Oblivion Mod:Preparing for Mods

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Preparing your setup for installing mods is one of the most important steps of modding Oblivion. If you do not take take any steps to form some kind of plan in your mind, a modded setup can quickly spawn a nightmare array of problems. Think of this as one of the preventive steps against making a mess of your Oblivion setup. First and foremost, you need to choose a method by which you will install mods. Secondly, you should install utilities to help you manage mods and the rest of your Oblivion setup.

Installation Methods[edit]

Reservations about mixing manual installation and utility installation[edit]

  • Mod management utilities cannot intelligently distinguish between files installed by the utility and files installed manually. In OBMM's case, that can cause the program to give false errors. OBMM really has trouble when it comes to plugins added or removed "behind its back."
  • It is harder to cleanup behind manual installation, and the presence of manually installed files that differ from those installed with the utility can result in the utility not cleaning up completely either. Again, that problem is more pertinent to OBMM.
  • OBMM and BAIN have archive invalidation automatically by default, but obviously that is not the case for manual installation. There are independent tools that can handle archive invalidation, so manual installation users do not have to worry, but things become a bit messier when you use multiple archive invalidation methodss for different files.

Reservations about mixing BOSS and BAIN Installation are the same as the first two points made above. One way to think about it is that BAIN's Installation method is much closer to automated manual installation than is OBMM's method of installing mods from OMODs. OBMM is much more sensitive to changes in the Data folder that it does not control. Certain methods of using these two brilliant tools together are pretty much worry free, however. You can mix their use in any way you wish, but the following will only prescribe some of the most secure options. The best way to get any of these tools and methods to work well together is to become comfortable with their use and how mods overlap each other.

Mod Installation options[edit]

The options described below are not exhaustive.


Wrye Bash's Installer, One of the two most advanced mod installation tools


  • Prioritized Installation - you can install all of your mods at once and have the right mods get the final override, very useful for mods with overlapping files (i.e., overhauls and cosmetic+body mods)
  • Intelligent conflict viewer - see file overlap between packages either installed or uninstalled
  • Takes mods packed in archives - download 7-zip, ZIP and RAR files straight to your Bash Installers folder, no need for special packaging like OBMM's OMOD format
  • Anneal - change the install configuration of a package and (un)install only the necessary files instead of having to reinstall the entire mod, unlike OBMM
  • easy uninstallation - right-click on a package and choose "uninstall"
  • BSA Redirection - automatically handles archive invalidation


  • no scripting - cannot edit the Oblivion.ini upon installation (but that can be handled through Wrye Bash's INI tweaks feature), the process of choosing which files you should install is not automated (but there are packaging guidelines modders use to help guide the process)
  • requires - at least two additional downloads to install properly


The User's First Installer


  • simple - no learning about BAIN and OBMM


  • hard to uninstall - unless you only install one mod, it is hard to figure out which files to remove (there is a utility, TES4Files, which can be used to help unistall, making that 2 nearly required utilities)
  • no automatic BSA redirection - have to get a tool like ArchiveInvalidation Invalidated! to take care of archive invalidation or manual manage entries in an archiveinvalidation.txt file
  • user really has to read ReadMes
  • no conflict detection, no scripting, nothing

Oblivion Mod Manager (OBMM)[edit]

The second most advanced Oblivion Mod managing utility, long preceding Wrye Bash...


