Oblivion: Technical Support
This page is for technical problems with Oblivion – e.g., video cards, system software issues. It also lists probable causes and possible workarounds and solutions. For problems with game logic, see Glitches. If you need information on whether or not your PC should be able to run Oblivion, please see System Requirements.
- 1 General Crash Advice: PC version
- 2 Input (Keyboard/Mouse) Problems
- 3 Graphical Problems
- 3.1 White Screen When Starting Oblivion
- 3.2 Black Screen When Starting Oblivion
- 3.3 Washed-out Look
- 3.4 Googly Eyes
- 3.5 Black Screen
- 3.6 Black Screen or Game Crash in Exterior Cells
- 3.7 Slow Performance on GForce FX cards
- 3.8 Animation Slowdown (Abomb bug)
- 3.9 Graphical Problems with AGP Cards
- 3.10 Slow Framerates When Using a Dual-monitor Setup on an NVidia Card
- 3.11 Corrupted Text in Books and Quest Log, and Missing Textures in Imperial City
- 4 Sound Problems
- 5 Remap Mouse and Joystick Buttons
- 6 Other Crashes
- 7 Saving Problems
- 8 Emulation and Virtual Machine Problems
- 9 Mod-related Headaches
General Crash Advice: PC version
- The nature of Oblivion is such that it will crash occasionally, no matter what you do.
- There are two ways to minimize stability issues by giving the game more system resources:
- Freeing up existing system resources: This is mainly a matter of closing out of programs such as anti-virus scanners, instant messengers, Web browsers, and peer-to-peer software before running the game. For the more advanced user, disabling certain Windows Services can also help: Tweaking XP Services or Vista Performance Guide.
- Upgrading your computer hardware: This is another thing that requires some computer knowledge, as it will require you picking out new hardware compatible with your system. A good guideline for minimum hardware is the Recommended System Requirements. If your PC meets or exceeds those, it has enough power to avoid most crashes caused by having a too low-end system. Also, this website provides an enormous database of crash prevention methods. If you can't find the solution to your problem here, you might want to try that site.
- These also apply to running Oblivion in a virtual machine. Try giving the VM more RAM and VRAM, more cores, and sufficient disk space.
Input (Keyboard/Mouse) Problems
Controls Become Unresponsive After a Short Time
- Game functions normally, then interaction with the UI (menus,dialogue etc.) is halted. Game does not allow the player to click, access console, or use the keyboard/controller.
- DirectShow filters (codecs) conflict with Oblivion. Unlike most other games, Oblivion makes use of codecs to display the Bink videos (including the opening cinematics) and some of the sounds and background music. (Codec = coder/decoder, which allow your computer to understand the various video and audio file formats; with regard to DirectShow, codecs are also known as filters.) Unfortunately, some codecs conflict with Oblivion (source).
- Associate .mp3 (and possibly .wav) files with Windows Media Player. This can be done in WMP through Tools>Options>File Types and turn on "MP3 audio file (mp3)" and "Windows audio file (wav)". This is actually unlikely to have any effect, since people routinely associate these files with VLC or another application but still can run Oblivion.
- Install/re-install the K-Lite FULL codec pack (last confirmed working version: 7.2.0). An alternative (K-Lite has been criticized as including borderline malware) is Shark007 ADVANCED Codecs, known working as of March 2018.
- See also the Sound Problems section, below.
White Screen When Starting Oblivion
- Instead of being able to play the game, all you get is a white screen with GUI (and certain objects in rainbow colors).
- Your graphics card does not support pixel shaders 2.0.
- There are two different solutions, the cheapest of the two is to download Oldblivion, which will allow you to play on some Pixel shader 1.x cards. The other solution is to buy a new video card. To complete this, you need to identify what type(s) of expansion slots are available in your PC, and then buy a graphics card to fit in the slot. If you are positive that your video card does support pixel shaders 2.0, then make sure that you have up-to-date drivers.
Black Screen When Starting Oblivion
- Instead of being able to play the game, all you get is a black screen with GUI.
- Your graphics card (or virtual graphics card in VMWare, etc.) does not support HDR lighting. This is definitely the case with emulated PCs under VMWare Fusion (as of at least version 10.1.1).
- There are two different solutions, the cheapest of the two (and the only one in a VM) is to turn off HDR in the options provided by OblivionLauncher.exe or in the game's Video setting pane. The other solution (on a non-virtual machine) is to buy a new video card. To complete this, you need to identify what type(s) of expansion slots are available in your PC, and then buy a graphics card to fit in the slot. If you are positive that your video card does support HDR, then make sure that you have up-to-date drivers.
Everything has a "full-bright" appearance, and faces look washed out like someone is shining a spotlight in their eyes.
- Your graphics card (or virtual graphics card in VMWare, etc.) does not support bloom lighting. This is definitely the case with emulated PCs under VMWare Fusion as of at least version 10.1.1.
- There are two different solutions, the cheapest of the two (and the only one in a VM) is turn off Bloom in the options provided by OblivionLauncher.exe, or in the game's Video setting pane. The other solution (on a non-virtual machine) is to buy a new video card. To complete this, you need to identify what type(s) of expansion slots are available in your PC, and then buy a graphics card to fit in the slot. If you are positive that your video card does support bloom, then make sure that you have up-to-date drivers.
- You can see through the right eye of every NPC in the game; or some eyeballs seem to be out of their sockets, and/or some humans and elves seem to have beast eyes or vice versa.
- Mismatched eyes meshes and textures.
- Don't mix cosmetic mods. Or use Wrye Bash to resolve conflicts.
- The game screen would randomly turn black except for the user interface every 30 minutes or so.
