As the title says, this post is a Guide on how to play Skyrim without Steam running while you play. The wording is very important here because legal copies of the game force you to use Steam to open Skyrim. Therefore, its safe to conclude that those who want to play without Steam running, and own a legal copy, are trying maximize the system resources available to Skyrim. Or they just really hate Steam.
This guide is broken into two parts:
-Part 1: How to play Skyrim without Steam running
-Part 2: Directions to optimize performance of Skyrim
Part 1: How to play Skyrim without Steam running
1) Open Steam. Set it to "Offline Mode" and let it restart. *a
2) Open Task Manager and leave it open. Then run Skyrim as per usual.
3) Once at the Continue/Load menu, Alt-Tab out of Skyrim and into Task Manager.
4) In Task Manager goto "Processes". Select "steam.exe" and then click "End Process". When prompted, press "End Process" again.
5) With Task Manager open, Alt-Tab back to Skyrim. MORE THAN LIKELY THE CONTINUE/LOAD SCREEN WILL NOT SHOW UP - THIS IS FINE! DO NOT CLOSE SKYRIM!
To get back to Skyrim:
6a) Alt-Tab again to Task Manager and then close it. It should automatically switch back to Skyrim and be functional.
6b) If 6a didn't work for you, you will need to leave make sure "explorer.exe" is running. While at the blank Skyrim screen, press the "Start" button on your keyboard to bring up the Start Menu over top of the Skyrim screen. Now click anywhere on the black, empty Skyrim screen and it should be functional again.
6c) When I was using Windows XP I only had to click the black screen 3 times to make it work. Just try whatever comes to mind and mess with this until it comes back, or just start over. *c
And there you have it. No more Steam during Skyrim.
Part 2: Directions to optimize performance of Skyrim
NOTE: If this section confuses you, you probably are not familiar with it so it's best to not do any of the following. Realisitcally, at worst, you'll just crash the computer and have to restart. I doubt you'll do any serious damage, but it's better to not risk it if t his is foreign territory to you.
1) Download GameBooster. It's free and ad-free. It works by closing out unnecessary programs that would otherwise take up memory and hinder Skyrim's performance. Explore it and tweak it. You can find guides online wih directions to maximze it's usefulness.
2) Set GameBooster to close "explorer.exe" . You can set GB to restore all processes upon the game being exited. You can also close "explorer.exe" manually in Task Manager. To manually reopen it in Task Manager go to "File", "Run", and type in "explorer". This will revive your desktop. On a side note, you can also this "Run" screen to browse to the folder containing the main exe of your brower of choice if all you want to do is look something up online quickly. If you're using IE8/9, just type in "iexplore", no need to browse to it.
3) Look for anything else that GameBooster didn't close and close it yourself. Just be sure it's safe. Google it if you're not sure whether or not it's a necessary process.
4) Right click on "TESV.exe" and scroll down to "Set Priority". Change it to "High". *d
5) Disconnect from the internet so that any programs trying to access the internet can't do so and therefore take up less resources.
I hope this helps some people out who've been trying to get rid of Steam while playing. Good luck and enjoy your game!
*a - This works without changing to "Offline Mode". But in the interest of saving resources, I disconnect from the internet while I play.
*b - I haven't gained an Achievement while doing this. I'm not sure how Skyrim would react to trying to log an achievement into Steam while its closed.
*c - The white Windows cursor may end up appearing along with the Skyrim cursor. If this happens, keep trying Step 6 until it goes away, or just start over. I've never had it happen twice in a row and it rarely happens anyway.
*d - I've heard it's not a good idea to set any processs to Realtime. This would dedicate all resources to Skyrim but can be harmful. I have yet to try it. If you've got the stones, go for it and let us know what happens.
Edited by bben46, 04 August 2012 - 11:24 AM.