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Should I have the "Have MO manage archives" checkbox checked or not?


I'm getting some conflicting advice here. I've been reading the comments on the Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch nexus page and a lot of people have said that having this checkbox turned on causes some problems with load order (or something like that). Even Arthmoor and the other mods over at the USLEEP nexus page is against the idea of using MO because of it apparently. Here is a direct quote from somebody recommending people NOT to use the archive (although not Arthmoor or his mods):



 I wanted to add as I know there will other users who are using MO and are also new to help avoid this issue there is a checkbox at the very top of the archive tab in MO where it asks to have MO manage archives. DO NOT select this, if you do then it WILL bypass the load order of plugins and instead load according to your install order in the left pane which for most users will be incorrect and frustrate them as changes to their load order manually or through loot will not work as they should . It will also allow a file in BSA to supersede a loose file of the same which is also incorrect

Also, Arthmoor stated this in the USLEEP mod page:




DO NOT extract the contents of the BSA file into your Data folder as loose files, or let your mod manager perform an equivalent function on the contents of the file. Doing so will cause things to load in the wrong order and break the game. Skyrim is intended to load a BSA alongside it's ESM/ESP file. Circumventing this causes issues which we will not provide support for. If you insist on going against this advice, you will receive no support for the problems you generate as a result of this.

I'm not familiar with what he's saying so I apologize for the noob-ish question, but is he talking about the "Have MO manage archives" feature of MO?


I've had this checkbox checked for as long as I can remember while playing both Skyrim and New Vegas. I had no idea it would be "bad". Is it really true that it should be turned off for minimum problems? I'm in the middle of installing mods so is it okay to just turn it off just like that?
While I'm on the topic of MO, can somebody tell me if I'm supposed to launch MO first or the SkyrimLauncher first when I want to initialize the .ini on a fresh install? I'm also getting conflicting accounts here. 

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As far as I understand it the first quote is entirely incorrect. Having MO manage archives will have no effect on your load order of plugins whatsoever. I’m also fairly certain loose files always take priority over .BSA (archives).


Arthmoor’s position on .BSA is fairly well known, and certainly well-informed, but most guides for Oldrim say to extract all .BSA through MO (except exclusively for Arthmoor’s mods, I think largely just to not piss him off). This allows for a great degree of control over your install as you can check all installed files/overwrites against each other in MO’s ‘conflicts’ tab, and there have not been reports of errors or game issues as a result... This method has worked for me for years and many long playthroughs, I see no reason to not trust it.


Short answer - yes, you should let MO handle archives.

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@Arthmoor's anti-MO stance is well known to most people and he will take any chance he can to reinforce his view of it being an inferior manager. Having said that he is quite entitled to his view when it comes to offering support for his mods.


Now, the stated opinion that having MO manage the BSAs is inherently broken is just wrong. True there a few fringe situations when the order of the BSAs needs to be massaged due to this system, in fact I had to jump through some hoops in my TTW installation to fix that, but in 99.99% of cases it makes no difference.


As for the second quotation, that is talking of another matter entirely, that of extracting the contents of BSAs. MO's management of BSAs is NOT equivalent to extracting them. MO has NO inherent control of the contents of BSAs, their contents are controlled only by the game upon runtime. Because of this I too concur with the advice to not extract them into your game folder. (nb. some experienced guides may advise this but will do so under strict control and you will need to follow them to a "T".)


Running the launcher for any game will always initialise your INIs.


To conclude, let me offer this: the user is quite free to decide whether to allow MO to manage the BSAs or not, that's why it is an option. Doing either will not break the game it just means they will need to be aware of the ramifications of either action. Informed choice is the goal here.

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