Fallout 3 - Game of the Year Edition
BenWah May 1, 2013 @ 1:51pm
ULTIMATE Fallout 3 Setup Guide READ THIS!
Fallout 3 runs GREAT with these easy steps!

NOTE: An easier to follow version of this guide,
with more pics & vids and more updated is clickable below:

Please don't be intimidated by this list!
Most people get it working with step 4 alone, which is just adding two lines to an INI file.
Windows 8 users often need to run an update shown in step 1.

1) Install Fallout 3.

Start Fallout, click Play, push the escape key and Quit.
It will validate your game, detect your graphics card and create a fallout.ini.
* Dual monitor users must disable 2nd monitor by pushing Windows key + P
* Causes fallout 3 crashes: teamspeak "overwolf", ASUS xonar "gx" & GamerOSD.

IF CRASHING WHEN CLICKING "PLAY" in the fallout launcher, update Games for Windows Live (click me),[www.xbox.com]. Double click the download, no need to click "launch" when it finishes.
If that doesn't work, click "options" and set your resolution to your desktop res, or try windowed mode.
Only in rare cases (badly modded prior installs and bad guides) might it be necessary to delete the 3 files found in C:\users\yourname\Documents\My Games\Fallout 3
(don't delete Saves folder)


2) OPTIONAL: "Games for Windows Live" may cause problems.
Let's disable it with a program specially for Fallout 3.
  • Manually download this.[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
  • Extract (unzip) the download.
  • Start the G4WL disabler anywhere by double clicking it
  • Click disable and exit.
  • If you have old GWFL save games, recover by moving them from C:\users\yourname\Documents\My Games\Fallout\yourGFWLname\Saves to C:\users\yourname\Documents\My Games\Fallout\Saves
(FOSE also disables it)

3) SKIP THIS STEP if using steam version.
If you have an old CD version of the game, Update to 1.7 with this official patch.[download.zenimax.com]
The CD version of fallout comes with a bad version of .NET, you should update it[www.microsoft.com].

4) This step solves most random and post-intro movie new game crashes!
Especially crashes when hearing the baby cry.
Shortcut: Optional step 6 now does this for you automatically.

  • Edit with notepad:
  • My Documents\my games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.INI
  • IMPORTANT: Must be this path in documents, NOT in your fallout program folder!!!
  • find (control F) bUseThreadedAI=0
  • CHANGE to bUseThreadedAI=1
  • Immediately after this line, ADD this new line:
  • iNumHWThreads=2
Click here to see example.

5) Autosaves & save overwrites eventually ruin game with crashes & corruption.
While playing press escape, settings, gameplay, disable all 3 autosave options.
Always save to a "New Save". Really! (CASM mod does this for you automatically)

6) Updated Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch
Optional but Recommended. Tons of bug fixes.
Download this[www.nexusmods.com] and run it.

STOP AND TEST GAME. Most people should be done at this point.

7) Only for "New Game" crashes BEFORE the intro movie plays:

Check the resolution set in fallout launcher options to see if it is sane, perhaps that alone will fix your problem.

Some computers do not have a video card, using only the wimpy graphics processor built into the CPU (Intel IGP). These users crash on the intro movie and need the following fix. STOP: Only use this fix if you need it!
If you have any Nvidia or ATI video card from the past 4 years this probably isn't for you and will needlessly reduce your game performance!
  • Click here[fallout3.nexusmods.com] and "download manually" (Pick a download server when asked)
  • Right click the download to extract it
  • Drag only the d3d9x.dll file to your Fallout folder, probably at:
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3 goty\
  • Reset your resolution in fallout launcher options. Click "advanced" button and uncheck water reflections/refractions for performance reasons with IGP.

8) ONLY IF you're still stuck:
You can try these on Windows 7 or Vista, but not Windows 8:
  • go to your fallout3.exe at
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3 goty\Fallout3.exe
  • Right click it and select properties.
  • click compatibility tab up top
  • disable desktop composition
  • also set your theme to "windows basic"

9) Only if still stuck on new game crashes before intro movie.