  • scripted installation - user has to do less work if the mod author adds a script for the OMOD version of the mod, scripts can edit the Oblivion.ini
  • easy uninstallation - deactivate the OMOD
  • BSA Redirection - automatically handles archive Invalidation
  • has a BSA View/Edit/Repacking tool
  • BSA Reset Timestamps function - this is needed when a BSA's timestamp is more recent then data files that you want to override its contents, it sets the timestamp back to 01/01/2006, in utilities->archive invalidation
  • run a single EXE to install it


  • poor conflict detection - really annoying when you use cosmetic, body and companion mods that contain different versions of the same files
  • sensitive to external changes - the worst is when you move plugins, it is sensitive to the plugins list at the time an OMOD was activated
  • memory issues - you have to restart the program after installing a large amount of data or it will freeze, lose track of everything that happened that session, and show a bunch of conflicts that do not really exist (because it had installed those files and does not know it)
  • does not naturally support prioritized installation - you can use OMOD groups or specific naming schemes to imitate this


all right, best of both worlds

  • use BAIN as basically main mod installer
  • use OBMM to install shaders, big mods that do not overlap with other mods (i.e., music packs that do not overwrite the original tracks), make INI edits, install menu video replacers (because it can edit the Oblivion.ini to use a different video for the different main videos, which avoids overwriting the original videos)
  • use OBMM for its BSA tools

BAIN as Primary Installer[edit]

never have "unknown" data file conflicts issues

  • use BAIN to install all mods excepting shader packages
  • use OBMM for BSA tools
  • take care of my Oblivion.ini myself, keep backups in and INI project folder in the Bash Installers folder until I convert everything to INI tweaks that can simply be installed through Wrye Bash

Mod Management Utilities[edit]

These are the download and installation instructions for the most recommended utilities for Oblivion. You must have Oblivion installed already. Download the latest versions of the following tools, regardless of beta status unless specified otherwise. Do not let the "beta" tag scare you. Install each utility in the order presented. It might be good to create an Oblivion utilities folder somewhere to store these downloads (not the installed apps) in one place. Also, using Wrye Bash, does not at all mean that you have to use BAIN. With all of its features Wrye Bash is "the" utility of Oblivion's utilities.

Warning! You must run the executables as an administrator to install and use most of these applications. Either use an administrator account or right-click on the relevant application and modify its properties to "run as administrator".

Steps to the Recommended Setup[edit]

Backup the original data files[edit]

- After doing this, the game can be reverted to the "Vanilla" state by basically clearing out the Data folder and replacing these files.

  • Make backups of Shaders (folder), Video (folder), Music (folder), all BSA archives.
Note: The orignial Textures folder contains one texture file, TerrainNoise.dds, which is already packed in the textures BSA. There is no reason to back up or keep that folder, as it only contains an unneeded duplicate. Delete it, if you wish.

Install 7-zip or Another File Archiving Utility[edit]

Many mods are packaged in .7z archives, which WinZIP and non-full version of WinRAR cannot handle, and this file archiver is fast and free.

  • Download 7-zip.
  • Run the executable, which may require a reboot.
Note: The installation may prompt you to restart your machine. Do that now, as you will need it in later steps.

Install a C++ Runtime Library Update[edit]

This update is required for some utilities and mods, most notably OBSE. It is not unlikely that this update is already installed. If that is the case, the installer will discover it and abort the installation, which is fine.

  1. Download Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Library 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package .
  2. Run the executable.

Install The Elder Scrolls Construction Set (TESCS) (OPTIONAL)[edit]

This is the official plugin-creating utility. If you want to make mods or tweak plugins, this is a useful tool.

  1. Download TESCS.
    • Run the executable.

Install Oblivion Mod Manager (OBMM)[edit]

OBMM, Timeslip's mod management tool, is probably the oldest, most-respected utility for Oblivion. A new user can do a lot with only this tool.

  1. Download OBMM (executable version).
  2. Run the installer.
  3. Launch OBMM
  4. Go to "settings" (in the right sidebar)
  5. (Still in settings) check "Never modify load order" (unless you have no intention of installing Wrye Bash)>> notes: This step anticipates using BOSS and Wrye Bash to modify your load order
  6. Non-BAIN users, Click on Utilities, in the sidebar.
  7. Non-BAIN users, Choose 'Archive Invalidation'.
  8. Select BSA Redirection. (See Archive Invalidation: Overview --devnull.devakm for more information.)
  9. Close OBMM.

