The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Checklist: CTD after Bethesda screen
By Ilja
Guide aimed to solve problems related to crashing after Bethesda logo, while attempting to load Skyrim. It is based on the post I made for the main forum. It has gathered enough replies and time to get posted here as tutorial.

Feel free to post questions and suggestions, if more matters arise around this topic.
1. Description

2. Problems
  1. Applications potentially interfering with Steam
  2. Language mismatch
  3. Wrong version of ENB binaries (Files)
  4. LOOT: Missing parent data for mods you have installed
  5. (TES5Edit) Still missing parent data for mods you have installed (Mods)
  6. Sneaky remnant patch for removed mod that didn't show up with LOOT (Mods)
  7. Workshop: It's crashing and I don't know why! (Mods)
  8. Workshop: Auto-update has made some of your mods incompatible with other mods (Mods)
  9. Broken master files (Files)
  10. Running the game with selective startup mode (System)
  11. Nothing works! (Files)

3. Tool download links
  1. LOOT
  2. TES5Edit
  3. Wrye Bash

4. Tutorial changes
1. Description
CTD (Crash To Desktop) after Bethesda logo usually means that one ore more of your mods is lacking the required data from other files: master data from mods and master files (original game files + official DLC files). Crashing game may be using wrong files or lacking dependency files for mods. Some mods may have also been updated to be incompatible with others.

Sometimes a third party tool or file that is not shown in tools we use may be the cause of these crashes.

This post tries to list the most common reasons for CTD after Bethesda logo and suggest solutions for them. It is not an official post, but based on my personal knowledge and experience. Thus, there might be something missing from my list or solutions that I have suggested. I will try to update this post when ever I gain new information that is relevant for this matter.

Original post and discussion can be found from here:

Additional Credits:
- grimus, for linking selective startup mode from Bethesda.
- Nazenn, for Wrye Bash instructions and visual example.
2. Problems
  1. Applications potentially interfering with Steam
    Some applications may interfere with Steam and force games like Skyrim crash to desktop after Bethesda screen. Link to Steam support list of these applications:

    Programs Which May Interfere with Steam Steam Support

  2. Language mismatch
    Using different language with Skyrim than with Steam or system may cause the game to CTD after Bethesda screen. This is a less common reason for the crash, but plausible one.

    Changing Steam language:
    • Steam client > Steam > Settings > Interface > Select the language you wish Steam to use (requires Steam to restart)

    Changing Skyrim language:
    • Steam client > Library.
    • Right click the game.
    • Properties > Language > Select the language you wish to play this game in:

  3. Wrong version of ENB binaries
    If you are using ENB, then be sure that you are also using binary pack version that your ENB was designed to use. Effects of wrong binaries vary from minor things to CTD after Bethesda logo.

  4. LOOT: Missing parent data for mods you have installed
    Run LOOT to sort your load order. Pay attention to number of Errors in Summary view and look them up from Details view. Note that missing data might also be missing master file data from DLCs that you have not installed. In this case you are using a mod or patch that relies to DLC content.

    Resource priorities and load order exceptions
    There are few files that LOOT does not yet place correctly. I have gathered them to post linked below. Post also makes notes about Resource Priorities, pointing mostly (but not only) to peoples using Mod Organizer mod and manage their games.

    Linked post also contains quick instructions how to run LOOT.

    Load order and resource priority basics

  5. (Advanced) Still missing parent data for mods you have installed
    LOOT is very accurate and should be used as primary tool to solve issues with load order items. However, there are few cases where it may not find a problem, especially with certain patches. Running TES5Edit or Wrye Bash can find the troublesome item from your load order.

    • Run TES5Edit. If you are using MO, then you must run TES5Edit trough MO.
    • The opening screen will list all your mods. Select “OK”
    • Let it run. Screen will stop and tell you it is finished when it is done. Close TES5Edit from clicking the red X in up right corner.
    • If TES5Edit finds a problem, then it will stop the process and inform you about what is missing. Close TES5Edit from clicking the red X in up right corner. Download or update the mod that had problems and run TES5Edit again.
    • TES5Edit should not ask you to save anything during this process. If it did, then select no or close the tool directly. Do not save or accept any save request (that should not happen) during this process.

    TES5Edit is not a mod for NMM or MO. You will need to unpack it for application to become available - as is the case with almost any other pack of files you download from the internet.

    Wrye Bash
    Wrye Bash can also be used to detect missing masters.
    When Wrye Bash is opened it will automatically display any missing masters by giving them a red checkbox on the left hand side. If you click on the mod with the red checkbox it will display a list of all masters on the right hand side including marking down the specific master file that may be missing. Visual example:

  6. Sneaky remnant patch for removed mod that didn't show up with LOOT
    - Workshop and NMM users: Disable your mods. Visit the default Skyrim launcher Data Files view to see what is still lingering there.

    - Mod Organizer users: You should not have this problem, if you have properly installed your mods to MO. All mod folders under MO are visible in the left hand panel. Check the Data Files, just to be sure. Then polish your eyes and see what you have left lingering around your Mods list in MO.