- If the game must be restarted in order to restore normal operation outside of the menu, its likely due to the rendering engine crashing. This is likely caused by either an under-powered or damaged CPU/Video Card, a bad overclock, or the CPU or GPU overheating.
- Workaround 1
- If crashing or similar issues occur in other demanding games, make sure that the computer experiencing the issue has a power supply capable of providing at least 25W more power than the total power requirement of the system. Also assure that there is enough amperage on the 12 Volt-Rail in the power supply, even if the power supply is rated to provide enough electricity to the computer, if the rail providing power to the video card and CPU is incapable of providing the required amount of power at once (low amperage reduces the amount of electricity that can flow through a circuit at once). If you have overclocked any of the components, reset their clock speeds to their default settings, or if you're an advanced user you can risk increasing the voltage to the component slightly, though there is a high chance of destroying the component if this is done incorrectly. There are also various software issues that can cause this problem, such as outdated or buggy drivers. Some users have reported disabling HDR stopping this from occurring.
- Workaround 2
- Bring up the Console (with the tilde key, ~, on most systems). Type CAL and hit Enter/Return. Hit the tilde key again. Resets the game's graphics and brings the game screen back.
Black Screen or Game Crash in Exterior Cells
- The game screen turns black upon entering an external cell.
- Bad shader implementation in the video cards drivers, mostly seen on Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics when using Windows 7.
- Change the following values in the Oblivion.ini file:
- Integrated graphics cards are notorious for poor performance and glitches when using 3D games, due to the fact that integrated chips lack their own dedicated RAM, they must share the system RAM, GPU's optimized to save battery life and produce minimal heat output. Using a dedicated video card is recommended.
Slow Performance on GForce FX cards
- The game runs extremely slow on any of the GeForce FX series cards
- This is because Oblivion uses 2.0 shaders for almost all its graphics. Unfortunately the GeForce FX series has a very bad implementation of the 2.0 shader, thus the game will not run at any acceptable speed. More information about why the FX series is so slow can be found on wikipedia here: GeForce FX § Pixel shader performance
- Editing the Oblivion.ini settings and turning off specular, diffuse and ambient lighting will solve almost all the performance issues resulting from the slow shaders. It will also result in significant decrease in game appearance quality (disabling the ambient shader gives horrible "full-bright" looks to everything, removing diffuse shader covers places meant to be darker than the rest with big opaque surfaces). Disabling specular shader alone may help enough for your needs.
- Use a graphics card not from the FX series
- Also you can try Oldblivion, a projects to replace complex models and texture with simpler ones, which can increase the performance in low end video cards.
Animation Slowdown (Abomb bug)
- After several hundred hours of gameplay the following effects are seen:
- Animations slow down or freeze, for example flames cease to flicker
- Doors do not open. This affects doors that do not cause a new area to be loaded. They appear not to move as the animation is slowed down to take several minutes rather than a fraction of a second
- Visual effects from spells remain hanging in the air and around the player, obscuring 1st person view
- The bug occurs after several hundred hours of gameplay:
- 250–300+ hours (PC)
- 450–500+ hours (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- The Abomb bug. This bug affects all versions of Oblivion. Bethesda has acknowledged its existence but has not fixed it.
- Solution 1
- The Abomb bug can be solved by editing one byte within an affected save-game file.
- Utilities that will make this change include
- After the byte has been reset (from 49 to 40) you should not see the bug for several hundred further hours of play. If it strikes again, just reset the byte in the save game file with one of the above tools.
- The fix can also be applied to PS3 save game files using the above tools on a PC, but require additional steps to decrypt the saved game beforehand and afterwards encrypt and re-sign the file. These can be performed using a utility such as PS3 Save ReSigner.
- Solution 2 (PC only)
- In Oblivion's user folder (default location: Documents\My Games\Oblivion), edit Oblivion.ini, and change the line:
Graphical Problems with AGP Cards
- General graphics problems, such as artifacts in the introductory cinematic.
- This is possibly caused by incompatibility with the AGP Fast Write feature, which may cause data written to video memory to become corrupted.
- Disable AGP Fast Writes. This option can be enabled or disabled in the BIOS Setup. The exact method is different per motherboard. Consult its manual to find the correct method.
Slow Framerates When Using a Dual-monitor Setup on an NVidia Card
- Extremely low framerates if using two monitors.
- When using two monitors, the graphics driver attempts to use 3D acceleration for both monitors. The result is that the GPU is required to split its resources across two monitors.
- Go into the NVidia Control Panel and set the option "Mult-Display/Mixed GPU Acceleration" to "Single-Display-Performance-Mode", or simply disable and unplug the extra monitor when playing Oblivion.
Corrupted Text in Books and Quest Log, and Missing Textures in Imperial City
- Text in books is displayed correctly for a fraction of a second and then corrupts before you can read it(!) Also many surfaces have holes and other rendering faults occur inside the Imperial City but not generally elsewhere.
- This seems to be a problem with corrupted or buggy ATI drivers with the HD4550 card. It may be caused by ATI's automatic driver updates being buggy or conflicting with drivers installed by windows.
- On Windows 7 64-bit this was cured by uninstalling (via control panel/programs and features) the ATI Catalyst Control Suite and its drivers (reported as driver package version 8.961) which caused Windows to then reinstall driver version 8.951 (without any Catalyst Control Center of course). It is not clear whether the problem lies in the driver or corruption caused by the update procedure.
