Frequently Asked Questions

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Vortex FAQ

Why can I not change the plugin load order directly (drag & drop)?

With Vortex, unlike other mod managers, you do not need to manually change the load order - Vortex sorts plugins automatically based on LOOT.

You can, however, control in what order individual or groups of plugins are loaded by either setting a dependency (i.e. declaring that one plugin needs to load after another) or by making use of groups to accomplish the same thing for several plugins at once.


Do I need LOOT/I want to use LOOT for sorting/Is there a difference between LOOT sorting and Vortex sorting?

As Vortex uses LOOT internally to sort plugins, there is no need for you to install LOOT. Vortex sorts your plugins based on LOOT and according to your own, custom rules (if specified). LOOT’s functionality is therefore already implemented into Vortex.


How do I use the various Script Extenders - SKSE, SKSE64, F4SE - with Vortex?

After installing the Script Extender normally by using either the installer or by extracting the archive into the game’s root directory (where the game.exe is located), you can add the Script Extender as a tool in Vortex:

  1. Go to your “Dashboard”
  2. Navigate to your tool list
  3. You will find e.g. SKSE64 in the list of preconfigured tools
  4. Click the three dots next to e.g. SKSE64 (for Skyrim Special Edition)
  5. In the “Target” line, click the folder icon and navigate to your skse64_loader.exe
  6. Click save

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Now that SKSE64 is added as a tool, you can mark it as primary. Click the three dots next to SKSE64 again. Select “Make Primary”. This should add a visual highlight.

If you now start the game in Vortex via the launch button at the top left, Vortex will run whichever tool is marked as primary along with the game. If you set SKSE64 (or another Script Extender, for another game) as primary, this will always run the Script Extender with the game going forward.


How do I add a tool to Vortex?

If you install certain tools such as FNIS, or SKSE in the default directories, Vortex may be able to detect them automatically. If the automatic detection fails, you can still add tools manually by simply navigating to e.g. the tool’s executable file in the respective installation folder.

Just like the Script Extender for Bethesda games, tools are added on the dashboard. Click the dashboard and navigate to the tool list where the preconfigured tools are found.

Press the “Add Tool” button to add a tool that is not preconfigured. If the tool is a regular Windows GUI application, then the “Target” needs to be set to the tool’s executable file. The “Start In” field should then fill in correctly automatically and reference the executable’s location.

Once you have set that, choose a name and save.


I've set up a tool but it's not working. What can I do?

If the tool is not an .exe file, it cannot usually be run directly, but instead needs to be run through an "interpreter", such as Java for .jar files, Python for .py files, and cmd for .cmd or .bat files.

Vortex tries to support as many of these automatically as possible, but it can only support interpreters that are correctly installed and detectable by Vortex.

If Vortex does not automatically support your interpreter, you will have to put the path of the interpreter into the "Target" field and the name of your tool into the command line. In some cases further parameters might be required.

For example with Java the “Target” field should be something like...

c:\program files\java\bin\java.exe

...whereas the “Command Line” should read:

-jar c:\path\to\your\java\based\tool\tool.jar


What can I do if Vortex fails to update/install?

The Vortex installer will be unable to write to the installation folder if some of the files contained therein are still in use by another process, such as for example antivirus programs, resulting in a failed installation.

Ensure that no security software is hampering the process (e.g., Windows Defender, BitDefender, Malwarebytes, etc.). Often, restarting your computer and/or updating or ensuring that Vortex related services and directories are 'whitelisted' can resolve these issues. Refer to the associated software's website for more information.

If you are positive that no other program is blocking Vortex’s access to the files in the installation folder, please download and install the latest version of Vortex here: Vortex download page

The installer will automatically detect the existing installation and update accordingly.


Can I have different mod profiles (for e.g. different characters) in Vortex/How do I set up profiles in Vortex?

Yes, Vortex does come with such functionality. To enable it, you need to access your settings and under “Advanced” toggle “Enable Profile management” on. This will add a new section to your sidebar under General called “Profiles” where you can manage your individual mod profiles.

See: Setting up profiles in Vortex

I am getting an error saying “Plugins not sorted because of cyclic rules”. What does that mean?

This means that one or several of your custom plugin rules are contradictory. For instance, if you set plugin A to load after plugin B and plugin B to load after plugin A, the two rules contradict each other and Vortex will be unable to sort your plugin list and instead put out the error message “Plugins not sorted because of cyclic rules”. This can also be caused by cyclic rules regarding plugin master/slave relationships.

Alternatively, group specific rules can be the cause as well. In general, LOOT utilises elaborate rules to ensure a conflict free setup and will at times ignore conflicting group rules to achieve that end. However, at times LOOT will be unable to do that resulting in the same "cyclic rules" error.

As the internal LOOT sorting system Vortex employs is free of cyclic rules, this only occurs with rules you set up yourself.