That's all the setup tips.
There are three more parts to this guide, you'll need to view them on page 1 of this thread or by clicking the main guide icon at the top.
Last edited by BenWah; Mar 20 @ 2:07pm
Showing 1-15 of 808 comments
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BenWah May 1, 2013 @ 1:52pm 

1) Install FOSE
  • Extract (unzip) this download.[fose.silverlock.org] (If you can't extract it, then install this.[www.7-zip.org])
  • Move the individual files to your main fallout3 directory (alongside your Fallout3.exe) typically at:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3 goty
Use a desktop shortcut of "fose_loader.exe" to start fallout 3 from now on!
* Setting this shortcut to "run as administrator" may prevent crashes.


2) Skip if you've already installed the Unofficial Fallout Patch.
Archive Invalidation lets mods change graphics.
Run this once (Program Version)[fallout3.nexusmods.com] and delete. Other methods are inconsistent.
Once done don't ever touch Archive Invaidation options in your Mod Manager.

3) Enable accessing > 2GB ram (on 64bit versions of windows)
Better performance and stability, especially with large texture mods like NMC.
  • Download this.[www.ntcore.com]
  • right click the download to extract it (unzip it).
  • run the 4gb_patch.exe
  • you will see a file browser --
  • Navigate to and open the fallout3.exe at:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3 goty\Fallout3.exe

4) Mod Managers let you activate and remove mods with a single click.
Deactivating a mod restores Fallout 3 files perfectly, as if it had never been installed.
That's a big deal, because juggling mods manually usually results in a mess that requires you to reinstall everything.
Add ALL of your mods via a Mod Manager to avoid these problems.

Choose to download either
You need to set "run as administrator":
  • Right click the Mod Manager's program icon, and select Properties.
  • Click compatability tab (top of window)
  • Click the "run as administrator" checkbox.
Sorry! This guide doesn't yet explain how to add mods to your mod manager.

When activating mods with NMM, in general choose NO when asked if the mod is an update, then choose "yes to all".

5) Mod Activation Order sometimes matters, since some mods overwrite the same files.
Fix activation order in your mod manager by deactivating all and reactivating in order.

Mod Activation Order recommendation
Unofficial Patch, NMC, FWE, [DarnUI, FWE support for DarnUI, Immersive HUD], MMM, EVE,
<All Other Mods>.

6) Without proper Plugin Load Order, everything breaks.
Download and run the Latest BOSS Installer.
After activating all mods, quit your mod manager and run "BOSS GUI.exe"
to automatically set plugin load order. Too easy!


7) FO3Edit (optional but beneficial)
Run FO3Edit[fallout3.nexusmods.com] after installing & activating all mods in NMM or FOMM.

When it finishes loading, right click on the left pane listing your mods, choosing "create merged patch", name it "Merged Patch", close & save. Confirm activation & order with FOMM/NMM.
This improves stability & handling of mod conflicts.

If you remove or add mods, manually delete "Merged Patch" from Data folder, then remake.
(Don't include "Blackened" when making merged patch, order patch before it)
BenWah May 1, 2013 @ 1:52pm 

Fast setup guide, not a substitute for docs.

Many major mods that work fine alone may conflict with others.
In Skyrim or Oblivion you can load 100 random mods, but not here.
I use all of these mods well together, but adding other major mods might affect stability (especially weather and lighting mods).
Mods that only change textures or meshes are relatively safe.

Note: Clickable Mod Titles Below

Updated Unofficial Fallout Patch[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
LOTS of bug fixes. Highly recommended.
Newly updated by Fallout bug fixing legend Tommy, adding his error corrections mod and many other community fixes.

CASM[fallout3.nexusmods.com] (automated save manager)
Without this, bugs and save corruptions will likely eventually ruin your game.
Simply add and activate with your mod manager.
Press tab to activate pipboy. In the "Items" & "Aid" section select "CASM options" & exit pipboy.
I choose to automatically save every 3 minutes.
If saving manually don't overwrite, always make a "New Save".
Delete old manually created saves by right clicking them.

NMC Texture Packs[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Amazing graphics improvements everyone should use.
I use the "Maximum Pack" on a laptop Nvidia 660m GPU.
Try "Performance Pack" instead on computers without gaming GPUs.