Oblivion can be extremely picky about sound processing on both high end sound cards and low end on-board sound. In some cases, the only solution may be to buy a new sound card. This can be especially annoying on laptops where buying a new sound card is not an option, so the only workaround that exists is to turn on subtitles. The first step in trouble shooting any sound problem is to update your sound card's drivers. (If your card was made by Creative Labs, this can be done here). If that fails to solve the problem, you may need a new sound card.
- Music can't be heard even though all other voices/effects are fine.
- Installed DirectShow filters (codecs) conflict with Oblivion.
- A fresh Windows installation does not have this issue, but the only known solutions are to:
- Manually correct DirectShow registries to initial state; or
- Or install/re-install K-Lite Codec Pack, which can do the same.
- Or try a program such as InstalledCodec to mass-disable and enable codecs until you find the one that causes the problem.
- Another solution is to use Nightmare2013's Codec Reset Utility 4.1 [or later], which is available here.
- Some Windows 8/10 users have reported success with an installation of AC3Filter.
- Newer versions of some codec packs have included automatic exceptions for most well known video games, so that the default DirectShow filters are used by the games.
Game Freezes on Music Track Change
- Game freezes for a few seconds when the music track changes within the game.
- Audio codecs that are handling the MP3 output on your PC.
- Remove or disable the conflicting codecs. These codecs include, but might not be limited to, Nero, Vodei, Moonlight codecs, as well as the ffdshow media decoder.
- In installations of Oblivion with the Shivering Isles DLC, NPCs respond to conversation initiation attempts with "I HAVE NO GREETING".
- Using the console command
coc locationto travel directly to a location you name and it is outside the Shivering Isles. Can also be caused by using teleportation mods.
- Re-enter and exit the Shivering Isles using the Door to Cyrodiil to correct the NPCs' dialogue.
No Voices in Dialogue with Characters
- Although other sound is all working OK, NPCs have no voice despite the subtitles and animation working as expected.
- You have an incorrect speaker configuration set in Windows. Typically, Windows assumes there is a center speaker in your setup even if you don't have one.
- Edit the Windows speaker configuration under Control Panel>Sound to indicate the center speaker is not present, and/or activate Channel Phantoming.
Game Freezes After Click to Swing a Weapon, Shoot Off an Arrow, or Use a Spell
- The game freezes after swinging a weapon or more likely shooting off a bow or spell. Requires a reboot or, if luckier, use Task Manager to forcefully close Oblivion and restart the game afterward.
- DirectShow filters (codecs) conflicting with Oblivion.
Remap Mouse and Joystick Buttons
- I don't know how to remap mouse buttons.
- Confusing user interface.
- Enter the game menu (Esc), Options>Controls.
- Click Controls button.
- Click the arrowhead" icons on top of the dialogue, by the word Keyboard.
- The menu will switch between Keyboard, Mouse, and Joystick.
- Left click on an entry to activate changing it. Then press corresponding key/button to assign it.
- It's likely you will still need to use the Oblivion.ini file for reassigning more than the basic three mouse buttons, and mods with external programs to capture and reassign functions of the mouse wheel.
- In some areas the game crashes within seconds of entering the area.
- Cause 1
- Requirement for specular lighting in the areas, while it has been switched off.
- Solution 1
- Set Specular Distance in the in-game video options to at least the minimum.
- Or manually set the parameter
bDoSpecularPassin Oblivion.ini to 1 if you switched it off before.
- You can turn it back off after you're past the problem area, though expect it to happen again if you return to this area or go to another area where specular lighting is necessary.
- Cause 2
- Corrupted master file. Casual crashes in Oblivion are to be expected, but sometimes the crash corrupts the master file causing exceptional crashiness in damaged areas (and likelihood for further corruption of the file).
- Workaround 2
- Be in the first person perspective mode. As soon as you enter the area, look straight down at the floor and run to the desired exit door using your feel (map, hints from the floor looks), without looking up. Of course you can't do much in such areas that way. It can get you, say, across the Skingrad castle courtyard though.
- Solution 2A
- Reinstall Oblivion. Your saves shouldn't be lost, but just in case back them up (they're in Documents\My Games\Oblivion\Saves in your user directory) then uninstall Oblivion (with Add/Remove Programs), reboot, install the game again, possibly reboot again. Most likely your savegames are still present, if not, recover from backup. Don't start with a savegame created in the crashy area; pick an earlier one if needed. If you would prefer not to reinstall the game, you can restore your autosave. Go to your Saves directory (commonly Documents\My Games\Oblivion\Saves under your user directory) and delete autosave.ess. Then rename autosave.bak to autosave.ess. Occasionally, these two savegames will not have been generated during the same save operation (if the game crashed while saving), so restoring the .bak will result in starting from next most recent autosave point.
- Solution 2B
- Stop overwriting existing save files and avoid using Quicksave. Disabling Quicksave will have a dramatic effect in reducing crashes. Supporting the hypothesis that corrupted saves more often cause game crashes (and more corrupted saves) rather than game crashes causing corrupted saves, it seems that clicking New Save every time will eliminate those pesky "crash on area transition" crashes. Autosave is still ok. For reasons unclear, following the steps in Solution 2 will also help reduce corruption of autosave files (though any crash during a save will still produce a corrupt savegame). If disk space is low, delete old savegames you're not likely to go back to, or move them to another disk.
- Some utility mods, including TimeKeeper, Streamline, and Dizzy's Safe Save, can be used to auto-save on a schedule, and after certain events such as cell transitions, to provide additional assurance of recent viable savegames.
- Cause 3
iShadowMapResolutionwas changed from 1024 to 256 in Oblivion.ini for patch 1.2
- Solution 3
- Open Oblivion.ini. Find
iShadowMapResolution. Change 256 to 1024. Close Oblivion.ini and save changes.