See OMOD Installation for more information regarding OBMM's OMOD files.

Install Wrye Bash[edit]

Oblivion Mod:Wrye Bash/Installation

(OPTIONAL) Install TES4Edit[edit]

This is a powerful plugin-editing tool. If you want to investigate inter-plugin conflicts or make a quick patch, this is the utility to use. It is not necessary to get your first modified setup running, but later on you will probably hear about its usefulness for cleaning and tweaking plugins.

  • Download TES4Edit.
  • Extract the archive into the Oblivion folder.

Install Better Oblivion Sorting Software (BOSS)[edit]

BOSS is a load ordering utility. Maintaining an organized load order is very important and a non-trivial task.

Oblivion Mod:Better Oblivion Sorting Software/Installation

Note: If you have Microsoft Word 2003 or a later version, you may want to check out BOSS' companion, BOSS Masterlist Manager.

(OPTIONAL) Install TES4LODGen[edit]

This application generates distant LOD data based a your mod list. Re-run it whenever your load order changes

  • Download TES4LODGen.
  • Extract the archive into the Oblivion folder.

Install OBSE[edit]

OBSE and its plugins are not "regular" mods and require a different kind of installation, which is why their installation is covered here. Most of the following are stabilizers, all highly recommended. The two most vital OBSE plugins are Fast Exit V2 and OSR!

The DLLs for all OBSE plugins are installed in Data/OBSE/plugins. Some OBSE plugins have dependencies (DLLs) in subfolders as well.

  1. Download Oblivion Script Extender (OBSE) to the Oblivion folder
  2. Extract it there. (It will add a folder containing the OBSE files.)
  3. Copy the following up into the Oblivion folder: "obse_1_2_416.dll", "obse_editor_1_2.dll", and "obse_loader.exe." If you use the Steam version, move "obse_steam_loader.dll" as well. >> note: Steam users do not need the EXE to launch the game with OBSE, but some scripts (primarily OMOD scripts) check for the presence of that files. The presence of the EXE will not break anything.
  4. Delete the folder and the archive it added
  5. Make a shortcut pointing to obse_loader.exe.
    1. Right-click on the file.
    2. Choose copy from the context menu.
    3. Right-click on the location.
    4. Choose Paste shortcut here from the context menu.

To run the game with OBSE, use the obse_launcher.exe to launch your game; otherwise, if you launching the game with OBSE-dependent plugins (not OBSE plugins) the game will crash. Unless you are troubleshooting there is no harm in always launching through the OBSE launcher.

Note: If upon launching, it errors about needing the latest version of Oblivion installed (1.2.0416), you need to install the latest official patch.

Install OBSE Plugins[edit]

Warning! Requires OBSE

Again, the OBSE plugins folder is Data/OBSE/plugins. The following are all recommendations, and they are strongly recommended but not at all necessary.

Download Recommended OBSE plugins

Install the archives

Pay attention the folder into which the downloaded archive is extracted because the archives vary in their packaging.

  1. Extract Fast Exit and OSR in the Oblivion folder.
  2. Extract Elys' USV in the Data folder.
  3. Extract Pluggy into the OBSE plugins folder, which you may have to create. All of the DLLs should end up directly in the Plugins folder (except for OSR's component DLLs which should be in their own subfolder.)
    • Find the "Oblivion Stutter Remover" thread on the BethSoft forums before tweaking the INI file.
    • The safest edit you can make is to raise the FPS cap; therefore, if, for example, you have a very good computer, you may want to raise the cap to 60 FPS.
    • If you use Streamline, turn off Streamsmooth or set SL's FPS range inside of OSRs. OSR is more robust, sd they can cause bad conflicts when vying to handling memory management.

Special Mention

Since it's so popular... If you are going to use Elys' Uncapper--uncaps the level for the PC skills and attributes, raising the limit from 100 to 200 or 255) extract it to (or in)--extract the downloaded archive into the OBSE plugins folder.

See Also[edit]