The purpose of the guide is to provide a set of instruction to aid in the troubleshooting of why Skyrim will not launch when the run button is pressed in Mod Organizer. While geared towards Skyrim, the basic concept can be applied to any supported game. This guide is based on Mod Organizer v1.0.11.
It is assumed that Mod Organizer is installed and working properly and BOSS, TES5Edit and WRYE Bash are installed and working from inside of Mod Organizer. Information on Third Party Programs can be found at the wiki guide Third Party programs tab.
Part One: Clean slate
This section will isolate the game configuration files as a possible cause of the game not loading and will provide a quick way to see if Mod Organizers Virtual File system is working.
Create a clean profile:
The first thing to do is to create a clean profile without any mods other than Skyrim.esm and Update.esm enabled and vanilla Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini.
Go to the profile manager, the ID card button, and click on it to open the profile manager. Click the create button on the top right to create a new profile.
In the dialog that pops up, give the profile a name and put a check in the box next to "Default Game Settings". Mod Organizer will create a default Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini independent from the ones in C:\Users\(User Name)\Documents\my games\skyrim.
Click OK to exit that dialog and since this is a test profile, put a check in the "Local Savegames" box and click close to exit the manage profiles dialog. This will isolate any save game files from the main save folder.
Disable mod check:
Switch to the new profile from the dropdown selector on the top of the left pane. There should not be any mods enabled in this profile in the left pane when switched to it and only the default game files will show up in the right pane along with the DLC and anything that is in the overwrite folder.
If anything is selected in the left pane then right click in there and select "Disable All Visible" to deselect all mods. In the right pane, right click and select from the fly out menu "Disable All". All mods should now be disabled with only the Skyrim.esm and Update.esm selected, the default behavior of Mod Organizer, if the setting has not been changed in options. If the setting has been changed in options then enable both Skyrim.esm and Update.esm now.
Verify that the Skyrim launcher works:
Go to the run dropdown and select from the options "Skyrim Launcher" and click the run button. Mod Organizer will close and run the Game launcher. This is the default behavior if the executable has not been modified in the Modify Executables dialog.
Does the launcher start?
No. Try to start the launcher outside of MO. The launcher should always be run once outside of Mod Organizer on a fresh install or when the game cache has been verified. This is to set up registry settings for other programs to find the game.
Does the launcher run now?
No. This is a Steam problem, verify the game cache from the Steam program.
Yes. Continue below.
Setup the game INI files:
In the launcher window select "Options" and check that the information is correct for the system. Correct anything that is wrong.
In the Detail section set the detail to medium and then set the resolution to the monitor resolution. Set Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering to Off best performance.
When finished click OK to exit the options dialog. This will set up the canned ini files that were created for the clean profile for your system.
Simple check to see if Mod Organizers Virtual File System (VFS) is working:
Click Data Files and check that the mods shown match what was displayed in Mod Organizers right pane, minus Skyrim.esm and update.esm, and that they are not enabled. Disable them if they are. This is a simple check of the Mod Organizer VFS. The only mods that should be there should be the files from the vanilla data directory, the DLC files, any ESPs in the MO overwrite folder. Click Ok and then exit to go back to MO.
Were there any files there?
No. Either you do not have any DLC or ESPs in the overwrite folder or the VFS is not working.
Enable a mod in the left pane and repeat the launcher and data files check.
Are the files there?
No. Mod Organizer may need to be reinstalled. Follow the WIKI Guide Mod Organizer Installation.
Repeat the above check.
Did it work?
No. Search the Issue tracker, the Official Support Forum or the Nexus sites for a similar problem. If an answer cannot be found ask in one of the forums. Lastly, if an answer isn't provided in a reasonable amount of time on the forums then create a bug report in the issue tracker.
Yes. Continue below.
Click Exit to close the Skyrim launcher.
Part Two: Vanilla Skyrim
Start Skyrim without SKSE:
In the run dialog select Skyrim as the program to launch and press the run button.
Does the game start?
No. Possible solutions:
Part Three: SKSE
Run Tesv.exe from the game folder or Steam. Run the game from Steam. Verify the Steam App ID in Mod Organizer settings, Workarounds. It should be 72850. Verify the game cache from Steam program. No. Yes. Exit the game and continue below.
Run the game from SKSE and check the version:
Next try to launch the game from the SKSE entry. Select SKSE from the drop down and press Run. Does the game run to the start menu?
Yes. Open the game console, the tilde key on most keyboards, and type the following without the quotes "GetSKSEVersion". The report back should display the SKSE version number and release number