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soulmata

Very unstable fresh install, constant CTDs when stress testing

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Hello,

 

I have used STEP installs for a number of years to give myself a stable base to build on. I recently built a new machine back in May, and decided to finally reinstall Skyrim and give it a go. I installed fresh from steam, and began following the STEP guide to rebuild. I ran into trouble almost immediately, starting with constant CTDs. I have spent the past 3 weeks trying to diagnose and resolve the CTDs, and am now at the point of giving up due to no progress. I've reinstalled 4 times at this point and tried just about everything I can possibly think of. Here's the symptoms and configurations I'm dealing with

 

Primary symptom: Constant CTDs whenever stress testing Skyrim

 

Here's the system in question:

Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshero VI

CPU: Ryzen 7 1800X, stock speed and configuration (no overclocking)

RAM: 64GB Corsair Dominator series, stock speed (no overclocking)

ASUS ROG GTX 1070, stock speed and configuration

Windows 10

 

Skyrim is installed to a pair of SSDs, but more on that later.

 

Some major findings I have already resolved:

1) I have turned off the touch keyboard service in Windows 10 that is known to cause Skyrim to crash every 15 minutes

2) I have the patch from Microsoft that allows DX9 apps to access more than 4064MB RAM

 

I have reinstalled Skyrim a total of 4 times, each time reducing how far I proceed with STEP before I try to stress test. The most recent one is the most concerning. I have *only* followed Step up to the point of installing SKSE and its plugins along with ENBoost, with NO mods except the USLEEP and UHRTP patches.

 

As it stands, I'm currently sitting on a Skyrim install that was build as follows:

1) Fresh install + file validation to prove they aren't corrupt + initial launch

2) ESM Clean + STEP guides to prepare driver configuration

3) ENboost, installed and configured per STEP

4) SKSE and the following plugins: Plugin Preloader, CrashFixes, FISS, PapyrusUtil, BugFixes, EnhancedCamera, DoubleCursorFix

5) INI configuration done through BethINI according to STEP

 

 

... and that's it.

 

The game is incredibly unstable. I do a simple stability check by setting my character speed to 1000 or 1500 and running around the world. Without fail, I'm crashing constantly, so far never able to make more than 17 minutes without a crash.

 

I've tried every guide I can find to improve stability. SKSE arguments correct. Other ini tweaks. Really conservative settings. All of it. What I have already ruled out:

 

1) Skyrim is not running out of VRAM. Never exceeding 3GB VRAM used.

2) Skyrim is not exhausting internal memory blocks

3) CTDs occur with or without CrashFixes plugin present

4) CTDs occur regardless of what I do with enboost.

5) CTDs persisted after reinstalls, even to different disks.

 

 

I have no idea where to proceed from here, but would really appreciate some help.

Edited by soulmata

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3) ENboost, installed and configured per STEP

4) SKSE and the following plugins: Plugin Preloader, CrashFixes, FISS, PapyrusUtil, BugFixes, EnhancedCamera, DoubleCursorFix

DoubleCursorFix is not needed if ENB/ENBoost is used. What and why are you using a Preloader? Both of these are not in STEP.

 

The game is incredibly unstable. I do a simple stability check by setting my character speed to 1000 or 1500 and running around the world. Without fail, I'm crashing constantly, so far never able to make more than 17 minutes without a crash.

This test is bogus. From those of us here at STEP who have completed thousands of hours of testing, this is "stability test" is flat out crap...to put it bluntly. ^_^ It mainly started with Vurt (SFO author) spreading it around and can still be found on his mod page. Where it he got it from, I don't know...perhaps he made it up. :lol: The fact that you've gotten to 17 minutes should be proof enough that your game is stable, though. We obviously do not support this testing for stability with STEP. The game was simply not designed for it. By doing it, you are guaranteed to eventually overtax the game engine and get a crash. No amount of tweaking can fix it. Furthermore, the more mods you add the faster you're going to get a crash...because you're overtaxing the engine faster by feeding it larger data.

 

If that is the only testing you are going off of to stay your game isn't stable, then I would suggest you move on. Install the mods you want and play the game. If you get a crash during normal gameplay, then you can start looking into the cause. Though, be aware, classic Skyrim will just simply crash for no reason sometimes. I can play for hours without issue and sometimes just, BAM, random crash for seemingly no reason. Crash Fixes does help to an extent with this since it's fixing some buggy coding or telling the game to ignore certain errors.

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Preloader is required by the CrashFixesPlugin (at least according to its page on Nexus - is that not true?). Additionally, without DoubleCursorFix, I was still getting a double cursor - I am using the latest SKSE.

 

But you have a point, they aren't in STEP - I didn't introduce those until round 3, however, because I started looking for other options. Sorry for missing that.

 

The thing is, it wasn't just the stress testing. I began playing normally, and would experience frequent CTDs.

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Oh, one other thing. Upon installing SRO, I started getting very frequent crashes due to "Game has crashed while reading binary data stream". SRO seems to trigger it non-stop, where I can't even play for more than about 5 minutes, but without it, I have seen it happen a couple of other times too. This is just normal play, around Riverwood. I did re-download and reinstall all texture mods used to test, which at that time were only SFO, SRO, and SMIM.

