Skyrim talk:Technical Support
Environment: PC with Vista Ultimate (64 bit) SP 2 Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q9650 @ 3.00 GHz 8.00 GB ram
Type: Crash to desktop
Circumstances: When heading SE on the road beside Reachwater Rock and crossing over the bridge, just after my character is passing the signpost on the left, whether riding, walking or sneaking, the game crashes to the desktop.
Failed solutions: Reinstalled the game. Steam reported that "All files successfully validated."
Signature: Kalevala 21:13, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Resolution: Right now, it seems to have resolved itself. My speculation would be that there was some problem loading in the cell(s) triggered at that point in the terrain. Kalevala 18:43, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
The keyboard freezes at random points in the game but the mouse continues to work. This only occurs in Skyrim, it doesn't happen in any other program. This is recent behaviour and may be related to Dawnguard. I've been playing Skyrim for several months and just restarted the game using a "New life" mod that skips the introduction. I installed Dawnguard and after some time the problems started and became progressively worse.
I'm running Windows 7 Home Premium on an AMD Bulldozer 8 core with 8 gig RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti with a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse. I would like to emphasize that Skyrim ran well for several months but is now becoming unplayable. The occurrences are strictly random I can sometimes play for an hour or more or I can get problems almost immediately. The intervals vary as well. — Unsigned comment by 220.127.116.11 (talk) at 23:13 on 28 October 2012
Unfortunately, while the problem result is the same each time (frozen keyboard), the circumstances causing it are "random". However, you could try removing the mods to see if that fixes the keyboard freeze. You could also try a hard wired keyboard and mouse. If neither solves the problem, perhaps some other hardware is dying. If the mod removals solve it, well how important are the mods to your experience? If the hard wired equipment solves it, investigate the wireless hardware.
Similar situations can be googled with "keyboard freezes Skyrim". This wiki's policies prevent my posting the two best links I found.
are you really recommending people take a household vacuum to the inside of their computer?
Please note under Caveats:
"If you are uncomfortable with working on the interior of a computer do not do so until you have had some instruction. It is very easy and expensive to short out CMOS devices with static charges."
Here is a first lesson of the instruction necessary. It is by no means a comprehensive course.
Static charge damage arises when a static charge has no where to go but through a device to ground. Eliminating static electricity is accomplished by grounding 1. operators, 2. equipment, and 3. devices (components and computer boards). Grounding prevents static charge build up and electrostatic potential differences.
1. For operators, grounding can be accomplished by an antistatic strap which consists of a metal component pressing against the skin when worn on the wrist or heel and which is in turn relayed to an electrical ground. (This can be purchased online, follow the enclosed instructions.) 2. For equipment, vacuum cleaners and computers should be plugged in and grounded. 3. For components and computer boards, grounding can be maintained by NOT removing these during cleaning of the grounded computer.
Air movement by itself will not cause a discharge, if it did, cooling fans would have destroyed every existing computer. The computer should be off during the cleaning. Allow time for any on board capacitors to discharge before beginning. Your targets for the vacuuming should be the bottom of the tower where dust bunnies accumulate, vent opening screens and fan blades. The rest can be blown out. That is the first lesson of instruction, but if you are the least bit unsure then send your computer out to a repair shop for cleaning.
