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How to Use Nexus Mod Manager to Download, Install, Remove, and Manage Mods for Skyrim, Oblivion, Fallout New Vegas, Fall

Updated on April 13, 2016

Guide to using Nexus Mod Manager to cleanly install and manage mods for games including Skyrim, Oblivion, Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 3 and Morrowind

Mods can greatly expand and enhance your gaming experience. Games such as the Elder Scrolls games, Skyrim, Morrowind, Oblivion and as well as Fallout New Vegas,Fallout 3, Dragon age and Mount and Blade have literally thousands of mods that change, update and enhance almost every part of the game.

These mods have been written by fans of the games themselves and using them, the games graphics can be upgraded using higher resolution texture packs, game play can be changed and the game world itself can be extended, improved and updated. In addition, mods can add replayability through new quests and landmasses and allow you to play the game in ways the games authors could scarcely have imagined.

Screenshot of Skyrim with the Skyrim HD mod installed. Courtesy of Skyrim Nexus and NebuLa the mod author and of course Bethesda.
Screenshot of Skyrim with the Skyrim HD mod installed. Courtesy of Skyrim Nexus and NebuLa the mod author and of course Bethesda.
Screenshot of Skyrim with the Tamriel Reloaded - Textures and Parallax mod installed. Courtesy of Skyrim Nexus and 32cm the mod author and of course Bethesda.
Screenshot of Skyrim with the Tamriel Reloaded - Textures and Parallax mod installed. Courtesy of Skyrim Nexus and 32cm the mod author and of course Bethesda.

Correctly installing and configuring mods can seem quite a daunting prospect. Uninstalling mods can be particularly tricky, especially if you have a large number installed. Fortunately, Nexus Mod Manager allows you to:

  • Cleanly install and uninstall mods
  • Manage installed mods including creating a correct load order
  • Organise your mods so you know exactly what is installed
  • Install and download mods with one click
  • Check all installed mods for updated versions automatically
  • Use the built in download manager to easily download mods

Using mods you can:

  • Update the games graphics and sound
  • Improve the user interface
  • Add new content such as land masses, monsters, classes, quests and much more
  • Make the game harder or easier
  • Fix the bugs that exist in the game
  • Add content that was left out of the game or not completed

Mod Organizer, a Mod Manager with Advanced Features

For people looking for an advanced mod manager, Mod Organizer is an excellent choice. It offers many features unavailable in Nexus Mod Manager including:

  • Mods are kept isolated. Instead of being installed all together in the game folder, they are installed in their own folders to allow mods to be uninstalled 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
  • Saved games can be cleaned if mods are removed (otherwise saved games can become unstable or fail to load altogether)
  • It can advise 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
  • Mod Organizer will alert you to any mod conflicts and allow you to resolve them easily

I have a hub on Mod Organizer which can be found here:

http://robbiecwilson.hubpages.com/hub/Mod-Organizer-an-advanced-Skyrim-utility-to-manage-install-detect-and-fix-mod-conflicts-and-update-all-your-mods

Games supported by Nexus Mod Manager

Nexus Mod Manager supports a wide range of games. It:

  • Acts as a repository for around 160 games
  • Allows you to fully manage the mods for 17 games

The number of mods available for games supported by Nexus Mod Manager

Game Title
Number of Mods
Skyrim
40,144
Oblivion
27,629
Fallout New Vegas
15,142
Fallout 3
13,705
Morrowind
3,336
Dragon Age
2,243
Mount & Blade
2,068
War Thunder
1,540
Dragon Age 2
984

Installing Nexus Mod Manager

First, download the executable file from www.nexusmods.com. The initial installation is very straight forward.

Once the set up is complete, Nexus Mod Manager will scan all your hard drives for installed versions of the games it supports. You can see the list of the games it supports below:

Nexus Mode Manager first scans your computer for games that it supports.
Nexus Mode Manager first scans your computer for games that it supports.

Once it has completed the scan:

  • Select the green tick to confirm an installation
  • Pick the red cross if you do not Nexus Mod Manager to look for that for particular game
  • If Nexus Mod Manager did not detect a game installation it will indicate Not Found. if this is not correct, you can browse to the games location
  • Once you have selected at least one game, OK will be selectable, click it to continue

Now we have confirmed which games are installed and that we want Nexus Mod Manager to manage out mods, we will receive a summary screen of the games we have selected.

Screen showing the games available and allowing you to select which game you would like to manage using Nexus Mod Manager.
Screen showing the games available and allowing you to select which game you would like to manage using Nexus Mod Manager.
  • Now, select the game you want to manage and press OK to confirm your selection or pick Rescan Installed Games if you are not happy with them. If you do not want to see this screen again, click Don’t ask me next time
  • Finally, we need to confirm where you want your mods stored. If you already have mods downloaded from another website, navigate to that folder, otherwise simply accept the defaults by clicking Finish

Confirm the location of your mods on your computer if you have any downloaded.
Confirm the location of your mods on your computer if you have any downloaded.