 

This is what I mean regarding CrashFixPlugin, from the attached file in the mod:

 

 

 

This file is used to indicate that the plugin must be loaded before Skyrim initializes.
 
Requires SKSE Plugin Preloader - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/75795/?
Edited by soulmata

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Did you establish you had a stable game immediately after you completed the STEP installation, whether Extended or Core?  Did you configure BethINI?

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I documented each attempt from start to finish, logging every thing I did, down to which files were installed and what configuration options were selected. Once I can get my 5th attempt to crash, I will report the exact details here.

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Sorry - in each of the cases above, I never even got through getting extended or core. Before the full mod list was out I was already getting severe instability. I at first was pointing all fingers at SRO, because once SRO was active, that's the point where I started hitting "crashed while reading from binary stream" errors constantly. Since then it's been an unraveling process. For now I have repeated STEP only through step 2C, and tomorrow I'm going to do 2d and then apply the texture mods, with nothing else at all, and see what it's like.

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Those mods shouldn't cause any issues. I was simply pointing them out that they weren't in STEP. ^_^

 

I'm going to one-up theblackman here, did you establish that you had a stable game before installing any mods? Is the vanilla game stable? The reason I ask be because you posted this:

I have reinstalled Skyrim a total of 4 times, each time reducing how far I proceed with STEP before I try to stress test. The most recent one is the most concerning. I have *only* followed Step up to the point of installing SKSE and its plugins along with ENBoost, with NO mods except the USLEEP and UHRTP patches.

 

 

If your game was crashing with just this, then the problem is most likely bigger than the game itself (assuming you have SKSE and ENBoost installed correctly). There is no way anyone should crash with just the base setup in the quoted text above.

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In fact, I'll go one step further by stating that you should really be testing the game after installing each section to verify stability. This way you have a very narrow list of candidates that might be causing issues so troubleshooting is significantly easier.

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In fact, I'll go one step further by stating that you should really be testing the game after installing each section to verify stability. This way you have a very narrow list of candidates that might be causing issues so troubleshooting is significantly easier.

 

I do this already, and yes, I had previously verified that vanilla Skyrim was stable, in the sense I was able to play normally for an extended period of time without experiencing CTDs.

 

No, Skyrim is installed to a set of SSDs reserved exclusively for games, and more recently, there is an SSD just for Skyrim itself, to isolate as much as possible.

 

I have not yet completely ruled out some extremely rare and hard to reproduce hardware failure.

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If your game was crashing with just this, then the problem is most likely bigger than the game itself (assuming you have SKSE and ENBoost installed correctly). There is no way anyone should crash with just the base setup in the quoted text above.

 

Yes, that's part of the reason I'm here. I don't believe at all that this is being caused by the mods themselves, or the STEP procedures, or anything like that. Since I also have (mostly) ruled out hardware, what I'm left with is a configuration specific to my machine that I'm unable to determine at this point. However, Skyrim is the only game giving me instability, and I have done pretty exhaustive hardware diagnostics, which is why I'm thinking it is probably something to do with a specific and odd interaction with my system and the way Skyrim is configured. I'd like to figure that part out.

 

My previous install, pre-Windows 10 (Windows 7), was stable. I had a game that was about 250 hours old, and I think I had a CTD maybe once a week. But now, it's constant :(

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You're going to have to clarify something here.

On the one hand you state:

 

 

...The thing is, it wasn't just the stress testing. I began playing normally, and would experience frequent CTDs.

and then again you state:

 

...I had previously verified that vanilla Skyrim was stable, in the sense I was able to play normally for an extended period of time without experiencing CTDs.

So which is it?

 

I see nothing about your system that is inherently unstable which means Skyrim should play the way it does for 99% of the userbase of vanilla Skyrim.

As previously mentioned the test you employ is bogus and what is worse if you continue the game from that point you may have introduced anomalies due to scripts firing prematurely, or conversely not firing when they should. Your playthrough should be on a save that was not 'stressed' that way.

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I'm going to one-up theblackman here, did you establish that you had a stable game before installing any mods? Is the vanilla game stable?

Tech, you and I both know that this is completely unnecessary as, according to Our Lord & Saviour T.H.: "It just works!".

 

 

::P:

 

But seriously, it was one of the reasons why I asked about the Skyrim install path. It used to be that Skyrim had to be installed on the same drive as Steam, although it might be different now, and likely wouldn't explain the CTDs.

 

@soulmata - you don't need to reinstall Skyrim each time, you can just revert to Vanilla which is detailed in the STEP wiki.

 

@GrantSP - I think soulmata is referring to, respectively, after installing STEP and before installing STEP.

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GrantSP made a good point. Make sure you're using a fresh save/new game. I always COC into the game when doing some quick testing, but when creating a stable save to test from it's best to start a proper new save.

 

My gut is telling me this might have to do with Win10 or some other software running in the background. There's good reason I have yet to upgrade to Win10, and it offers nothing as an incentive for me to do so.

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