FWE (Fallout Wanderers Edition)[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
This mod is so good that I can't imagine playing without it.
Many prefer running "f o o k" instead, but don't attempt to mix the two.
Mega mod with huge list of features. Increases challenge, adds weapons, sprinting...
Manually download: part 1,2 & hotfix.
NMM ONLY: Must turn these 3 archives into 1 Before adding & activating:
Extract all 3 into a new folder called Data, being careful with overwriting order (hotfix last).
Right click folder to create an archive from it, and add via NMM clicking "add mod from file".

Activating the mod brings up a menu of checkboxes -- don't check followers.
I like Alternate Travel(motorcycle), Restore Tracers (choose one or none not both),
Vats Halftime (adds difficulty: vats doesn't speed you up as much relative to enemies)

MMM (Martigen's Mutant Mod)[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
New varieties of existing creatures, several new species too. Adds challenge and mystery.
2 Files: "Marts Mutant Mod 1-RC61 FOMOD Ready" & "MMM-6_2-update"
Don't activate Zones Respawn.esp, Tougher Traders.esp, or Natural Selection.esp, since you can activate their features from pipboy without them.

EVE (Energy Visuals Enhanced)[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Spectacular new energy effects, critical kills, weapons, impacts, sounds, everything!
Easy install, just download and activate.
The new EVE install uses a single merged "paradox" plugin.
If you have an older EVE install with 3 plugins then update.

Project Beauty (PB, Fallout Resigned)[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Far more detailed and convincing NPC faces.
I used this extensively but later decided they were too pretty for the wasteland.
* If mixing with any of FWE/EVE/MMM, must use hires not standard version.
Difficult install. Skip to 4:44 in this install video:

Blackened[fallout3.nexusmods.com] (better than foip)
Resolves conflicts between several major mods.
YOU NEED THIS if you mix FWE, MMM, EVE, or PB.
You don't need this if you only run one of those mods.
Obsoletes compatibility patches between these mods (MMM- Project Beauty.esp)
Goes last in load order, except for weather mods.

Project Reality[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Stunning sky & scenery improvement, weather mod.
In your mod manager, manually force its plugin to load absolutely last (overruling BOSS).
Highest recommendation for many reasons -- ease of install, stability, visual quality.

GNR Enhanced (Galaxy News Radio)[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Adds 100 GREAT songs that fit theme perfectly. Many enhancements and fixes, including better coordination of 3-dog news reports with quest progress.

Fallout Reanimated[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Better humanoid stances and poses with weapons.

Darnified UI -- smaller HUD elements for a cleaner, less obstructed view.
FOMM ONLY (easier) http://ui.darnified.net/wip/F3/dui_f3a11.zip
NMM ONLY http://ui.darnified.net/wip/F3/dui_f3a11.7z
BOTH also need this hotfix: http://ui.darnified.net/wip/F3/dui_f3a11_HF.7z
ONLY IF USING NMM: Replace Font section of Fallout.INI as shown below: (copy & paste)

Install order is critical for UI Mods!
  • If using FWE(Fallout Wanderers Edition), activate DarnUI support for FWE[fallout3.nexusmods.com] right after DarnUI.
  • If using "Immersive Hud" mod, activate it next.
  • If using "Better High Detail Maps" mod, activate it anytime after DarnUI.
  • I use all of these together and it's great! Add Faster Pipboy & Smoothlight mods too.

Immersive HUD[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Hides HUD til relevant or toggled with "i" key. Long hold "i" for options.

Better High Detail Map and Icons[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Activate after DarnUI Mod. Leave "custom icons" unchecked (they're too small).
Change uPipboyColor value to 2930678016 in:
My Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FalloutPrefs.ini

SmoothLight - Pip-Boy Light Enhancer[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Pipboy light tripled range & better quality. Activate by holding tab a couple seconds.

Faster Pipboy[newvegas.nexusmods.com] (FO3 Compatible)
Opens and closes pipboy fast. Safe mesh-only mod.

More Map Markers[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Choose "No" when asked whether to download markers. "Yes" reveals (spoils) all locations.