If you are using Nexus Mod Manager to manage your Skyrim mods and have not yet launched Skyrim, you will receive the below warning.

You may receive the above warning from Nexus Mod Manager if you have not yet run Skyrim
You may receive the above warning from Nexus Mod Manager if you have not yet run Skyrim

Click OK and run the Skyrim to clear the error.

If you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7, you may receive the following error as well.

Permissions error often seen for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users installing Nexus Mod Manager.
Permissions error often seen for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users installing Nexus Mod Manager.

To fix it:

  • Right click on the Nexus Mod Manager executable on the Start menu
  • Navigate to the Compatibility tab
  • Select Run this Program as an Administrator
  • Click Apply and OK and rerun Nexus Mod Manager

Configure Nexus Mod Manager to run as the Administrator.
Configure Nexus Mod Manager to run as the Administrator.

Now that Nexus Mod Manager launches correctly:

  • Click Yes on the below dialogue box so that your mods are sorted into categories (more on this soon)

Click Yes, to allow Nexus Mod Manager to sort your mods using predefined categories.
Click Yes, to allow Nexus Mod Manager to sort your mods using predefined categories.

The first step once you have the User Interface open is to log into the Nexus website so that you can download and update mods should a new version be available. To log on

  • Click the icon in the bottom left of the screen (it will be orange to illustrate that you are not logged on (see the figure below to locate the icon)

Log into your Nexus account to enable you to download mods using Nexus Mod Manager.
Log into your Nexus account to enable you to download mods using Nexus Mod Manager.

Once you have logged in, the icon that was orange will now become green and you are ready to download mods for your chosen game.

Now that you are logged into Nexus Mod Manager, you are ready to download and also update the mods for your chosen game.
Now that you are logged into Nexus Mod Manager, you are ready to download and also update the mods for your chosen game.

Using Nexus Mod Manager to download, install and uninstall mods

Now the application is fully configured we can begin to add some mods to our games. You can see the categories below, all with zeros as we have no mods currently downloaded.

Nexus Mod Manager showing the predefined mod categories.
Nexus Mod Manager showing the predefined mod categories.

There are three ways of adding mods, The first two are illustrated below and can be done within Nexus Mod Manager:

  • The first is to Add Mod from File
  • You can also Add Mod from URL (useful for a mod that is not housed on the Nexus website)

Showing both methods you can use to add mods using Nexus Mod Manager.
Showing both methods you can use to add mods using Nexus Mod Manager.

The third method is from the Nexus website itself. To illustrate this, I have chosen a mod to install, Skyrim HD - 2K Textures from the Skyrim Nexus website. When using Nexus’s website, simply:

  • click the Files tab
  • select the green Download with Manager button as shown below (you can see this in the bottom left corner of the screen)

Choosing a mod to install from the Nexus website.
Choosing a mod to install from the Nexus website.

You can see the mod downloading at the bottom left of the application.

Nexus Mod Manager's Download Manager downloading a mod.
Nexus Mod Manager's Download Manager downloading a mod.
  • You will now see that the Category Models and textures has a 1 rather than a 0.
  • If we expand the folder we can see our new mod.

Our newly downloaded Skyrim mod is ready to install in Nexus Mod Manager.
Our newly downloaded Skyrim mod is ready to install in Nexus Mod Manager.

On the right hand side, you can see the mods instruction file. Scroll down and check the installation instructions. You should read this before proceeding to make sure that it doesn't need other mods to run correctly.

This mod hasn't got any special instructions so we can install it without taking any further action.

Note: Nexus Mod Manager will take care of copying any files, you just need to check for mods it may require or any mods it will conflict with.

Installation instructions of the mod we downloaded using Nexus Mod Manager.
Installation instructions of the mod we downloaded using Nexus Mod Manager.
  • To install the mod, select it and click on the Activates the Selected Mod button
  • Should the mod be missing a prerequisite mod (or mods), you will get a warning similar to the below. Download and install the missing mod and then click Install.

Example of an error received when installing a mod that is missing a prerequisite mod.
Example of an error received when installing a mod that is missing a prerequisite mod.
  • Nexus Mod Manager will show you the installation progress in the bottom right hand pane (the Mod Activation Queue pane)
  • You can use this pane to queue multiple mods to install one after the other rather than having to install them one at a time
  • In addition you can remove queued or activated mods either one at a time or all at once

The Mod Activation Queue pane in Nexus Mod Manager shows you the installation progress of your mod.
The Mod Activation Queue pane in Nexus Mod Manager shows you the installation progress of your mod.