- Cause 4
- HDR lighting is enabled and your video card doesn't support it.
- Solution 4
- Just go into Graphics settings and turn HDR lighting off.
- Cause 5
- Internal Shadows are turned off. Sometimes going through a door will immediately crash to desktop.
- Solution 5
- Turn on Internal Shadows in the Video settings.
- Cause 6
- You've added or removed DLCs or third-party mods and resumed gameplay from a recent save.
- Solution 6
- Do a save-cleaning routine after every single addition or removal of a DLC or mod: Start the game, wait a moment for any scripts to load and do their thing, save again, quit the game, restart the game, and load that new save. If you need to, for example, remove three mods you were testing, you need to do this three times in a row, always using the latest save. It is still not foolproof. You can be more assured of success if you are certain you have discarded (dropped or sold) any mod-added items, and are not in a cell with those items or with any other modifications made by the mod you are removing or to be made by the mod you are adding. Your best bet is to find a nearly empty closet-like space that is its own cell. The well at the Cheydinhal Mages Guild is a good bet, since it contains nothing but a permanent corpse that mods are unlikely to touch. The safest way to test mods is with a new throw-away game (just accept the default character options and use the console to move yourself to where you need to go and set the stats and gear you need in order to test that the mod is working, then go back to your real game).
- This routine will not work by itself if you are removing a mod that provided additional player races, faces, eyes, hair, classes, birthsigns, etc., and are using any of them. To get rid of such a mod, you will first have to do one or more of the following in the Console to pick new, vanilla ones:
- Oblivion crashes on startup; I don't even get to the main menu.
- Cause 1
- Other programs disrupting disk operation, or you have old save games and settings in the (My Documents/My Games/Oblivion).
- Solution 1A
- Disable them. Most likely you'll have to switch off your antivirus (if it scans all files you access), Google Desktop (same), possibly any P2P apps running in the background (they are rather disk-intense and memory-heavy) and anything that could pop up a message from system tray during the game (email notifiers, instant messengers, automatic updaters). This is the recommended minimum, but for optimal performance and stability, turn off everything that is not essential to the system operation, freeing up resources for the game. You can safely switch this all back on after you finished playing. Firewall apps shouldn't affect the game stability (theoretically) so try leaving yours on, or if you feel unsafe, disable the network connection together with the firewall during gameplay.
- Solution 1B
- Move all files in Documents/My Games/Oblivion in your user directory to a different location. Start the game and see if it works. If it does, then you may copy your original Documents/My Games/Oblivion/Save folder back in.
- Cause 2
- Mods selected without having the correct master files
- Solution 2
- Check through all mods and ensure they have the required master files (dependencies) present and clicked on. Read the ReadMe files that came with them and ensure that you have installed all their requirements. The third-party mod manager Wrye Bash (which can be used in conjunction with others) can test for missing or out-of-order masters.
- Cause 3
- DirectX is missing newer d3dx9 revision files.
- Solution 3
- Download and install the newest DirectX End-user Runtime.
- Cause 4
- Installing a mod in the wrong folder, e.g. placing a Textures or Meshes folder with files in them, in the root game folder instead of in its Data folder.
- Solution 4
- Remove/move mods that are out of place. Almost all mods should go to the Data folder, unless otherwise specified. Because the game scans its entire root folder as well as the Data folder, do not store game utilities, mods you might try later, mods you are developing yourself, and other materials in the game folder; create something like a Documents/My Games/Oblivion Extras side folder for them.
- Cause 5
- You have multiple monitors.
- Solution 5A
- Disable all monitors except your primary display.
- If you have an Nvidia graphics card, right click on an empty space on the desktop, and select Nvidia Control Panel from the contextual menu. Under the Display tab in the sidebar there will be a line that says "Set up multiple displays". Disable all monitors except your primary display.
- If you have an AMD/ATI graphics card, open the AMD Catalyst Control Center app and select Display Management. Disable all monitors except for your primary display.
- Solution 5B
- Set the video settings to ultra-high and select the native resolution corresponding to your primary monitor before starting the game. (Does not require you to disable your secondary monitor.)
- Cause 6
- Switched to monitor with different resolution.
- Solution 6
- The easiest way to fix this without deleting your oblivion.ini file (which would delete any good changes you've made) is to edit Oblivion.ini. Find
iSize H=and change the values to the correct ones. So if you have a screen which uses 1440x900 you would make the following changes:
iSize H=900, then save changes.
- Oblivion crashes on Alt+Tab, the Windows key, etc. It also crashes on instant messenger notification, update confirmation request from my antivirus, etc.
- The Alt-Tab problem is covered in the ReadMe of the game may not work correctly after you switch to other app then back to the game. The problem, though, is that Alt-tab is not the only method of switching Windows focus to another application, and all the others cause the same problem.
- Keep the Task Manager (opened with Ctrl+Shift+Esc) open in the background while playing. After switching out of Oblivion, do not use Alt+Tab or the Task Bar to switch back. Instead, select the application in Task Manager and use the Switch To button. This will restore the window on your desktop but nothing renders. Now click the Task Bar to switch back to Oblivion. This works on Windows XP SP2 with an ATI card and the latest official Catalyst package. Sometimes has to be tried a few times. Alternatively, open any background applications you may want to Alt+Tab to (e.g. your browser opened to this website) before you start playing. Do not close these background apps while playing, or the game may freeze up.
- Workaround 2: Another way is to bring up the in-game Console before using Alt+Tab to switch away from Oblivion; this seems to prevent crashes when switching tasks. This, however, is not going to do anything about inadvertent app focus switching by hitting the wrong keys or by an background application forcing a focus change.
