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Preserving Skyrim and Mods for Later Reinstall

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If this is answered elsewhere, please let me know. I did do some searching, but was unable to find any posts that addressed this directly (or in a way that I thought I could use for my question).


I have a good, stable install of Skyrim with about 250 mods. I've used Mod Organizer, LOOT, TES5Edt and WryeBash to get it there.


I'd like to know how exactly to properly backup everything Skyrim-related to be able to uninstall everything (game, mods, etc) and then later restore Skyrim back to its current stable state.


What is the best step-by-step process to do this?

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This is the approach I used when when I moved everything to a new computer. Note that the backups can be stored on a secondary drive, an external drive, or some other computer on your local network depending on where you need to restore everything. Also note that you can use Windows Explorer (easy peasy) or a command-line tool like xcopy or robocopy depending on your comfort level. If you are using Windows Explorer, I recommend opening two instances. The first instance you use to browse around your local drive to find and copy folders to the clipboard. The second instance should be sitting in your backup folder (say D:\Backups or \\NAS\Backups) and is used to paste the folders from the clipboard.


Backup the Mod Organizer directory (and all its subdirectories) to a safe place. Using Windows Explorer, right click on the Mod Organizer folder, and select Copy. Alt-Tab to the second instance of Windows Explorer, right click, and select Paste. This copies the entire contents of Mod Organizer to the backup folder and may take a while depending on the number of files in the Downloads folder and the number of mods in the Mods folder.


Backup LOOT, TES5Edit, and Wrye Bash the same way.


You can back up all of the Skyrim folder (usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Skyrim) the same way or you can back up only the files you've added to the Skyrim folder (ENBoost, SKSE, etc.) depending on which method you are most comfortable with. The easiest and perhaps safest method is to back up the entire Skyrim folder. This way you know you haven't forgotten to copy something.


Finally, you'll need to backup the Skyrim data stored in C:\Users\\My Games\Skyrim. This is where Skyrim stores the INI files it created when you first launched the game along with your all your saves.


Assuming you need to restore to a blank disk (or just wiped the disk and reinstalled Windows from scratch):


Install Steam and have Steam install Skyrim. When this finishes, run the Skyrim Launcher and select the appropriate video resolution and quality settings, and exit the Skyrim Launcher. This step is absolutely necessary so that it creates the required registry entries  and the default INI files.


Restore Mod Organizer, LOOT, TES5Edit, and Wrye Bash -- use the same basic procedure to copy the folders from the backup folder into the destination folder (say C:\Games).


Restore the Skyrim folder (usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Skyrim) from the backup. Note that when I do this, I copy only those files in the backup folder that aren't already in the Skyrim folder so I don't overwrite any of the vanilla files.


Copy the Skyrim data files back into C:\Users\\Documents\My Games\Skyrim.


Keep everything in your backup folder safely tucked away just in case you need to refer to them again.


Run Mod Organizer to verify your profiles still look good and then run Skyrim to make sure it works as before.

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Personally I see no benefit in backing up the Skyrim, or any game, installation. There should be no changes made to these folders if MO is used and even if you use an ENB they should likewise be added in after the move.

Simply re-install Steam and your game and then copy back to another location your saved MO install.


As for the various tools used by these games such as LOOT, xEdit, etc. Again the simply nature of these tools means you don't really gain anything from making backups of their installs, all of them are so easy to re-install afresh that the effort in making backups seems redundant.


The biggest issue most users face when moving their installs, or at least the biggest perceived issue, is the mod setup. Since this is handled by the files in MO's profiles system, and the actual mod files themselves, making backups of MO's "profiles, mods and downloads" folders seems to be the only truly necessary option.

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I agree with everything you've said except...

  • Skyrim has SKSE, ENBoost, the customized ENBoost INI file, and ENB preset files.
  • TES5Edit has DynDOLOD and other custom scripts. This is less important since DynDOLOD could be downloaded fresh as well.
  • LOOT may have custom rules and I'd rather back it up than have to remember what was in there so I re-create it from scratch.
  • I think Wrye Bash on my end is purely vanilla, so I could skip it.

For me, it's far more about the convenience of not having to rely on my faulty memory to remember what I had installed and what customizations have been made in various places.


OK, fine, I confess... I'm obsessive-compulsive. I can live with that. :wacko:

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For me, it's far more about the convenience of not having to rely on my faulty memory to remember what I had installed and what customizations have been made in various places.


OK, fine, I confess... I'm obsessive-compulsive. I can live with that. :wacko:

LOL. I'm with you on that one, Greg! :)


Grant does make good points about the necessity (or un-necessity) of backing up some of the tools, but I'd rather know that I have EVERYTHING I was using for a stable install backed up.


Thanks both of you!



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