How to Install and Configure Mod Organizer for "Skyrim," "Fallout 3," "Fallout New Vegas," and "Oblivion"
In this article, I am going to look at a tool called Mod Organizer which will help manage your Skyrim mods. One of the strong points of the Elder Scrolls series since Morrowind is the mods created by gamers. There are literally thousands of them, and they allow you to update, fix, and expand the original game in so many ways.
Keeping track of those mods and also ensuring that your game is stable and as error-free as possible can be a daunting task. You can also use Mod Organizer for other popular Bethesda titles such as Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Oblivion.
Specifically, we will look at:
- Comparing Mod Organizer and Nexus Mod Manager, looking at the strengths and weaknesses of both utilities.
- How to migrate your mods from Nexus Mod Manager to Mod Organizer.
- Installing mods for Skyrim using Mod Organizer.
- Fixing your mod load order using Mod Organizer for Skyrim mods.
- Editing your Skyrim.ini and Skyrimprefs.ini to manually change the game's configuration.
- Creating and using profiles in Mod Organizer.
Mod Organizer's Advanced Features
Mod Organizer is a sophisticated and powerful piece of software that has several unique and powerful features:
- Mods are kept isolated. Rather than being installed all together in the game folder, instead they are installed in their own folders to allow mods to be un-installed quickly and cleanly.
- Profiles can be created which allows you to have multiple configuration files so that you can experiment with settings safe in the knowledge that you have another profile with the default settings to fall back on. You can also have different mods running in different profiles. Mod Organizer can also filter saved games based on profile.
- Mod Organizer can fully integrate with Nexus Mod Manager so your mods downloaded using it can easily be moved to Mod Organizer.
- Saved games can be cleaned if mods are removed (otherwise saved games can become unstable or fail to load altogether).
- Mod Organizer can show which mods are being used with which saved game.
- Mods that have not been properly put together by the author can be cleanly installed to improve game stability.
- It will manage your load order.
- Mod Organizer will alert you to any mod conflicts and allow you to resolve them easily.
Nexus Mod Manager
While both tools do largely the same thing, they are different in several ways. I would recommend Nexus Mod Manager for someone who is new to modding and Mod Organizer for anyone familiar with mods or who have used Nexus Mod Manager and found that they need to use some of the advanced features that Mod Organizer offers. I have listed the pros and cons of each tool below to allow you to make your own choice.
The Pros and Cons of Using Mod Organizer
Very powerful utility with a number of unique features
Due to its complexity, it has a learning curve when first used
Allows for multiple configuration files
The interface is not as clean and intuitive as Nexus Mod Manager
Enables you to fix problems with mods not correctly packaged by the author
Has excellent help available
Installs mods separately from the game folder allowing quick and simple mod removal
Profiles allow you to have multiple configuration files and different mod setups
Mod conflicts are detected and are easily resolved
Mods downloaded from Skyrim Nexus will be added automatically to your mod list
The Pros and Cons of Using Nexus Mod Manager
Has an excellent Download Manager built-in
The simplicity of the tool means that the advanced features available in Mod Organizer are not present
A clean and attractive interface
Categorisation of mods is automatic and mirrors Skyrim Nexus
Is very simple to use with one click install and un-install
Installing Mod Organizer
Before we begin migrating mods from Nexus Mod Manager and making use of all Mod Organizers advanced features, we need to install it:
- First, download the installation package.
- Next, run the Mod Organizer executable file in the Mod Organizer folder contained in the zip file you downloaded above.
- You will be presented with a choice of the supported games that Mod Organizer found, or given the option to find another installation as shown below.
- Next, you will be given the option to see a tutorial of Mod Organizer's basic features. If you have not used it, I suggest that you watch the tutorial.
- It may also ask to Associate Mod Organizer with nxm links, click Yes on this dialogue box.
You can see in the figure below what the various panels in Mod Organizer do, as well as some of the buttons that you will regularly use while setting up your mods, configuring your profiles, changing your mod order and fixing mod installation issues.