- Solution 1
- Don't do it. Switch everything unnecessary off. See Oblivion crashes on startup, above, for specific recommendations.
- Solution 2
- If you have a hardcore machine by modern standards, try running Oblivion in a stripped-down virtual machine (Oblivion dates to 2006, and only needs a good gaming machine configuration from that era). You can switch from the VM to another app in your real PC without affecting the VM, in which that copy of Windows's focus remains on the game. To do this successfully, you'll need to disable Alt+Tab focus shifting in the VM's copy of Windows. There are various approaches to this; one (documented in this forum thread) is using the third-party utility AutoHotKey to remap Alt+Tab.
- The game crashes occasionally, even though I did everything recommended. I have a low-end computer.
- You have a low-end computer.
- Save often, edit Oblivion.ini for less detail and fewer optional graphics improvements. Deal with it.
- Get a better computer. Oblivion seems to be very sensitive to things like shortage of memory, disk access timeouts/interruptions, etc. Maybe the patches will fix it, but don't bet on it; no more patches appear to be forthcoming.
- The game locks up after completing the Clavicus Vile shrine quest.
- Unknown. Seems to be a bug in the game code, related to the item that is placed in your pack as a part of the quest.
- See the quest page section Clavicus Vile § Bugs.
- Install the patch.
- The game crashes on startup, the Bethesda Softworks logo does not appear, and the music goes into a loop. This began happening all of a sudden and with no previous major problems. I am unable even to uninstall the game. I tried reinstalling from the disk, but it had no effect.
- Cause 1
- Unknown. Best guess, .bik video files get corrupted. You may have surpassed the 255 active mod limit. You can only have 255 .esm/.esp files active at once, including the official ones.
- Solution 1A
- Go to your Oblivion Data directory then its Video subdirectory. Make sure to back it up. Remove all the intro videos:
- 2k games.bik
- game studios.bik
- bethesda softworks HD720p.bik
- Oblivion Legal.bik
- It may be okay without them, or you may need to restore fresh copies of them with a game re-install. Or try the next option.
- Solution 1B
- Edit Oblivion.ini. Under the section
[general], change the line
SIntroSequence=bethesda softworks HD720p.bik,2k games.bik,game studios.bik,Oblivion Legal.bikto "SIntroSequence=". This will suppress usage of these files without needing to actually delete them.
- Cause 2
- For some unknown reason, Oblivion changes the settings for non-fullscreen mode and positions the game off the screen.
- Solution 2A
- Edit Oblivion.ini Under the section
[display], change the number at the end of both these lines:
iLocation X=-32000to either 0 or to the distance in pixels from the top left corner of the screen you want the game to appear. (iLocation X is horizontal distance, iLocation Y is vertical distance)
- Solution 2B
- Make a backup of Oblivion.ini, delete it, restart the game to generate a new one, quit, edit Oblivion.ini to restore unrelated custom settings from your backup.
- As soon as I get out of the prison (in the beginning) I can't save any more! What should I do?
- One possible cause (described in the ReadMe file) is pressing the Tab key while editing your character's name.
- Change your character's name in the Console:
player.SetActorFullName "Player Name".
- Load a save game from before you left the prison, and edit your character's name. Be careful while editing the name to not press the Tab key (this includes trying to Alt+Tab out of Oblivion; see the section Oblivion crashes on Alt+Tab, the Windows key, etc. above for more reasons to not do that).
- My most recent savegames do not appear at the top of the list any more, but instead appear randomly further down the list of saved games.
- On the Xbox 360, there is a chance it may be because the date and time are not set correctly.
- The Xbox needs power to maintain the date and time. Completely shutting it of results in resetting date and time. So keep the Xbox connected to a power source. Every time the Xbox 360 is loses power (due to unplugging, or a power outage), set the date and time.
- When I attempt to load my game I get the message "This save game is corrupt".
- Unknown, this can happen at random times, usually after a crash to desktop.
- In the Documents\My Games\Oblivion\Saves under your user folder, remove quicksave.ess and rename quicksave.bak to quicksave.ess. This may set you back in time a bit (could be up to 5 minutes of play time) but you will keep your game. Don't forget to make proper saves (not quicksaves) often.
- On Windows, I was playing Oblivion and suddenly there was a power outage. When power came back and I rebooted, I could start the game but my saved games don't work. The following message pops up: "Save game version is 0.00 and current version is 0.125, so errors may occur." I did the solution from the problem above, but now when I press Load in the main menu the game crashes.
- Your saved game has been partially corrupted but is valid enough to show on your load screen.
- Shut the game down. In Windows Explorer, delete your most recently-saved game then re-load Oblivion and try again. If it still doesn't work, try an older save game. If none of them work, something else is corrupt. Try backing up and removing Oblivion.ini, restarting the game to generate a new one, quitting and editing the file if necessary to restore some custom settings from your backup, then try the game again. If all else fails, backup your savegames and reinstall the game.
- On the Xbox 360, when I try to load one of my saves it crashes on the loading screen when its 3/4 of the way loaded. All my other characters load fine though. What should i do?
The game sometimes creates a "dirty" savegame, but the reason is not known. This happens on the PC version as well. That particular save file is corrupt.
- Load an earlier save. Downloading the latest patch seems to reduce the occurrence of this problem. If this does not work, delete all patches from your Xbox 360, restart Oblivion and try to load the dirty save. If you can load, save to a new file, restart the game, and re-install the patches when prompted.
Emulation and Virtual Machine Problems
- I'm running Oblivion in a Windows virtual machine, and it keeps crashing or giving me unplayable framerates.