- My tech friend on cleaning a computer: "Open it up, take it outside, and direct as powerful a blast of air as you can get without using a 150 psi air compressor. There is only one part in a computer which cannot stand a 200 mph wind and that is over-speeding and burning out the bearings on the fans. Next, remove and re-seat every component in the computer except the CPU chips. Do this in bright light, slowly and carefully with an eye on each connection going in snugly exactly where it belongs. Keep in mind the power wire connectors need very close scrutiny. These are ganged bullet connectors developed during World War II and they have never been refined. They were designed for 24 volts so the modern computer with 2 volts may be lacking the oomph to push through a loose connection. If in doubt, repeat removing and re-installing each component. This is much easier than taking your computer apart over and over. Lastly, look over everything. Look for dirt blown somewhere it doesn't belong like under the motherboard. Look for wires that are too tight or may get in the way of the fan. Take a break and come back to it after a few minutes. Walk around it. Even try to think of ways that could cause it to malfunction. In the tech industry this is called 'clean sweep' preventive maintenance. Customers tend to get impatient over a tech being so diligent and thorough but usually prefer our dawdling over a piece of equipment to paying the repair company $450 an hour from when the tech leaves the shop. As for static discharge and ground straps, go wash your hands, discharging all static in the process and avoid petting the cat between the sink and the computer. Rest a bare forearm on the metal of the computer case as you handle the components. That's all you have to do." — Unsigned comment by Sniffles (talk • contribs) at 07:09 on 4 October 2013
Unique and worrisome crashes
My Skyrim was running rock-solid before Dawnguard -- perhaps one or two crashes a week, and I play a lot. After Dawnguard, I've been lucky to go an hour without the screen freezing or an instant CTD, and sometimes the game has crashed in less than a minute. Many of these crashes are of a type I've never seen in any other game: just as the screen freezes, there is a loud noise like a guitar string being plucked. This doesn't seem to happen in any other game, even Oblivion, which I replayed recently, or Dishonored, which I played over a hundred hours with all the graphics options set up high. At least Dragonborn didn't make the situation any worse! The problem seems to be centered around something in Dawnguard. The behavior is the same with mods disabled (I don't run many in any case) or with graphics settings all turned right down. The graphics card gets a little warm when playing -- around 55 degrees C. -- but I've seen it go much hotter and continue to run normally (pushing it to its limits with FurMark, it has gone over 90 degrees in a stress test, without crashing). The machine is running Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit, with eight gigabytes of RAM and a GeForce GTX 560 Ti video card with a gigabyte of VRAM. One odd thing is that although rolling the drivers back to the December 2012 version, as suggested by a local computer shop, did not do any good, the crashes were reduced somewhat when I returned the video card to its factory settings, wiping out any tweaks I had made.
There is no consistency to when the crashes happen. It has crashed during intense firefights, with lightning and fireballs flying all over the place, but also when I was doing nothing more than staring at the surface of the armorer's bench with absolutely nothing happening.
Any suggestions? This is getting a bit frustrating. 18.104.22.168 15:37, 12 March 2013 (GMT)
- I think I've found one way around these endless crashes. I should emphasize that this was not my own idea, but taken from an online source whose address I have forgotten.
- 1) Start up Skyrim.
- 2) Send Skyrim to the background by using alt-tab.
- 3) Open up Windows Task Manager (control-shift-delete on most keyboards).
- 4) Go to the Processes tab.
- 5) Find the listing TESV.exe and right-click it.
- 6) From the menu that appears, select "Set Priority..."
- 7) Set the priority to High.
- 8) Close Task Manager and bring Skyrim to the front again.
- Unfortunately, this will have to be done every time you run Skyrim, since the machine does not save these settings.
