So far we installed and set Mod Organizer 2 up to work with all of the required tools, and to load with a Vanilla profile. You now have the ability to load Skyrim SE with a single click, which can be useful for troubleshooting, but isn't much good for playing a modded game. The next thing to do, then, is to create a new profile where we will install all of the mods.
First, however, a few things to note.
- When you create a new profile, Mod Organizer creates new copies of the Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini for use by that profile and that profile only. If and when you make changes to these files through MO2, you will be making changes to the profile specific versions of these files, not the ones that are in your Documents directory.
- You may recall that in the SKSE installation earlier, we only installed three files directly to the Skyrim main directory. We did not install all of the scripting files. We will be using this to show how to install a mod from an archive, which will be a needed skill for a small number of mods we will be installing later.
For future reference, version numbers for mods hosted on the NEXUS can be checked for updates. These will then display as:
- Green for any up-to-date mod.
- Red for any mod that has a version mis-match. This generally means (but does not always mean) that an update has occurred.
- White for any mod that is not hosted on the NEXUS.
As noted earlier, the SKSE Scripts are now installed, but are not yet active files, and thus will not be visible to the game on launch.
- Activate the SKSE Scripts by checking the box next to its name in the left pane. Nothing will change in the right-pane listing - this is normal and expected.
- For future mod installations, it will be assumed that a mod should be activated after installation, and this direction will not be repeated.
The files inside of the SKSE Scripts folder are now visible to the MO2 VFS, and on game launch will act as if they have been placed in the Skyrim/Data folder. File conflicts between mods will be handled by Mod Organizer 2 in order of installation - files installed later will override the files that came before.
With all cleaning now completed, we will make these cleaned files into their own separate modification and restore the original files to the Skyrim directory. This will assist in 'future-proofing' your cleaned files for the inevitable Bethesda CC updates that would overwrite your cleaned files with the original versions.
- In your ...Mod Organizer 2\mods folder, create a new folder called Cleaned Vanilla ESMs.
- In the Skryim\Data folder, Cut and Paste the following files FROM the Skyrim\Data folder TO the Mod Organizer 2\mods\Cleaned Vanilla ESMs folder: Update.esm, Dawnguard.esm, Hearthfires.esm, and Dragonborn.esm.
- Cut and Paste the backup files you created earlier into the Skyrim\data folder.
- Start Mod Organizer 2 (if not already active).
- A new mod should appear called "Cleaned Vanilla ESMs". If it does not appear, Right-Click -> All Mods -> Refresh.
- Activate the new mod.
With this process complete, we are now able to:
- Run Skyrim through Steam, resulting in a completely vanilla experience.
- Run Skyrim through MO2's "Vanilla Skyrim" profile using Skyrim in the drop-down, resulting in a completely vanilla experience.
- Run Skyrim through MO2's "Legacy of the Dragonborn - Special Edition" profile using SKSE in the drop-down, resulting in a SKSE enabled Skyrim using cleaned vanilla assets.
From this point forward, unless otherwise noted, it will be assumed that you will always start Skyrim using the third option.