- Insufficient resources in the VM, plus possibly any of the other issues outlined on this page. In short, you need sufficient resources in the real machine to run a VM that exceeds the minimum requirements for the game while also leaving your real machine sufficient resources to operate normally.
- Exceed the bare-minimum requirements for the game, and do not expect performance equivalent to a high-end, stand-alone PC. Be sure that your real machine can actually handle this. For one thing, your CPU speed has to exceed the minimum requirements of the game, and you need multiple cores, at least one for your real OS and one for the VM.
- Suggested minimums within the VM (in addition to those you need for your host operating system): 4 GB RAM, 2048 VRAM, 2 cores, and at least 10 GB free disk space at all times.
- Do not try to run the game at maximum resolution; drop it down to something like 1920x1200 and see if works okay, then try incrementally raising it from there. Most of the textures (even those provided by mods) do not exceed 1024, so playing at higher resolutions isn't doing much for you anyway.
- It's good to leave 10+ GB free space on the virtual disk, not only for routine file operations like moving mod files around, but also things like temp file accumulation, Windows creating Restore Points periodically, and lots of space for savegames.
- Make sure the Windows on the VM is fully updated (run Windows Update, restart, run it again, wait a while (can take up to half an hour to find all updates), apply more updates, restart, and keep doing this until it no longer wants to update anything.
- If you have a very powerful host machine, you can also try Windows 10. Various forum users report that Oblivion is more stable under Windows 10. The Construction Set definitely is – you may not be able to edit character face data in the CS at all under Windows 7 and lower, especially if also using Oblivion Script Extender (OBSE a.k.a. OSE).
- Failing that, try using Windows 7 SP 1. This is stable (it's what over 50% of the business world still runs on as of 2018), and it is way less of a resource hog than Windows 8 and Windows 10. You can also try Windows XP SP 2, for which this game was designed. Windows Vista is best avoided; it is unstable and even Microsoft replaced it quickly with Windows 7. Regardless, the game is quite crashy on XP and 7, so be prepared to save frequently and restart the game a lot. If you can get it to run for a full hour without crashing, you're in the happy zone, believe it or not.
- You may be missing various runtime libraries. Some mods may require specific versions of "Microsoft Visual C++ [date] Redistributable" ([arch]) [version]" to be installed. See their ReadMe files, and for runtime-related tips as recent as April 2018, see this thread. You may also need to upgrade DirectX.
- If you get a black-screen game aside from GUI elements, turn off HDR in the game's Video section.
- If you get a washed-out appearance, turn off Bloom in the game's Video section.
- If frame rates are still awful, try some optimization mods, but read their docs carefully (they are not all compatible with each other).
- If the game crashes and you lose the mouse cursor, do Ctrl-Alt-Del (on a Mac, this will be Ctrl-Opt-Del, using the Del key near the Home and End keys) and pick Start Task Manager. While the TM is open, the cursor should come back, and you can close the crashed app then close the TM.
- Use a dedicated, stripped-down VM just for this game. Do not use it as a general-purpose Windows machine with lots of stuff running. See above about closing other apps and processes. You do not want the game interrupted by things popping up and shifting the Windows focus away from the game app. It is safe to shift your native OS's focus away from the VM and back to it. You may find that the game runs better with the VM and the game in full-screen mode instead of windowed.
- Avoid options like VMWare Fusion's "Unity" mode, which can try to run the game in a stand-alone window without the Windows OS being visibly present. This is a recipe for shifting Windows app focus away from the game and inducing stability problems.
- I am using a Mac or Linux box which can also run Windows applications. When I boot into my native OS and open up Oblivion and press Play, it quits and gives a message that Oblivion has "stopped working"; or it works for a while then I get a crash or other problems.
- Unknown in specific detail. Generally speaking, running Windows apps directly in macOS or Linux, by any means (including Wine, CrossOver, VMWare's Unity option, etc.) is a very iffy proposition, and is more difficult to pull off the more complicated the app.
- Solution 1
- Delete the Documents/My Games/Oblivion folder under your user directory. Oblivion will generate a new one. This may or may not work.
- Solution 2
- You are better off using Boot Camp or a Linux-based bootloader to boot directly into Windows to run Windows apps. If you have an old Mac, with a PowerPC chipset, you can't do this. Same goes for Linux machines that do not use x86 or x64 instruction sets.
- Solution 3
- If you have a powerful enough machine, you can run Oblivion in a stripped-down Windows virtual machine, with VirtualBox or VMWare or some other such package. The game will have no idea it's not running on a real Windows PC, and should work (but see above main entry for VM-specific tips).
- I'm running a lot of mods, in Windows, and the game keeps crashing, I get super-slow frame rates, textures go missing, etc.
- Modding Oblivion is complicated and has a steep learning curve, which you have not yet ascended.
- Below is a basic setup to get you started, followed by some step-by-step advice that may work for you. It does assume "some clue".
- First, uninstall all mods. Preferably, uninstall and reinstall the game, to restore vanilla resources you've overwritten willy-nilly, and do not install it into C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86) (which is known to cause various modding-relating problems due to administrative permissions issues).
- Now install, at bare minimum:
- The official DLCs. It's better to install now and disable ones you don't want later than to try to add them later, especially since they need to be patched, and mods depend on them pretty much randomly (e.g., someone liked an object in Vile Lair and included it in their mod, creating a dependency).
- The final official cumulative patch, and the Unofficial Oblivion Patch Project's patches (there's a main one, one for Shivering Isles, and a third for the other official DLCs).