Stutter Remover[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
set max framerate by editing MaximumFPS = ??
in (fallout)/Data/fose/plugins/sr_Fallout_Stutter_Remover.ini
(settings above 54 may cause problems in RH_Ironsights mod)
If crashing on game exit, change bFastExit=0 to 1
Skip to 9:05 in this install video:

Mothership Zeta DLC Retextured[fallout3.nexusmods.com]

Enclave Power Armors Retextured[fallout3.nexusmods.com]

Robco Certified[fallout3.nexusmods.com] (Difficult install)
My favorite. Command robot followers, upgrade them, craft new & strange "junk bots".
Download both "RobCo Certified v2" and "RobCo Certified v2 Patch Pack v1-41".
Read docs in both.
"Robco Certified v2 Omnipatch.esp" is an included compatibility patch for setups with all 3 of Zeta (5th DLC), FWE & EVE.
If using "paradox" EVE, you must use my modified omnipatch which also fixes 3 gutsy bugs. [fallout3.nexusmods.com].
If using omnipatch.esp, do not load the robco zeta, eve, or FWE plugins.
You can easily screw up this mod by loading too many of the included plugins!

For my setup mixing FWE & EVE, I only load:
Companion Core.esm, RobCo Certified v2.esm, Companion Core DLC Addon.esp, RobCo Certified v2 Omnipatch.esp.
That's it! Don't use RobCo Certified v2 Version Updater.esp or Mr Smith's (very buggy), and I suggest skipping the many other options for a first playthrough.

*must pack away bots before entering zeta to avoid crash.
*to avoid vault 87 capture crash, in cutscene as soon Col. Autumn starts walking away, hit the console key. Type in coc ravenrock03

Personal Achievements Log[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Keep track of and update g4wl achievements, without running g4wl.
If using FWE "Alternative Start", grab holotape leaning against Vault 101 exit.

Optimizer Textures[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Increases performance without quality loss.
Run Ordenador, select Medium profile, target your fallout/Data/Textures directory.
* (re)install "Better High Detail Maps" after running this

Advanced: Activate "BSA" checkbox and target your Data directory. Click the BSA tab.
Carefully only select checkboxes for Anchorage - Main.bsa, BrokenSteel - Main.bsa, Fallout - Textures.bsa, Pointlookout - Main.bsa, ThePitt - Main.bsa, Zeta - Main.bsa.
Don't check installed mod BSA's, can wreck mod uninstalls.
(Ok to target mod BSA's before mod is added to mod manager)
Warning: Maximum profile & "resize down" compromise texture quality for speed.

Conelrad Civil Defense Radio[fallout3.nexusmods.com]
Theme fitting songs relating to A-bombs and the communist menace.
Historic Civil defense commercials.
Load plugin after GNR Enhanced if using both together.
Return to Vault 101 entry to activate.

Mods currently under evaluation for possible future addition here:
Fallout Street Lights
RH Ironsights (Tricky install)
MG's neat clutter
BenWah May 1, 2013 @ 3:20pm 

New Game crash with a codec pack installed?
find & launch "ffdshow video decoder configuration"
Select second line on left window "DirectShow control", verify checkbox for "don't use in" is checked, select "edit", verify Fallout3.exe is in the list, if not add it.

Can't even get to initial Fallout load/new game menu, locking on start?
One of your mods is looking for another mod that isn't there.
Usually caused by missing master, screwed up plugin order (try BOSS), or forgot to delete & remake merged patch after removing mod.
Or maybe you've reinstalled fallout 3 and need to delete your fallout.ini (DarnUI users)

Windows 7 & Vista built-in sound codecs conflict with Fallout 3, wrecking game performance. Simply install a klite codec pack to fix (note radio stutter fix below)

Radio songs stuttering? (Fix for codec pack users)
Run http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/installedcodec.zip and disable "LAV Splitter" & "LAV Audio Decoder"

Crash escaping base after "hold it right there"? Try default action mapping.

VATS lag in displaying percents? Unwanted mouse acceleration?
*Nvidia control panel, manage 3d settings, add fallout3.exe, change "Maximum pre-rendered frames" to 1, Apply.
*ATI GPUs: set flip queue size to 1 in radeon pro or ati tray. http://www.radeonpro.info/downloading/

Slow? In FalloutLauncher.exe Settings, reduce shadow quality, then AA.