  7. Workshop: It's crashing and I don't know why!
    Make sure that files you have unsubscribed from, while meaning to remove them from your game, are actually removed from your game. Check your files in Data Files view against the list of mods you have subscribed to.

    Keep in mind that Workshop has been bugged out since early 2015. Refer to this post for more information:

    PSA: Current state of the Skyrim Workshop + Modding Resources by Nazenn

  8. Workshop: Auto-update has made some of your mods incompatible with other mods
    If it is not showing up in LOOT, then there really isn't something we can do about it.

    Make a quick glance trough most recently updated files to start troubleshooting. Look the comments below them in Workshop. Check the forum page, in case someone is complaining about the same matter.

    Use your favorite technique of disable and enable mods in groups to locate the problem file. Keep in mind that you will have to disable parent file mods for every mod that you disable at the same time, or game will only CTD from that error as well.

  9. Broken master files
    One or more of your master files (Skyrim.esm, Update.esm ect.) is damaged, or otherwise messed up. It needs to be fixed.
    • Exit Steam.
    • Go to Steam folder and remove folder named appcache
    • Close your computer and let it cool off a little, to clean your registry cache. Take a peek outside the window to see how the weather is.
    • Start your computer.
    • Start Steam. Let it load for a while, when it is inspecting your game files for new appcache folder.
    • From Steam client Library view, right click the game with your mouse.
    • Select Properties > Local Files > Verify Integrity of Game Cache...
    * 1 file will always fail to validate. It is related to how Steam detects your graphic card configurations and has no effect to your game.

    * If you had cleaned your master files with TES5Edit, you will have to repeat the process. Steam will consider them modified and replace them.

  10. Running the game with selective startup mode
    What if there isn't anything wrong with your mods, you don't have Xfire, your master files are intact and you don't recall messing with your Data folder? Some service or startup program may be crashing the game. You can try to run the game in selective startup mode, to start narrowing culprits down.

    I am unable to launch Skyrim past the Bethesda logo, it just crashes to desktop. What should I do? by Bethesda

  11. Nothing works!
    • Uninstall the game.
    • Delete your whole Skyrim folder.
    • From Documents > My Games > Skyrim, delete configuration files Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini. You don't have to delete your saves.
    • Close your computer.
    • Start your computer and install Skyrim again.
    • New Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefrs.ini files will be created, when you launch the game and set Options.
3. Tool download links
4. Tutorial changes
  • 11.09.2017
    - Updated the missing tool information and changed section 3 title.
  • 16.08.2016
    - Added: Link to PSA: Current state of the Skyrim Workshop + Modding Resources
    - Added: Language mismatch and instructions.
    - Changed: Xfire instant messaging -> List of applications that can interfere with Steam.
    - Changed: Cleaned the guide from unnecessary edits and remade the Index form.
  • 14.02.2016
    - Added: Note about LOOT instructions in Load order and resource priority basics
  • 10.10.2015
    - Merged: Resource priorities and load order exceptions to chapter 3. Renamed to reflect LOOT.
  • 5.8.2015
    - Added: Resource priorities and load order exceptions
  • 26.6.2015
    - Added: Link to Wrye Bash. Reminded by grimus. Thanks.
    - Added: Wrye Bash instructions. Credit: Nazenn.
  • 16.1 2015
    - Posted, based on the original forum post and discussion.
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Viggo Nov 5 @ 1:41am 
My game always crashes after the pop up that says "We will not set your grapichs" and then the launcher just stops working and after some seconds Windows says that skyrim has crashed. I dont know what to do please help me if you have any idea what i should do, Yes i have mods installed
Disarmingjet Apr 2 @ 5:35pm 
My game crashes everytime i enter a room or save my game. I dont know what to do.
Ilja  [author] Feb 15 @ 6:08am 
I also love how Steam does not allow me to edit guide comments, if I notice a typo. This is why I rather use the forum for extended conversations.
Ilja  [author] Feb 15 @ 6:08am 
I just love how Bethesda and Valve area both busy removing lings. Steam support has made me nuts and they didn't include any redirect links either.

At least they didn't wipe out their forums entirely, like Bioware did. All those technical tutorials and guides for Dragon Age: Origins were lost.

I will see what to do with that information. Thank you for pointing out that the link is now dead.
Avrie Feb 15 @ 5:28am 
selective startup link is no longer valid
Okay | Feb 4 @ 2:33pm 
even without mods it crashes what should i do
Ilja  [author] Jan 21 @ 1:02am 
VAC-bans do not have anything to do with Skyrim.
Cheesychicken Jan 20 @ 4:21pm 
"vacbannedconrefuseddialoge"??? it says its from steam servers dont know whats it doing there?
Schizo Doll Dec 9, 2016 @ 5:43pm 
Hello, dunno where the problem was... I had it in Czech = crash... English = works fine
strandedsnake Nov 1, 2016 @ 4:15am 
thank you so much for this guide, i downloaded LOOT and it helped me fix my load order, at first i thought my video card was to good for the game, turns out it was my load orders.