- Oblivion Script Extender (OBSE a.k.a. OSE), required by innumerable mods. You will eventually need this unless you only have a tiny handful of mods in mind and you know for a fact they do not use OBSE.
- BOSS, which sorts your load order properly for most well-known mods – handles about 95% of them.
- BOSS User List Manager, which helps you insert mods into the load order when BOSS doesn't know about them yet. (BOSS has a built-in tool for this, but mere mortals generally cannot understand it).
- TES4Edit, which can clean mods for you (it's also a mod editor with more features than the official TES4 Construction Set, but we don't care about that right now).
- Wrye Bash, which identifies load order problems, manages installation and uninstallation (though it can be used along with other mod managers), merges simple mods to free up mod slots, and can fix various problems.
- ArchiveInvalidation Invalidated, which eliminates one tedious bit of mod maintenance.
- Backup your entire vanilla Data folder. Despite the best efforts of mod management, you can easily break things. Keep this backup somewhere else (not inside Oblivion's game folder).
- Read, read, read the documentation of all these tools. You won't understand it all at first, but you need to absorb the basics.
- Put all your potential mods in one place (not under Oblivion's game directory), still in their archives (to save space, you can convert ZIP and RAR archives to 7Z format). Make sure their contents are not deeply nested. You may have to re-archive some so that material intended for the Data folder is no deeper in the archive file than two levels. In this mods storage location, Wrye Bash will eventually create a Bash Installers subfolder, which is where you'll ultimately move the mod archives you intend to use in the current game, except for those that need to be managed by another app.
- Run Wrye Bash and click on its Installers tab, and allow it to run the initialization of its built-in mod manager, BAIN. Tell it where you're storing your mod archives. Quit Wrye Bash.
- Edit Wrye Bash's bash.ini, to uncomment and provide paths to tools you have installed which it did not auto-identify on first run. It needs to know how to auto-start both TES4Edit and BOSS at very least. You do not need to download and install all the tools Wyre Bash supports, just these basics (most of them are for creating/editing mods, meshes, and textures).
- Move all the mod archives you want (this does not install them, just centralizes them) into Bash Installers other than those in OMOD format.
- Run boss_gui.exe, and turn on the options Show BOSS Log On Completion, Boss Log Format: HTML, Sort Plugins, and Update Masterlist. Now close it; you don't need to actually click Run BOSS yet, though doing so is harmless and lets you see what its output is.
- Start Wrye Bash. Use WB's Installers tab (or a third-party mod manager) to install mods; you pick one, right-click, and select Install. Do this carefully: you need to be aware of load order even at this stage. For example, if you are using a texture replacer, it needs to be added very late in the load order, or intermediary mods that are not fully "clean" are liable to re-include vanilla textures that will overwrite your custom ones.
- If necessary, use a third-party mod manager for certain installs even if you normally use WB for this. E.g., mods packaged in OMOD format will require Oblivion Mod Manager (OBMM) or another OMOD-capable app, like TESModManager (TMM).
- In the Mods tab in Wrye Bash, right-click the File header and select Sort by>Load order. You need to generally keep it that way. In the Installers tab, you might wish to sort by archive filename. Tip: Never rename actual mod files (this will break dependencies), but it's often helpful to rename mod archives before installing, to closely match the name of the included .ESP file, to make it easier to relate the contents of the Mods and Installers tabs.
- At the bottom of WB's Mods tab, there should be an icon for BOSS. Right click it and pick "BOSS Disable Lock Load Order" if it is not already active (this allows BOSS to reorder the load order within WB, and this is important). Left click the BOSS icon to run BOSS to sort the load order. If BOSS reports unknown mods in its output (which should pop up in your default Web browser), you should use BOSS User List Manager to tell BOSS where to sort them. (That's usually right after very similar mods it already knows about. E.g., if you've added a new armor called XYZ Armors, adding it right after another armor mod that starts with "X" is probably fine. The BOSS list is huge and divided into sections; you need to add a new mod to the right section, and lower in the list than mods it is dependent upon). If you've added a mod that makes significant changes to gameplay, you may need a deeper understanding of what it is doing, in relation to other mods, in order to place it correctly. If this is all too daunting, you can try just allowing BOSS's default behavior of dumping all unknown mods at the end of the list, and hope for the best.
- In WB's Mods tab view, next click the icon for Mod Checker, and in it click Scan for Dirty Edits. For each item, including any official DLCs but not including any of the Unofficial Patch files, you need to use TES4Edit to clean any that say "Contains dirty edits, needs cleaning." We don't (probably) care about ones tagged "ITM" and maybe not ones tagged "UDR", just the ones WB says need cleaning, at least for now.
- To clean each dirty mod, do this sequence for each one in turn:
- Click the icon at the bottom of WB for TES4Edit (or run TEST4Edit manually).
- In TES4Edit's list of mods, right click and pick "Select None" to clear all checkboxes.
- Turn on the checkbox next to the dirty mod you need to clean. Also turn on the checkbox next to any dependencies this mod has. This means you must read the mod's ReadMe and be well aware of its dependencies. This is a good time to re-read all of TES4Edit's documentation. Wrye Bash itself knows what many dependencies are (the hard-coded ones); click the mod file in WB's Mods list, and the Masters sidebar will show you (if you can't read it, click-and-drag the grey bar below Masters to expand its view).
- In TES4Edit, with the mod and its dependencies checked, click OK and wait for the mod and dependencies to load. Click once on the mod in question. Now right-click it, and pick Apply Filter.
- In Filter pane, turn off all options except "Conflict status inherited by parent", and click Filter.