If you click on “More” you will be provided with more information as to which plugins are affected by cyclic rules which should help you to resolve the conflict.


What does "deployment" (and “purge”) mean?

Vortex breaks the installation of mods into two phases. The first phase is the process of extracting the mod archive and going through the installer (if there is one). This phase places the files of the mod in a separate "mod directory" where it doesn't affect the game yet.

In the second phase, "deployment", files are then linked into the game directory at which point they begin to affect your game’s installation. Also, mods that have been disabled will have their links removed during "deployment", so you can think of deployment as "committing" your mod selection to the game.

The reason Vortex does this is because the deployment phase can be done very quickly (usually taking only a few seconds) and it doesn't require any further user interaction. This allows you to quickly toggle mods between "disabled" and "enabled" and change profiles without having to go through the entire installation process of all mods again.

After enabling advanced settings (Settings > Advanced > Enable advanced mode) you also get the option to “Purge Mods”. Purging is the opposite of deployment: it removes all the links Vortex previously installed. This is not a destructive operation and can easily be undone by clicking "Deploy Mods" to restore the links.

You can use this feature to prepare for a backup, if you want to keep your backup from containing the links, or if you want to restore your game directory to a vanilla state without uninstalling your mods.


I have installed a mod but the corresponding esm/esp doesn't show up. What can I do?

Many mods, such as texture replacers, do not come with a plugin file (esp/esm).

If you are certain that the mod you installed includes a plugin file and it still does not show up after installation, it might be related to deployment. The Plugins screen in Vortex only shows deployed files. If you have disabled automatic deployment and not deployed manually after installing the mod, the plugin won't show up in the list and the mod will not affect your game.

To rectify this, navigate to your Mods screen and make sure your mods are deployed correctly.


Vortex does not list DLCs in the plugins.txt file. Is this a bug?

This is intentional and should not pose a problem. The games will load certain esms automatically and in a hard-coded order so whether or not they are listed in the plugins.txt, and in what order, is irrelevant. Vortex does not list them in the plugin.txt as to not raise the false expectation that you are able to manually reorder the DLCs.

For that same reason DLCs have no "Enable/Disable" toggle in the Vortex UI.


(How) can I enable/disable/remove multiple mods/plugins/downloads at once?

You can Ctrl+Click to select multiple items, Shift+Click to select a range, or Ctrl+A to select all items in the respective lists. The buttons along the bottom of the table (and only these) will then affect the entire selection.


How can I stop Vortex from handling Nexus Mods links?

Just like any software, Vortex cannot be set to "unhandle" a protocol type once it has been set to handle it. Whichever application is the last to announce that it wants to handle a certain protocol type (Nexus Mods links, in our case), will take priority.

Therefore, rather than stopping Vortex from handling Nexus Mods links, you would need to force whichever mod manager you prefer to handle them instead.


Should I delete "x" files/folders from my Vortex installation?

No. All files and folders managed by Vortex have a specific purpose and removing them may cause unexpected side effects up to and including the application crashing.


I am getting a "Application state is invalid" message after updating. Is something wrong?

As Vortex is maintained and updated by the development team, more and more sanity checks are added to ensure orphaned parts of the application state are cleaned up properly. This is not an error and choosing the "Repair" option will take care of orphaned parts ensuring that your Vortex installation is kept up to date.


How is Vortex deployment different to Mod Organizer's VFS?

Both methods achieve a similar result but go about it in different ways. The VFS used by Mod Organizer (originally designed by Tannin, Lead Vortex Developer) has been heavily customised to work with Gamebryo (Bethesda's Elder Scrolls and Fallout series) games and popular tools for that modding scene. Using this approach in Vortex would have the following drawbacks:

  • There is no stable high-quality VFS with a free-to-use licence.
  • VFS methods require extensive customisation to work with different tools, hard links are supposed natively as they are no different to access normal system files.
  • Diagnosing errors in VFS deployment is considerably more difficult.
  • USVFS is a Windows-only feature, whereas hard links are supported on all platforms. This means Vortex would be easier to support Linux or Mac operating systems.
  • USVFS can often trigger false positives on anti-virus software.
  • Hard links have no performance impact on the game, whereas USVFS will access files considerably slower.

This is not to say that using VFS is worse or bad, simply that Vortex did not opt for this as a default deployment method.

You can quickly return to a clean data folder by "purging" mods (this option needs to be revealed by activating "advanced settings" in Settings > Interface > Enable Advanced Mode). Purging is not a destructive operation and can be reversed by redeploying your mods.


I am getting an error about disc space (error: ENOSPC: no space left on device). What is wrong?

Vortex will inform you when you are running out of disk space and won't be able to perform tasks such as installing or deploying mods if not enough space is available. To address the issue, free up some space on your hard drive to enable Vortex to perform its tasks.


BigBizkit 16:36, 16 October 2018 (BST)