How to Install Skyrim Mods on Skyrim Special Edition

admin19 February 2023Last Update :

Embarking on the Modding Journey in Skyrim Special Edition

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a timeless RPG classic, has captivated gamers with its vast open world and immersive gameplay. With the release of the Skyrim Special Edition, the flames of adventure have been rekindled, offering enhanced graphics and mod support for both PC and consoles. Modding Skyrim can transform your gameplay experience, adding new content, improved textures, and unique features that can make your journey through Tamriel even more enchanting. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the steps necessary to install mods on Skyrim Special Edition and elevate your gaming experience to new heights.

Understanding Skyrim Mods and Their Impact

Before we embark on the technical process of installing mods, it’s essential to understand what mods are and how they can alter your Skyrim experience. Mods, short for modifications, are user-created content that can change various aspects of the game. From simple cosmetic changes to complete gameplay overhauls, mods can cater to every player’s desires, making each playthrough unique.

Types of Mods

  • Graphical Enhancements: These mods improve the visual fidelity of the game, offering higher resolution textures, better lighting, and more.
  • Gameplay Tweaks: Mods that alter the mechanics of the game, such as combat, leveling, or economy systems.
  • New Content: Add-ons that introduce new quests, characters, items, or even entirely new lands to explore.
  • Quality of Life Improvements: Mods that make the game more user-friendly, with interface enhancements and bug fixes.

With a clear understanding of the types of mods available, let’s dive into the process of installing them on Skyrim Special Edition.

Preparing for Mod Installation

Before you start downloading and installing mods, it’s crucial to prepare your game and ensure that it’s ready for modding. This involves creating a clean game environment, updating your game to the latest version, and making backups of your save files.

Creating a Clean Game Environment

A clean game environment means that your Skyrim Special Edition installation is free from any previous mods that could potentially conflict with new ones. If you’ve never modded your game before, you’re already set. If you have, it’s recommended to uninstall and reinstall the game to start fresh.

Updating Skyrim Special Edition

Ensure that your copy of Skyrim Special Edition is updated to the latest version. This is crucial because most mods are created to work with the most recent version of the game. Updates can be easily managed through platforms like Steam or the console’s respective store.

Backing Up Save Files

Modding can sometimes lead to instability, and there’s always a risk of save file corruption. To safeguard your progress, back up your save files regularly. On PC, you can find your saves in the ‘DocumentsMy GamesSkyrim Special EditionSaves’ directory. Console players can use cloud storage or USB drives for backups.

Choosing a Mod Manager

A mod manager is an essential tool for handling the installation and management of mods. It simplifies the process, helps resolve conflicts between mods, and keeps your modded game organized. There are several mod managers available, but we’ll focus on two of the most popular ones: Nexus Mod Manager (Vortex) and Mod Organizer 2.

Nexus Mod Manager (Vortex)

Vortex is the official mod manager provided by Nexus Mods, one of the largest modding communities. It’s user-friendly and integrates seamlessly with the Nexus Mods website, making mod installation straightforward.

Mod Organizer 2

Mod Organizer 2 (MO2) is a more advanced tool that offers greater control over your mods. It uses a virtual file system, which keeps your actual game folder clean and allows for easy profile management for different mod setups.

Installing a Mod Manager

Once you’ve chosen a mod manager, the next step is to install it. For this guide, we’ll use Vortex as an example, but the process is similar for MO2.

Downloading and Installing Vortex

  1. Visit the Nexus Mods website and create a free account if you haven’t already.
  2. Download the latest version of Vortex.
  3. Run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to install Vortex on your system.
  4. Once installed, open Vortex and log in with your Nexus Mods account.
  5. Vortex will ask you to set up game profiles. Ensure that Skyrim Special Edition is detected and set as the active game.

Finding and Downloading Mods

With your mod manager installed, it’s time to start browsing for mods. Nexus Mods is the go-to source for Skyrim mods, but other websites like also host a variety of mods, especially for console players.

Using Nexus Mods

On the Nexus Mods website, you can search for mods by category, tags, or using the search bar. When you find a mod you like, read the description carefully for installation instructions and compatibility notes.

Downloading Mods with Vortex

For mods on Nexus Mods, you can use the ‘Mod Manager Download’ button to automatically send the mod to Vortex. Alternatively, you can download the mod files manually and then drag and drop them into Vortex’s ‘Mods’ section.

Installing and Configuring Mods

Once you’ve downloaded some mods, it’s time to install them. Vortex makes this process easy with its intuitive interface.

Installing Mods with Vortex

  1. In Vortex, navigate to the ‘Mods’ tab.
  2. Find the mod you want to install and click the ‘Install’ button.
  3. After installation, click the ‘Enable’ button to activate the mod.
  4. Repeat this process for each mod you wish to install.

Configuring Load Order and Resolving Conflicts

Load order is the sequence in which Skyrim loads mods. It’s crucial for preventing conflicts and ensuring stability. Vortex has a built-in feature to sort your load order automatically, but you can also adjust it manually if needed. If there are any conflicts, Vortex will notify you and provide options to resolve them.

Testing Your Modded Game

After installing your mods, it’s important to test your game to ensure everything is working correctly. Start Skyrim Special Edition and load your save file or start a new game. Pay attention to any errors or unusual behavior, which could indicate a problem with a mod or load order.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • Crashes: If your game crashes on startup or during gameplay, it could be due to a mod conflict or missing dependency. Check the mod descriptions for any required mods or compatibility patches.
  • Texture or Mesh Issues: Missing textures or odd-looking objects can occur if a mod is not installed correctly. Ensure that all mod assets are properly enabled.
  • Performance Drops: Some mods, especially graphical enhancements, can impact performance. If you experience significant framerate drops, consider using lighter mods or adjusting your graphics settings.

Maintaining Your Modded Skyrim

As you continue to play and add more mods to your game, maintenance becomes key. Regularly check for mod updates, back up your save files, and be prepared to troubleshoot any new issues that arise.

Updating Mods

Mod authors often release updates to their mods, which can include bug fixes, new features, or compatibility patches. Vortex can notify you of updates and streamline the update process.

Backing Up Your Mods and Saves

Just as with save files, it’s a good idea to back up your mod list and configurations. Vortex allows you to create profiles, which you can use to save your current mod setup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install mods on Skyrim Special Edition for consoles?

Yes, console players can install mods on Skyrim Special Edition through the in-game mod menu or via However, the selection of mods and the ability to use mod managers like Vortex or MO2 are limited compared to PC.

Do mods disable achievements?

On PC, using mods can disable achievements. However, there are mods available that re-enable achievements while using other mods. Console players may also experience disabled achievements when mods are active.

How do I know if two mods are incompatible?

Read the mod descriptions and any provided documentation carefully. Most mod authors will list known incompatibilities. Additionally, mod managers like Vortex can detect potential conflicts and notify you.

What should I do if a mod causes my game to crash?

First, try disabling the mod and see if the crash persists. If the crash stops, the mod may be the culprit. Check for any missing dependencies or compatibility patches. If the issue continues, consult the mod’s comments section or forums for help.


Modding Skyrim Special Edition can breathe new life into the game, offering endless possibilities for customization and new adventures. By following this guide, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to safely and effectively install mods. Remember to mod responsibly, keep backups, and most importantly, enjoy the revitalized world of Skyrim!


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