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CTD Fix That Truly Works - Simple, good for noobs like me

ctd skyrim loot crash

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Things to ALWAYS do

1. Save often; not quicksave or autosave, a full save.

2. Have about 4 saves you rotate, saving over the oldest one each time.

3. Load full saves when possible

4. Do not quit game with console comand qqq


Full saves clean up running scripts. A full save will have between 0-10 active scripts when you load them. Quicksaves and autosaves can easily have hundreds. Which would you rather load?


Read on. 


After a bunch of trial and error, having fun with the console, and generally frustrated with crashes I couldn't figure out, I finally found a method that has fixed every single Crash To Desktop (CDT). It's simple and just requires a little bit of maintenance.

I'll go over everything in three phases as if you don't have a clue except for updates and patches. The things you'll need:

(Links valid as of Dec 10, 2018. All directions based on Mod Mang version 0.65.2 and using Steam.)
Nexus Mod Manager: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/modmanager/
Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/71214
LOOT: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/1918
TES5Edit: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/25859
FNIS: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/11811

ReSaver: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/76776/

Part One – Basic Setup (skip if you have the list above installed and running)

Download all the apps above to a specific folder you create just for them. After installing Nexus Mod Manager (NMM), start it with a right-click and choose 'Run as administrator". If you Windows user account is not an administrator account, your life will suck until you fix it.

Once open, choose the MODS tab and use the green plus icon 'Add Mod from File' and grab the other four files from the folder you created (they are dropped into the Unassigned folder by default). Double click each file and let them install. A green checkbox will show next to them when complete.

At the top of the NMM, there is a search window. To the right of that is the drop-down choices for utilities. In the beginning, all of them will say, "Config…". We want to do config LOOT, TES5EDIT, and FNIS. Clicking on each one will ask you to browse to the folder the executable is located. By default, look in  C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\Data .  

For TES5EDIT, choose the data folder. For LOOT, choose the subfolder that starts "loot…". For FNIS, choose the subfolder starts "FNIS Behavior…". Now all three are ready to Launch from the NMM.


Part Two – Maintenance and cleaning (skip if you know how to use LOOT, TES5EDIT and FNIS properly)

In the order below, it's good to run this cleanup whenever you install any mod. It's ok to install a bunch at once but go through these steps before you start the game.

Step 1: Launch LOOT. At the top there is a triple-bar icon for 'Sort Plugins'. This will reorder your plugin list for the optimal load order. It's pretty infallible so learn to trust it. Once reordered, the icon will change to a button to APPLY. Do so. If the APPLY doesn't appear, it's because your order is fine and doesn't need to be changed.

Scan down the report on the right side. Look for any yellow boxes that warn you it found a number of ITM record, deleted references, and/or deleted navmeshes. These are the ones you want to clean up with TES5EDIT so remember them or write them down. You want to clean these one at a time. If you don't have any problems, go to step three.

Step 2: Switch back to NMM and launch TES5EDIT. It will ask you which mod you wish to look at. Right-click on the list and choose 'Select None'. Now find and check the mod you need to fix and click OK.

After a few seconds, you'll see a list on the left side that ends with the mod you chose. The others in the list are simply those your mod requires to run. You will ignore them and right click on the mod you are fixing. Choose 'Apply Filter for Cleaning'. Once it's done, right click it again and choose 'Remove Identical to Master Records'. Once it's done, right click one more time and choose 'Undelete and disable References'. MAKE SURE YOU SAVE THE CHANGES BY USING CTL-S. Now close TES5EDIT.

Flip back to LOOT and run the 'Sort Plugins' again. The mod you just cleaned should no longer have any warnings (if it says there are wild edits but nothing else, it's ok). Continue scanning the list for any others that need fixing and start step two again. If there aren't any more, go to step three.


Step 3: Switch back to NMM and launch FNIS. Click 'Update FNIS Behavior'. When it's done, click EXIT.


You want to run these three steps any time you load new mods.


Part Three – Fixing the Crash to Desktop
Even after you've done all that stuff, it will sometimes crash on transitions or when you move to a new area. The forums are full of people who experience this and can't find the cause. It's simply, the game sometimes leaves things laying around that it shouldn't. The more (or bigger) mods you have, the more crap it can't clean up. There is a quick in-game fix.

Step 1: Setup batch files in your game folder where the game executable resides. For me, my TESV.exe is my C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim . Where ever yours may be, you want to make two blank TXT files in that folder. Name them 'clean1' and 'clean2'.


Use the following script in clean1:
setgs iHoursToRespawnCell 1
setgs iHoursToRespawnCellCleared 1
set timescale to 200

Use the following script in clean2:
setgs iHoursToRespawnCell 240
setgs iHoursToRespawnCellCleared 720
set timescale to 20

Save them both.


