STEP 2 - SKYRIM SE
2.1 RECOMMENDED DIRECTORY
The entire point of reinstalling Skyrim SE is not only to make sure you have a clean, vanilla setup but also to be able to control where the game is installed on your drive. Here is what you need to keep in mind:
Avoid UAC protected folders
These folders and their contents have higher security standards than other folders which can cause all kinds of issues for modding tools. To be on the safe side do not install any modding tools or the game under
C:\Program Files or
C:\Program Files x86.
Type of hard drive
While it is highly recommend to install the modded game on an SSD for faster loading screens and potential decrease or elimination of stuttering, be aware that a large amount of free space is required. This is because Skyrim SE and Mod Organizer 2 need to be installed on the same drive. While a Skyrim SE installation reaches around 12.5GB, your MO2 directory will eventually grow well beyond 60GB in size, depending on the amount and types of mods you add. If you can spare 100GB or more of SSD space, it is highly recommended you do so.
2.2 UNINSTALL SKYRIM SE
Skip this step if you do not have Skyrim SE installed.
- Open Steam and go to your Library.
- Find The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition in the list.
- Right-click it and select Uninstall.
- Wait for the process to complete before you continue.
2.3 NEW STEAM LIBRARY
Steam libraries contain the various game installations and you can have one per hard drive (or as many as you want with a certain workaround, see below). The default library is located inside the Steam installation folder under
Steam\steamapps\common\. Since the majority of people most likely installed Steam to the default directory,
C:\Program Files x86\Steam, this means that, by default, Skyrim SE would end up in a UAC protected folder.
The solution to this is creating a new library outside the two mentioned UAC protected folders.
If the drive you want to install Skyrim SE and MO2 on also happens to be the one Steam is installed on, you will have to add a second library on the same drive through the mentioned workaround. There are instructions here.
If you already have a separate Steam Library outside the UAC protected folders on the drive you want to install Skyrim SE and MO2 on, simply use that one – otherwise follow the instructions below to create a new Steam Library:
- Open Steam and go into the Settings.
- In the Downloads tag, select Steam Library Folders.
- Click Add Library Folder.
- Point it to a location somewhere outside the UAC protected folders.
- Close all windows when you’re done.
- Open Steam and go into your Library.
- Find The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition in the list and click Install.
- As location, select the Steam Library you just created.
- Wait for Skyrim SE to be downloaded and installed.
2.5 VERSION NUMBER
For the purposes of this guide you must run a specific version of Skyrim SE. That is typically the latest version unless there was an update recently and the guide is still running on the previous version in which case you need to roll back.
The currently supported version of Skyrim SE is: 1.5.97
If you accidentally updated to a newer version, please refer to this guide here in order to roll back.
- Navigate to your root folder.
- Right-click SkyrimSE.exe and select Properties.
- Switch to the Details tab and check under Product version.
2.6 DISABLE AUTO UPDATES
When Skyrim SE receives another update – which happens regularly because of the Creation Club – SKSE64 and all SKSE plugins will need to be updated as well. This usually takes around a week at least.
However you can continue playing the previous version with SKSE64 and all your mods by simply setting Skyrim SE to only update when launching the game – since you start the game through the SKSE64 launcher, Steam will never update.
- Open Steam and find The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition in your Library.
- Right-click it, select Properties and switch to the Updates tab.
- Make sure Automatic updates is set to Only update this game when I launch it.
- Problem solved!
2.7 BINARIES BACKUP
Although Steam will no longer update Skyrim SE automatically, I still recommend keeping backups of the two executables (SkyrimSE.exe and SkyrimSELauncher.exe), just in case. If you accidentally updated, all you need to do to roll back is replace the executables in your root folder with the ones you backed up. This also comes in handy if you had to regenerate INI files or validate game files through Steam for whatever reason and were forced to update.
- Create a new folder:
Your Modding Folder\Backups\Skyrim SE 1.x.x(enter the current version number).
- Copy the following two files from your root folder into the new directory:
2.8 DISABLE STEAM OVERLAY
This step is optional.
While I’ve never had any issues with the Steam Overlay in modded Skyrim SE, that seems to be an exception and it is common practice to disable it as a precaution. Note that we will only disable it for Skyrim SE – the overlay will still work as usual for all other games.
Since disabling the Steam Overlay will also prevent you from taking screenshots with Steam, I keep it enabled – as mentioned, without problems so far.
- Once again, open Steam.
- Find The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition in your Library.
- Right-click it and select Properties.
- Uncheck Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game.
- Close the window.