- My game hasn't crashed since I began doing this, though it has wobbled a few times. It also takes noticeably longer to save games, though I don't know if this is connected. 22.214.171.124 05:49, 14 March 2013 (GMT)
Interesting example of a glitch
Start Skyrim after the computer had been off. After 5 minutes it would drop to desktop. Let the comp cool down and repeat. Same thing. Sometimes it would just drop, sometimes with a system warning sound and sometimes with an unreadable C++ error. No error was logged in the Windows file. HOWEVER, after I had restarted Skyrim and got the drop out 2 or 3 times it would stabilize and stay running. I lucked out with an old friend visiting the area who is a highly accomplished electronics technician. He took my video card out, removed the heat sink, applied new 'heat sink compound' and put it all back together. Problem solved. He explained, "A pair of the memory chips wasn't quite touching the heat sink. Memory chips when overheating produce a galaxy of strange errors and glitches. When things got heated up enough the tiny gap from chips to heat sink would close and there would be enough cooling." I asked him how in heck he figured that out. His reply: "30 years experience as a tech helps." His suggestion for odd crashes. Get a can of 'Freeze spray'. Direct the squirt very sparingly at the components that tend to heat up. UNDER heat sinks often being the case. Another way is to get a powerful blower or the blast from a strong vacuum and direct it at the components with heat sinks. With a strong blast of air, if the glitch goes away, you at least know it's a thermal issue amd not a software glitch.Sniffles (talk) 12:22, 2 October 2013 (GMT)
- Video card thermal issues are common with a lot of modern games. Many of them push cards to their limits. Good tips from your friend on how to identify and possibly solve them. If all that stuff is taken care of, the only other option remaining (short of getting a higher-end video card) is to reduce your graphics settings. Don't worry about the resolution, which is usually only a minor part of the problem, all the other settings—shadow detail, multisampling, anisotropic filtering, and so on (varies by game)—can have a major impact on how hot your video card gets. When in doubt, reduce all those by a notch or two and try again. If your problem stops, you can slowly start bumping them back up again as long as the crashing doesn't recur. After a while, you'll figure out which of the settings is important to your playing experience and which ones you don't mind leaving at lower levels. For me, personally, shadow details are usually the first to go, then things like water detail and reflections. – Robin Hood (talk) 16:46, 2 October 2013 (GMT)
- (My tech friend in reply to RH.) "All good suggestions. There are two aspects of video card troubles. The first being overheating or electronic or even mechanical problems. These troubles -cause- software glitches. They aren't the only cause but they always manifest as a software glitch or what is taken as a glitch. Unless the video display quits completely the erroneous display is from the software improperly functioning, be it in the code or physical defect(s). So obviously the first and easiest place to start is trying to eliminate electronic or electromechanical troubles. NEXT comes the grey area between broken machinery and code failures. Thanks to the hardware and software industry re-writing the manual every other week this can be remedied by something as simple as updating drivers to as complex as replacing entire circuit boards. For the larger picture take bio-medical equipment. We don't have a new glitch every few minutes/hours/days/weeks/months as popular computer programs commonly do. Why? The equipment is subjected to much more rigorous testing and the newest gadgets are commonly ignored. They may make a display look a little nicer but tried and proven they are not. If the circuit board produces enough problems it might get replaced. The same applies to the programs. Get it out and marketed is the rule of thumb in the cut throat business atmosphere of today. Medical programs are tested over and over under the most extreme conditions until they fail. The upshot of this is obvious. A cardiac monitor will give 10 years of reliable service with maybe a software update or two. A home computer runs something like 7 months before a major update or repair is required and in the meantime the forums become overloaded with thousands of problems and potential solutions, repairs or work arounds." Sniffles (talk) 06:38, 4 October 2013 (GMT)
How do you determine what is causing Skyrim to crash?
I asked of my techy friend.
- The answer is simplicity itself, but only for the serious person who demands a solution.
1. Buy a new hard drive. They are as cheap as dirt right now. It doesn't have to be huge or high quality. A WD 500 blue would work fine.
2. Install a fresh OS onto the drive then update all your drivers. Reboot the computer running on this drive alone several times. Clock exactly how long it takes between button push and the desktop appearing. You must come up with the same exact time with each reboot. -Benchmark 1-.
3. Install your program, bare bones, no updates. Reboot your system repeatedly until stable again and write down how long the boot takes. -Benchmark 2-. Start and run the program with the lowest graphics settings. If it does not start and run reasonably well you have an incompatibility issue between OS, hardware and the program. You should be able to leave the program running, not using it/playing the game or whatever, for 24 hours and there will be no noticeable difference. If there is a difference in function-operation reboot the computer, time the boot and compare it to Benchmark 2. Check and see if there are patches that specifically address stability issues. Install those patches and retest. If it remains unstable and there is still a difference in the benchmarks you have a thermal degradation issue in the hardware. That is, you cannot fully trust your machine, ever. Accept this or start replacing components, cheapest first and on up. IE, power supply, hard drive, then either graphics card or mom depending on $$$.