I avoid most alt-tab crashes simply by pushing escape to bring up the menu before clicking alt-tab, so I no longer use the following. But I have left the info here for those interested:
Fake Fullscreen Mode Windowed - Alt Tab Fix.
Reduces crashes for some people. On my system, gives 20% lower FPS.
Put the extracted Fallout_Fullscreen.exe file in the same directory as Fallout3.exe.
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3 goty\
Right click this moved fullscreen executable and choose "create shortcut".
Drag this shortcut to your desktop & rename for future game launches.
Double click Fallout3 in your steam library (or run FalloutLauncher.exe), choose options, SET your resolution, and TICK the windowed mode checkbox, click OK, then EXIT.
Use desktop shortcut from now on to launch fallout 3. No gamma control :(

Horribly slow computers can drastically improve framerate by changing this line in:
My Documents/my games/Fallout.ini
Edit this line changing the 1 to 0.
Cripples postprocessing and lighting quality, easy to change back if you don't like it.
I played over 100 hours on a crappy laptop using this, couldn't have otherwise.

Stuck in scenery? Type ` (top left key) to enable console, "tcl", `, then repeat when free.
sgy0003 May 1, 2013 @ 3:58pm 
I want to hug you so much right now! It worked! Thank you very much!
tjhall1000 May 2, 2013 @ 6:22am 
but doesnt using mods disable achievments?

my issue is just random freezes tha tmake me have to end task the game, changing the fallout.ini like in step 4 did not help me there
sgy0003 May 2, 2013 @ 11:14am 
Originally posted by tjhall1000:
but doesnt using mods disable achievments?

my issue is just random freezes tha tmake me have to end task the game, changing the fallout.ini like in step 4 did not help me there

I don't think there's achievement for fallout 3 on steam
rikashiku May 3, 2013 @ 9:44am 
Aaaaand I love you.
Social Payload May 3, 2013 @ 11:52am 
I need some assistance, how can I access my saves after I have "installed" the fallout_fullscreen launch thingy? The game doesn't recognise my saves.
Jason and Scottie May 3, 2013 @ 2:23pm 
BenWah, I just did all the file downloading, extracting, editing, etc....stupid game still crashes when i click new game
Jason and Scottie May 3, 2013 @ 2:32pm 
here is the error details... can you tell what my problem is?
Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: APPCRASH
Application Name: Fallout3.exe
Application Version:
Application Timestamp: 4a40f18b
Fault Module Name: Fallout3.exe
Fault Module Version:
Fault Module Timestamp: 4a40f18b
Exception Code: c0000005
Exception Offset: 006ddf7b
OS Version: 6.1.7601.
Locale ID: 1033
Additional Information 1: 0a9e
Additional Information 2: 0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789
Additional Information 3: 0a9e
Additional Information 4: 0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789

Read our privacy statement online:

If the online privacy statement is not available, please read our privacy statement offline:

BenWah May 3, 2013 @ 8:43pm 
That error is a codec bomb from fallout 3 failing to play the intro movie.

Three things you can try depending on your setup:

If you have an Intel GPU (Intel HD 3000/4000 etc) and you're getting crashes when you click "new game" then try this:

If you have a codec pack (like KLITE), try uninstall it.
Or if you want to keep it and mess with it try
* find & launch "ffdshow video decoder configuration"
* Select second line on left window "DirectShow control", verify checkbox for "don't use in" is checked, select "edit", verify Fallout3.exe is in the list, if not add it.

If those don't work and you're running windows 7, you can also try disable desktop composition described in troubleshooting section above
Jason and Scottie May 3, 2013 @ 11:29pm 
Thanks so much1 It was awesome of you to take time to help....it was the file that tricks the game into thinking you have a different video card that worked. i have an I5, lenovo. Thanks again and God bless!
BenWah May 4, 2013 @ 3:37pm 
Happy to help, I love this game and want to help more people play it.
Lack Dos May 7, 2013 @ 10:01pm 
What do you do with the Intel GPU bypass thing? do you extract it and move it to the fallout folder or something?
Seneca Raine May 9, 2013 @ 10:22pm 
Thank you for this, it's exactly what I look for whenever I start playing an older game again.
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