Step 2: Now you can fix the last of your problems within the game. Start the game and load your file (if it crashed on load, find an earlier save that will load).

Once in game, check the in-game time and remember it (I use the mod 'A Matter of Time' to display the time on the HUD). Now, hit the tilde key (to the left of the 1 key) to bring up the game console. Type [ bat clean1 ] without the brackets. Close the console with the tilde. Keep an eye on the game time and wait for an hour to pass (it should take about 18 seconds). Once an hour has passed, bring up the console again and type [ bat clean2 ] without the brackets. Close the console with the tilde.



EDIT Jan 10, 2019
Thanks Pallentibus for pointing out the ReSaver app. While it's good for cleaning up problem files, it's real strength is maintenance.

Ongoing Maintenance: ReSaver? More like ReSavior.
Step 1.
After you install Re-Saver, start it up. After it helps you find the game file folder, it will show you all your saves, including quicksaves and autosaves. ONLY USE FULL SAVES. The others have way too many active scripts and Re-Saver can't perform miracles. 


Step 2. Once loaded, at the top, choose CLEAN > REMOVE UNATTACHED INSTANCES. It will go quick and give you a message on how many it found and removed. The choose CLEAN > REMOVE UNDEFINED ELEMENTS. Again, you'll get another message when it's complete.


Step 3. Choose FILE > SAVE AS and give it a different name. DO NOT OVER RIGHT the old file.


Use the batch file mentioned in Part 3, Step 2 about every week or so in game time. Use ReSaver every 6-12 hours of real-time. I haven't had a crash since. I know I just jinxed myself but these methods work so consistently. 

Edited by JoeDazzling, 26 January 2019 - 04:02 PM.




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I am not a noob anymore in modding but this post helped me a lot. ^^


But I have some concerns about that PCB command in the third step.

This is what the author of Wyrmstooth says about it in the Readme file.


A crash that happens consistently at a particular location may also be due to a corrupted

      ff* reference. Try running the pcb command in an interior then revisit the location after
      72 in-game hours (3 days). In most cases this kind of issue will go away on its own if you
      avoid that area for awhile.

And also take a look at this forum post.

So I would only use this batch script as a partially solution and don't overuse it because for me it sometimes seems to break the AI of the NPC's. I have no behavior changing mods of NPC's installed and sometimes when I launch this command they act weird. But I could be wrong and maybe it is just a weird coincidence.


Also a good advice is using the FallrimTools Savegame cleaner. This just works wonders for me. Everytime you uninstall or reinstall a mod, make a save, then quit the game and run it. It fixes a lot of crashes. Also never load quicksaves from the main menu because this also causes a lot of trouble. Always choose the real saves.




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I am not a noob anymore in modding but this post helped me a lot. ^^


Also a good advice is using the FallrimTools Savegame cleaner. This just works wonders for me. 


Thanks for the heads up about Fallrim Tools. I downloaded it and put it on standby in case I had a situation that my fix couldn't handle. Lo and behold, I got one. Coming back to Windhelm from Solsthein crashed it, and my fix wasn't touching it. I loaded Fallrim, ran it, and still no love. I was thinking it had to do with the location so I came up with a work around. It is ONLY a workaround as I have to do it every time I go back from Solsthein. Sooooo.....

Phase Four - When All That Fails going from Solstheim to Skyrim
I have experienced this only in this scenario because the first three phases work so well. It happened when traveling back to Skyrim from Solsthein, so I assumed there was crap waiting for me at the other end. Since the expansion is designed to work outside the main game "bucket" for improved performance (unlike Dawnguard), my fix doesn't clean up Skyrim so I was coming back to some junk that was specific to Windhelm that was causing the crash. It's like a broken door that can only be opened from the other side; you can't get in to fix it and you can't fix it until you get in. Here's how I fixed it.


The Center On Cell (coc) command in the console is basically a teleport. Open the console and start with the command and pick a location other than Windhelm. For example: [ coc whiterun ]. All of the main cities can be used as choices but the smaller ones (and other locations have very unique identifiers. You can get complete list from a page I found here:

Once you teleport (pick a remote place with the minimum AI activity like the Steed Stone [ coc doomstonenorthernpineforest01 ] ), run the batch files mentioned in Phase Three. This should get you back on track. 

Edited by JoeDazzling, 14 December 2018 - 06:13 PM.




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Using vortex, how to start FNIS?


That was the only instruction I could not follow (enabled it in vortex, but there was nothing else to do) and it turned followers and NPCs into manneguins essentially.



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I don't have a direct answer, but until someone chimes in with the directions for setting up the button in vortex...


