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Query about 2.2.9 - Instructions for cleaning Update.esm


I want to start by complimenting the people creating the documentation on the current 2.2.8 version of Step. You've added a lot of useful information and I know writing documentation can be a thankless job - so, thank you very much!


I have a question about the instructions for cleaning the Update.esm as detailed here:


It says:


  • After cleaning, there shall be files in Overwrite (essentially a fake mod located at the bottom of the left pane if sorted by priority ascending) created by TES5Edit.
  • Right-click Overwrite and select Create Mod
  • Name it TES5Edit Backups and click OK. This will create a new mod listing in the left pane for the TES5Edit Backups useful if the changes failed to be successful.
  • Each subsequent time TES5Edit is used to edit a file, open Overwrite and drag the TES5Edit Backups back to this mod. This will keep them in an organized and safe location. The files have no impact on the game.
  • Right-click the TES5Edit Backups mod and select Ignore Missing Data to remove the red X Posted Image flag.


I find this a little confusing. I don't need to enable that TES5Edit Backups mod which I create, right? It's just a working folder to hold files that get cleaned? Wouldn't be better to create that folder in Explorer rather than have it be a fake "mod". Or even just delete the contents of Overwrite, if we're not going to use them?


I'm also confused about the consequences of putting the backups in the Overwrite file to begin with. If TES5Edit changes a file, doesn't the original mod get changed? I mean, if there's a folder structure like so:






And I use TES5Edit to clean modA.esp, the original file gets changed. But your instructions say to


1. make a copy of modA.esp

2. clean modA.esp

3. put the clean modA.esp into its own separate mod called something like ../clean_myMod/

4. copy the original unclean modA.esp back into its original folder

5. Make sure that both myMod and clean_myMod are enabled, with clean_myMod overwriting

6. Cleaning out the Overwrite file, even though you do in fact have a new mod overwriting the original myMod.


This all just seems like a convolution that will result in double the number of mods that MO would need to juggle files for. I get that it creates a backup of the unclean file, in case you want to undo a cleaning, but wouldn't it just be simpler to reinstall the original mod, in that case?


At any rate, firstly, may I suggest editing the bolded portion to read "Do not enable the TES5Edit Backups mod. Each subsequent time TES5Edit is used to clean a file, it will create a new entry in Overwrite containing the pre-cleaned back up of the file. Open Overwrite and move the newly created entry to the TES5Edit Backups mod. This will keep the pre-cleaned back up files in an organzied and safe location. The files have no impact on the game."


Second, may I suggest just skipping it?

Edited by kylhwch

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When you clean the official files then tes5edit will make the changes to the files in the data folder. If you also select that it should make a backup then it will also create a copy of the unmodified file and put it in the backup folder in overwrite. If you want to keep an entirely pristine vanilla installation without cleaned files then you need to copy the backups back and rename them after you copied the new ones into new folders. However I would advice against that. It is easier to just leave the cleaned files in the data folder and if you ever need to get the pristine files again simply delete them and reverify with steam, wont take long since the .esm files are very small. 


When you clean mods then it will automatically make the changes in the mod folder. Again if you enable backup then an unmodified file will be created in overwrite. But again rather redundant since you could just simply reinstall the mod with only the .esp. 


If you create a new .esp using tes5edit then it will be placed in overwrite and you can place it elsewhere if you so wish. 



I hope that covers all three scenarios one can experience. Just to avoid any confusion going forward. 

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Thanks for your thoughts! It sounds like the best plan is to just skip having TES5Edit make backups and instead reinstall if anything goes sideways. For the time being though I'll just follow the STEP instructions.

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I am having the same issue as the OP. This part of the guide is incredibly confusing. It says to make a backup of update.esm, then it basically says to put the backup, uncleaned .esm into your data folder and delete your overwrite that has the actual cleaned update.esm?




Can I just clean update.esm outside of mod organizer because I can not make heads or tails of this. x.x


Also THANK YOU so much for this guide. I've learned so much.


Edit :  I found the youtube video of GamerPoets describing how to do this step by step. Indeed, I have the issue where the cleaned update.esm is in my backupfolder and skyrim main data folder no longer has update.esm

Edited by wubbit

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Just follow the text instructions. The video is outdated.


The text instructions basically say:


- Make a backup copy of Update.esm to the desktop.

- Then clean it with TES5Edit.

- Restore the Update.esm you copied to the desktop to "Skyrim\Data" directory.

- Then overwrite will have two items...an Update.esm and a TES5Edit backup folder. Delete TES5Edit backup folder. (You don't need this as you already restored it from the desktop.)

- Right-click overwrite, create mod, name it Cleaned Update ESM.

- Drag it to the very top of the MO left pane

- Tick it.


Done. Basically, you clean Update.esm and create a mod from it. But you restore the original Update.esm. The Cleaned Update ESM ends up being a "fake" mod that loads after.


I hope that makes sense. And no, you cannot clean it outside of MO. Just follow the STEP text instructions exactly. They may seem a little odd, but they work.




Good luck!

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So, I did the cleaning procedures, but I don't have anything in the Overwrite folder, and hence, no cleaned ESM in the mod list. It *did* work when I cleaned Dawnguard.esm, but not for Update.esm, Hearthfire.esm, or Dragonborn.esm. Only the Cleaned Dawnguard.esp shows in the plugin list. Yet, in my MO mod folder, there is a "Cleaned [Mod Name]" folder for each one I cleaned, and in it is the cleaned esm file.

Is this normal?

If it's not, how do I get the mod load list to show the cleaned esm for the Update, Dragonborn, and Hearthfire? Going by the instructions on the STEP guide for each esm, something went wrong.


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I don't know what you did. There are two scenarios listed for each thing you clean.


Follow the instructions in the guide exactly and you should be fine. I really do not know how to explain the process any clearer than the guide does.


As the instructions say, only load the specific plug in you are cleaning at the time, along with Skyrim.esm and Update.esm. Dawnguard also has to be cleaned twice.


Verify your game cache through Steam and try again. It's very important that you follow the steps exactly.

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