- After the filter runs, click once on the mod, then right-click and pick Remove "Identical to Master" Records. You get a mod-edit warning; don't worry, a backup copy is made automatically unless you tell it not to. You can optionally also do Undelete and Disable References, but this should not be done on any mod that is intentionally removing something or the removal will be undone. E.g., if the point of your mod is to delete a particular annoying, non-essential NPC and you use this option, the NPC deletion will be reverted and the mod will not work.
- Close TES4Edit and it will offer to save the cleaned mod. Let it do so.
- Do all this again for each mod to be cleaned (except any Unofficial Patch files; they are pre-cleaned and anything "unclean" they are doing is very intentional). In a text file, make a list of those you have cleaned (or retain Data\TES4Edit Backups indefinitely as a "living list"). You are likely to find that WB still thinks a few of them, including official DLCs, still have dirty edits if you re-run Scan for Dirty Edits later. Your text list or backups are a reminder of which you've already cleaned.
- Scan your load order in the Mods tab of Wrye Bash for anything yellow or red, to check for stuff still being in the wrong order. If you find something is, re-run BOSS. If it's still in the wrong order, this means BOSS's master list has an error in it (this is rare but can happen). You should manually drag-and-drop the out-of-order item to be after the file it has a dependency on, in WB's Mods list.
- Now you need to create a bashed patch. Find Bashed Patch, 0.esp in Wrye Bash's Mods list. Right click it, and pick Rebuild Patch.
- You'll probably get a pop-up saying "Deactivate these mods prior to patching". You can usually just click OK here and it will do so for you; what it's doing is preparing to merge these into a single mod (this is not permanent so do not fret). One exception is if you are running HrmnsOblivionScriptOptimization [which BOSS's maintainers advise against using]; this mod is one that WB thinks is mergeable but which is not; merging it will cause crashes. If WB offers to merge that one, uncheck it. You do want to create this bashed patch, since it does more than free up some mod slots, but also applies various fixes, and merges leveled lists.
- The "Update Bashed Patch, 0.esp" window provides a bewildering array of options. You do not want to touch these without poring over the documentation again (many of them are not as intuitive as they sound and have particular requirements), with the following exceptions:
- Turn off Import NPC Faces, unless you are planning to play a specific mod-added race in the current game (if so, enable only that one). This option of WB has known problems, such that the character generation process can crash if you allow various mods to add lots of faces, hair, eyes, etc., as playable resources.
- For the same reason, under Race Records, uncheck every single thing that appears here in the top (Race Mods) section, other than a race mod you intend to use for your player character. If you still have trouble with character generation, rebuild the patch, but turn off more options in this pane such as "Merge Eyes", "Merge Hairs", "Races Have All Eyes", etc.
- Otherwise, leave all bashed patch options at WB's default values unless and until you really know what you are doing.
- Click Build Patch; this will take several minutes. Allow it to activate the bashed patch if prompts you about this.
- You can now run Oblivion with your mods. If you have Oblivion Script Extender installed, you must do this with obse_loader.exe never with Oblivion.exe. Maybe make a "Play Oblivion" shortcut to obse_loader.exe. You can also use the Wrye Bash icon named Launch Oblivion [version number] + OBSE [ver. no.] (which just runs obse_loader.exe for you).
- Important: If you add/remove mods (via any means) you need to re-run Wrye Bash, and from within it re-run both BOSS and Rebuild Bashed Patch (in that order).
- Time saver: Because BAIN installs mods from their archives in Bain Installers, if you reinstall a mod, it will overwrite your TES4Edit-cleaned version with the original. You can prevent this by extracting the mod's archive to a folder, creating a --uncleaned subdirectory in it, moving the uncleaned original .ESP into it, and copying your cleaned .ESP to where the original was, then throw away the old archive and re-archive the mod's folder to a new 7Zip [or whatever] file with the original archive name. BAIN ignores anything that starts with --, so it will install only your cleaned version, if you uninstall then re-install the mod later.
- If you still crash or lag out constantly, and have been through the rest of this Technical Support page, then you have some buggy, conflicting, or mis-installed mods you still need to remove. Try disabling them one at a time and doing a save-cleaning routine, but you may find that you have to start from scratch with a fresh install and add mods one at a time until you are certain they will work for you. You need to rebuild the bashed patch after making any changes before running the game again. One frequent source of problems is fancy clothing/armor mods, which may use excessively high poly counts that your computer (or VM) cannot handle, and/or which may just be buggy coding work. Beware any mod the description or ReadMe of which says "this is my first mod". Check the Posts and Forum tabs, if available for the mod in question, at Nexus Mods (or similar user-comments features at other sites like Great House Fliggerty) to see if others have reported problems with this mod and possible solutions (sometimes it's as simple as a one-character Oblivion.ini tweak). See also this FAQ/checklist of mod use troubleshooting tips. Some "deep" mods, like memory managers, are notoriously difficult to get working properly, and may require specific old versions of Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime, which itself may be a chore to install on Windows 7 or later; for tips as recent as April 2018, see this thread.
- I'm running a lot of mods, in a PlayStation or Xbox version, and the game keeps crashing, I get super-slow frame rates, textures go missing, etc.
- Modding Oblivion is complicated, and on a console platform must be kept simple because most mod management tools are unavailable to you.
- Uninstall all mods you don't absolutely insist on. If possible, use Windows tools like TES4Edit to clean unclean mods. But mostly, you just need to do without a complicated mod load order if you are not playing the PC version of the game. For the brave, various Web forums have some advice on modding the game in Windows, then transferring these files to the console platform. However, since this entails using Windows anyway, you might as well just run the Windows version of the game and reserve the console version for the vanilla experience.