Migrating Your Mods From Nexus Mod Manager to Mod Organizer
If you decide to move from Nexus Mod Manager to Mod Organizer, Mod Organizer has a built-in tool to assist you.
- Click on the Tools button and select NMM Import as shown below.
- If you have the latest version of Nexus Mod Manager, you can safely ignore the warning you will receive and click OK.
- Select the mods you wish to Import and click Next.
- You will then receive the dialogue box below. I would recommend option B (Copy and Delete).
- Mod Organizer will chug away for a time copying all your mods across. Once it is complete, the mods will appear on the Downloads tab.
Installing Mods for "Skyrim" Using Mod Organizer
To install a mod, simply double click it on it on the Download tab and confirm the name you want to give it. The mod will show as Installed and it is as easy as that.
Where Mod Organizer really excels is when the author of the mod has not put all the files tidily in a single folder. Without cleanly installing such mods, this may cause the mod to be unstable and crash your game. Mod Organizer recognizes this and allows you to fix it on the fly while installing the mod. When you come across such as mod, you will receive a warning notification such as the one below:
To resolve this:
- Expand DruidEssentials using the arrow.
- Select the first file (Druidessentials.bsa) and drag it to <data>.
- Repeat it for all the files in the mod and your screen will look like the one below.
- Mod Organizer will tell you that the mod now looks good, so you can click OK and the install will complete.
Fixing Your Mod Load Order Using Mod Organizer for "Skyrim" Mods
Mod Organizer will automatically check your mods for you, and will advise you if there is an issue with your mod order. If it detects a problem, you will see the icon in the top right light up.
- If you click the icon, Mod Organizer will advise you of the problems it has found.
- Click on Potential Mod order problem and you will be advised what to do to fix the issue.
To manually reorder mods yourself to resolve the issues shown above:
- Click on the Plugins tab.
- Next, click the Priority column.
- Select the mod that you wish to reorder and drag it up or down based on where you want to move it to. Repeat this for all the mods that need to be moved.
Editing Your Skyrim.ini and Skyrimprefs.ini and Using Profiles in Mod Organizer
Using profiles, you can not only change the mods that you use, but you can create a backup of your configuration (or .ini) files, in case the changes that you make do not work out to your satisfaction.
To create a new profile:
- Select the drop down menu to the right of Profile and select Manage.
- Click on the Create button and name your profile (I called mine backup).
Now you have two profiles, we can change the .ini files on your Default profile knowing that you can revert to your backup configuration files in your Backup profile if the changes are not successful.
To edit your ini files:
- Using the Tools button, select Ini Editor.
- Make any changes you want to either (or both) files and click Save to commit the changes.
Should you want to revert back to the default ini files:
- Load the backup files by switching to your Backup profile.
- Go to the Ini Editor as we did above and copy the ini file you want to revert.
- Switch to the other Profile and copy the contents of the backup ini file over the affected one and click Save.
Mod Organizer is a sophisticated and powerful tool that helps you to manage your Skyrim mods. It can also be used to manage downloaded mods for Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Oblivion. It has several unique features, including:
- Mods are installed in their own folders and isolated from the other mods to keep installs clean and allow for easy removal.
- You can create multiple profiles with different mod lists, ini files and save games.
- It can work with Nexus Mod Manager so your mods can be migrated directly from it, should you choose to switch.
- Saved games that may otherwise become unusable if mods are removed from the game can be cleaned.
- Mods with installs that have files in the wrong places can be corrected while being installed which will make the mods work as intended and your game more stable.
- Mod Organizer will also tell you which mods you used with a particular saved game.
In this article, we have looked at:
- The pros and cons of both Nexus Mod Manager and Mod Organizer
- Installing Mod Organizer
- Migrating from Nexus Mod Manager
- Installing mods using Mod Organizer
- Fixing your load order
- And finally using profiles and also editing your ini files
© 2014 Robbie C Wilson