Now, if the program is stable after 24 hours, in the case of this game, ramp up the graphics to the uppermost limit where the game will still start. Don't play the game. Just leave it sit and let it cook at least 4 hours. It should remain stable. Your reboot should also be benchmark 2. If it is stable, install any program updates and add ons and return to 3. The 24 hour minimum setting letting it cook then the maxed graphics settings. It should remain stable. If problems occur they are coming from the add ons and updates and you will need to remove them all then do the one by one install until stability goes.
Lastly, if the game runs and is stable, your old OS is full of junk and causing the problems. Attempt to reload it. If that doesn't help, make a full back up of the OS drive -you have a spiffy new drive to save the back up on anyway- then strip it down and get rid of every odd piece of software. Overhaul the registry with several quality programs. Afterwards you could try another reload. As a last resort, blow off the OS and start fresh. Your target in the overhaul is to get the boot time as close to benchmark 1 as possible of the new drive.
He added a PS. "I don't attempt to troubleshoot most OS's and especially Microsoft. They have not released enough documentation and leave you shooting in the dark. This is especially so with programs that are using the C++ dll libraries. The documentation is piss poor, the various issues are not backwards compatible, and MS's own programmers would prefer to rewrite the code instead of delving into those libraries. Trouble shoot by process of elimination and once you get a stable OS and program, make a backup of the ding blasted things!" Sniffles (talk) 09:45, 6 October 2013 (GMT)
Skyrim crashes to desktop after X (usually a short) period of time.
I'm waiting for my tech friends to get back to me with more info but here's the solution for fixing SOME of these crashes. First, immediately after starting and loading a save game, save the game! This seems to solve a lot of the crashes. Second, move all but 3 or 4 saved games to a sub directory. My tech has tentatively figured out that the crash happens faster with higher resolutions and it appears to be in spooling and acquiring data. He has emulated the crash where it takes 5 minutes to happen at lowest res in wide open areas which demand more spooling of data. Inside a house and not moving the crash happens in about 15 minutes. This is with a low quality video card. With a ultra high end video card the above crashes take a few seconds and 3 minutes respectively. He has completely prevented (and following his suggestion I have as well), by simply saving at once and every 5 to 10 minutes thereafter. His words: "It's something in how the game handles the spooling of data. If it doesn't get what it wants within a very limited time frame the game crashes. It gives no warning message which indicates a video and/or data spooling fault instead of code execution. IE, if it is too gummed up to page video data it is too gummed up to give an error code. It's in how the game engine operates. It has to constantly load data from the save which it entirely instruction pointers. With a fresh save, the data is relative and relevant to the current actor position." Hope this helps some people. Sniffles (talk) 13:58, 14 December 2013 (GMT)
Other crashes-more from the tech.
"I've managed to get the game to crash several different ways. In game menus appears to be one common cause. In any case, many of these crashes are conflicts between computer, game and installed hardware. The hardware, or to be precise their drivers, try to force parameters the computer - the OS - is already trying to control. One very common one comes up with the OS audio settings conflicting with exotic/specific audio controls IE AMD, Nvidia. Turning down the OS audio settings to a low basic level defeats this competition. Another crash cause is video drivers trying to over-ride game settings. Going through all the video card settings and selecting letting the program choose solves several more crashes. To sum up, everything wants a hand in controlling the computer while the game is running. Tell them to back off and give the program a chance to control things without conflicts. The more exotic the add on cards and associated drivers, 3d audio/surround sound, 3d video, filterings, shaders, and so on, the greater the likelyhood of conflicts and subsequent crashes."