate to Cell\Block 8\Sub-Block 1\0006C3B6 AAADeleteWhenDoneTestJeremy, right-click the record and select Remove.

And that's it! Close SSEEdit. Make sure Dawnguard.esm is checked and no other plugins appear in the list.

4.4 Adding the cleaned ESMs to MO2

The process of cleaning your master files is not particularly time-consuming or complex but still something we don't want to repeat for no reason. Right now we have the cleaned ESMs in our Data folder where they would be replaced with uncleaned ones everytime you verify the integrity of the game files through Steam or an update for SSE goes live. To prevent your cleaned ESMs from getting overwritten, we will simply install them through Mod Organizer 2.


  • Click the crossed-tools-icon to the right of the profile selection bar and select Create empty mod.
  • Name your empty mod Official Master Files - Cleaned and hit OK.
  • Navigate to your Data folder and copy Update.esm, Dawnguard.esm, HearthFires.esm and Dragonborn.esm.
  • Right-click Official Master Files - Cleaned in your mod order and select Open in explorer.
  • Paste the four cleaned ESMs.