Nexus Mod Manager and the Confirming Overwrite warning

You will receive the below warning

This is advising you that mod is going to overwrite some files in your installation.

The best way to approach installing mods is to work with general texture replacers first.

So for example:

  • First, I download a mod that replaces all textures such as Skyrim HD - 2K Textures
  • Then, I will replace textures for more specific parts of the game such as houses, trees etc to further improve their appearance
  • Each time, I overwrite all files
  • This way, I am completely aware of what I am overwriting and more importantly I know exactly what my game will look like
  • For that reason, it is very important to decide which mods you are going to use before beginning to install them

As we are replacing all textures with new high resolution ones, I will select Yes to all.

Choose whether your newly installed mod will overwrite existing files or not.
Choose whether your newly installed mod will overwrite existing files or not.

Using Nexus Mod Manager to automatically check your mods for updated versions

Now we get to use one of the most useful features that Nexus Mod Manager can help us with. You can see from the screen shot that we are running version 1.5 of this mod and there is a new version (1.6) available.

There are two ways to update your mod.

  • The first is to select the Checks for new Mod Versions button
  • The second is to click the link in the Latest Version column for that mod.

How to update mods automatically using Nexus Mod Manager.
How to update mods automatically using Nexus Mod Manager.

Once you have downloaded the new version, Deactivate the old mod and Activate the new one. At the same time, delete the 1.5 version using the big red cross icon.

Managing your mods plugins using Nexus Mod Manager

The next tab we will look at is the Plugins tab. Many mods come with .esp or plugin files. These make changes to the game world such as adding new land masses, changing lighting, adding new clothes or races and so on.

Skyrim and other games load these in an order specified by the load order. Many mods require a specific load order and Nexus Mod Manager will organise this for you. Despite this, you may wish to change the order if a mod advised you to do so and for some reason Nexus Mod Manager does not reflect this.

You can see from the picture below, I have a load order configured for my Skyrim mods created by the Mod Manager.

How to manage the plugin load order using Nexus Mod Manager.
How to manage the plugin load order using Nexus Mod Manager.

There are six options available to you on this screen. From top to bottom, the icons are:

  • Move a plugin up the order
  • Move a plugin down
  • Disable all the active plugins
  • Enable all the active plugins
  • Export the current load order (to a text file)
  • Imports a load order (from a text file)

Note: Only move a plugin if you have a valid reason to do so. If you make changes to a load order without fully understanding exactly what you are doing, you could cause some of the plugins to fail to work, or worse Skyrim or whichever game it is that you are configuring could fail to work.

Conclusion

Adding mods can take a game that you already love and enhance it in ways that you never imagined possible. Mods are written by a games passionate fans with some mods having taken years to put together. You can have add up to date high resolution graphics, extra quests and places to explore, in fact games such as the Elder Scrolls Series (Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim) have thousands of mods available to choose from.

With this complexity, it can be difficult to install, configure and in fact keep track of all your mods. This is where Nexus Mod Manager proves to be invaluable. Using it, you can:

  • Cleanly and simply add or remove mods with a single click
  • Use the built in download manager to download mods
  • Organise the load order of your mods plugins easily
  • Update mods with future versions easily

I hope that you have found this hub useful. For me, mods are what takes a great game and makes it everything it could be and more. Nexus Mod Manager is a great tool to make this complicated process simpler. Please feel free to leave a comment below and happy gaming!

© 2013 Robbie C Wilson

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    • profile image

      Deth654 9 months ago

      I download these mods through the mod loader, instead of manually, how do I activate the mods?

    • profile image

      JT 11 months ago

      thank you very much very detailed and exactly what i needen

    • profile image

      Phineas42 13 months ago

      Finally started playing Skyrim, better late than never. After seeing all the potential of the mods, I can't wait to start modding, and your guide made the process very straightforward. Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      rosedesavane 14 months ago

      how to use Yes to mod and yes to folder in the overwriting confirmation window.? thank's

    • profile image

      Wes 17 months ago

      I realize this article is super old, but I'm super old school so I'm just getting around to doing this sort of stuff now. Thank you so much for taking your time to help out supernoobs like myself. It's very appreciated!

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      Author

      Robbie C Wilson 3 years ago

      Thanks Orpheus, glad you found my hub so useful and like the screenshots.

    • profile image

      Orpheus 3 years ago

      Thank you for the detailed guide, screens helps a lot!

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      Author

      Robbie C Wilson 3 years ago

      Hi dadam,

      Thanks for your kind comment, I am so glad that you found my guide helpful.

    • profile image

      dadam^ 3 years ago

      hey, thanks for this useful guide!