One thing I'd note, either FNIS or Vortex (not sure which) needs the right path in its config for FNIS to execute on deployment. in mine it looks like this


C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Skyrim Special Edition\Data\tools\GenerateFNIS_for_Users\GenerateFNISforUsers.exe




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The TES5EDIT part is outdated and no longer works.




I also can't clean the Dawnguard dlc that loot says i need to, it freeze Tes5edit and than delete the esm from my game folder forcing me to put it back from my back game folder.




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Already tried all of it, still ctds.




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Same, I did all of this, I'm still ctd near Whiterun, even tho I have no mods that alters that city. 




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Hello, and Thanks Joe.


Re: The use of ReSaver.


So far, so good.


Signs and Symptoms:

Random CTD upon saving.  Usually, Launch game (via SKSE),

Normal Save (never quick, never auto) - Success

Fast travel somewhere,  Save --- Success

Do something or go inside somewhere, then Save --- CTD!

I get a few successful saves then CTD upon another save attempt.


Resaver, Clean, Unattached instances --- Yikes! it found over 1800

Clean undefined elements --- Yikes, again, it found over 550


I  did Save to another file name, upon opening SSE, it didnt  find it.

Oh well,

I just did a re-save over the same latest save file, and Resaver made a backup for me


SSE, loaded the newly saved save file, being mindful of the save number,

then I replicated the conditions most likely to cause CTD.  Subsequent saves held.

Next I spent about an hour saving often, doing things and saving at times that

were likely to cause CTD,  and saves held, no CTD.


Later I quit SSE and launched Resaver, and on my most recent save files,

Clean Show unattached instances - None

Clean Show undefined elements - None


Recommendation: Give  Mark Fairchild an award, for developing Resaver.


Testing the save file, after fixing it with Resaver is like watching Stargate,

"Chevron 7 Holding, Chevron 7 Locked" etc.

"Save 294 Holding, Save 294  Locked"  Yay!!!


Many thanks  for this message thread.

Happy Gaming!




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My honest advice?

If you tried all that you could, and still recceive crashes, its time to nuke your skyrim, and reinstall completely.

Trust me when I say the stress of trying to play a fun game that crashes too many times just when you're having fun is far more than just starting from scratch and reinstalling your mods again.


My second advice. If you go on ANY mod that has a bunch of unanswered bugs with no fixes from the mod author, or any mods that have like 6 foreums flooded with users complaining of ctd and bugs, thatt the mod author neglects to fix, or even if you see that the mod hasn't been updated since 2012, and this mod uses a lot of scripts.

My advice is to 

stay away!

It means that mod is more or less going to give you issues as well. 9 out of 10 the reason you ctd so many times, is propbably because you're using one of those mods that are having issues that went unaddressed. If you see there is no bug or forums on the mod site, go into the posts and see what others commented. A locked comment section is also a severe red flag something is going down.


Mods over on the loverslab side (besides sexlab) are also bound to give you your heaviest crashes.

Heavy scripted mods, or mods that add a whole bunch of npc to your game will more than likely cause crashes.


This is the true way to have a fault free skyrim game, just because skyrim within itself is buggy.

Even with USLEEP you're still bound to have crashes the more of these types of mods you have.


Skyrim is severely outdated as well, and we all know bethesda is known for being buggy programers.

Your best bet is to ensure these things are in order before things go wrong.


With that being said, you may find that you download a mod, it goes fine for months, so you download 50 more mods, only for your game to all of a sudden start ctd; that one mod you thought was good could be starting to bug out again.



Also, these guys: G.E.M.S Gameplay Enhancement Mods for Skyrim.

A good bit of them have severe issues; whose website isnt even active anymore :wallbash: when you click their logo.


Its a high probability that they could also cause ctd; I swear by their hunterborn mod, and never had issues.


Also, with that all being said sometimes its literally not even the mod author :wacko: Sometimes its just the mod users, as they do things like install a script mod manually---never do this, this is bound to give you issues, making it tougher to uninstall, and if so not all scripts might be removed, you'll need to go search for those. I cant tell you how many times I read a weird off the wall issue a mod user was having that I had no idea how to fix---like they'll say everytime they jump up in the air, they crash, despite the fact that their mod that they used was a realistic needs mod not even touching jumping. Things like this is also a problem, and can easily overwhelm mod authors who don't know who to help first. Sometimes not even other mod authors will help them solve their mod's issue either, and so they're at a loss for words like everybody else.



Use a mod manager---vortex, nmm, mo, anyone just use one. The only mods that are ok to install manually, are ones you're certain wont give you issues like realistic needs, 

a house mod, clothing mods, ect.


Even mods like Bruma beyond skyrim can be installed manually, but mods like wet and cold, I wouldn't install manually. Hopefully this paints a clearer picture

Edited by lefttounge, 24 July 2021 - 07:51 PM.

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