How to install Skyrim mods

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This tutorial will take you step-by-step through the process of installing mods for Skyrim, and soon you will be gaming like the rest of us! Note that these instructions are based on Windows 7.


  1. Install Skyrim through Steam. For this tutorial we will be using the path 'C:\Games\Steam\SteamApps\common\skyrim'. If you have installed Steam into your program files folder (which is not recommended) you have three options before you begin modding Skyrim:

    1. Run Skyrim as an admin
      1. Right click the TESV.exe found in your 'Steam\SteamApps\common\skyrim' folder (or alternatively a shortcut to it on your desktop)
      2. Click 'Properties...' and navigate to the "Compatibility" tab
      3. Tick the checkbox next to "Run this program as an administrator"

    2. Give yourself Full Control permissions on your Skyrim folder
      1. In Windows Explorer, go to your 'Steam\SteamApps\common\' folder and right-click your Skyrim folder.
      2. Click 'Properties...' and navigate to the "Security" tab.
      3. Click the "Edit..." button below the top box. A new window will open.
      4. In the box at the top, click on "Users (<your computer name>/Users)".
      5. Tick the Allow box next to Full Control. (If the Allow box is ticked and greyed out, then you already have Full Control permissions through another folder higher up, such as your Steam folder.)
      6. Click OK, then click OK in the Properties window also.

    3. Follow these steps to move your Steam install to a location outside of Program Files

  2. Download a mod you want to install either manually or through NMM. (Follow this tutorial if you don't know how to download mods)

    • NMM-Installation: First make sure NMM (Nexus Mod Manager) is installed. Then simply double-click the mod in the "Mods" tab of NMM after it has finished downloading your mod. It will now begin to install your mod. If you are updating a mod you already have, it will prompt you if you want to update or install separately - what to choose here will vary from mod to mod, so be sure to read the installation instructions of each mod! Once it is installed, you can manage the load order in the "Plugins" tab, where you can simply drag-and-drop the esp to change the load order. If the mod has no esp/esm, it won't appear in the "plugins" tab, but don't worry, it is still installed. if the mod has a esp/esm, be sure to activate it by ticking the checkbox next to it in the plugins tab.

    • Manual Installation: Download and install 7zip. Once you have downloaded the mod, open the archive (.7z, .zip or .rar) with 7zip, and click extract. Extract the files so that the files (esp, bsa, etc.) and the folders (meshes, textures, sounds, etc.) are in the Skyrim data folder (\Games\Steam\SteamApps\Common\Skyrim\Data). Activate the mod through your preferred launcher by ticking the checkbox next to the esp/esm.

  3. You have now installed a mod. Congratulations!
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