Nexus Mod Manager Guide by "TheStigma"
----------------GENRAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE-----------------------
Nexus Mod Manager (NMM) is a tool that automates the installation of mods to Skyrim (and some other Bethesda games) - thus making the process a lot less intimidating for non-technical users. It also lets you easily keep track of what mods are installed and active at any given moment, so that your installation does not become messy (and potentially buggy) from an accumulation of half-installed mods and such. Since version 0.12.11 I feel this tool is now a better option for most users to install mods as the program is now reasonably stable for the most part. The writer of this guide is not part of the development team - nor affiliated with the mod manager author or Skyrimnexus.com (check the linked download page if you want to check the official information available).
Step1: Download Nexus mod manager using the following link:
If you have downloaded this program earlier - make sure that it is it up to date. Especially versions before 0.12.11 will tend to crash a lot and is thus not recommended. The program has an in-built update check (and button to check manually). Use this to update if you have an earlier version or simply download the latest version (0.12.11 at the time of writing, 29nov. 2011) from the link above. Development is on-going so you are generally advised to update whenever the mod manager detects a new version (you will get prompted with on-screen instructions when the program automatically detects an update).
Step2: Install the program normally as you would any other program. You can use the default installation options if you are unsure about anything it asks you during installation.
Step3: After installation - run the program (using default installation you will have a new program icon on your desktop you can use to start it). You will be asked at startup what game it is supposed to manage for you. Choose Skyrim obviously.
Step4: Actually using the program to install mods:
- When first starting the program you will be prompted to log in with your Nexus account. If you don't have one just sign up for a free one from the website:
- You may also be prompted (on first running of the program) to help the program find the Skyrim installation directory. If needed, simply browse to the main directory you installed Skyrim to. Usually this will be automatically detected however, and if this is the case this step is skipped.
- The program menus should now have loaded up. Let's get some mods.
Now you should go find a mod from skyrimnexus.com you want to install.
Just as an example: http://www.skyrimnex.../file.php?id=30
You will notice there is a button called "download with manager"
(note that in mods where you have options of variations of the mod you can usually select a specific mod package by first clicking "download" to get more download options).
press that - and the mod will download in nexus mod manager (under the "download manager" tab)
It will remain there as long as it is downloading - but after it is done it will show up under the "mod" tab
The mod will now be ready to install.
- Once you have one or more mods downloaded and ready to install (visible under the "mods" tab) you can simply select one from the menu and press the button for activating the mod (hover mouse over the buttons for descriptions for each). The mod manager will handle the rest. You will notice there is also of course a button for disabling a mod. Now you have an easy overview of all the mods you have installed and you can enable and disable them with the click of a button. Be sure to exit Skyrim before adding or removing mods obviously.
- That's it basically. You can now just run the game. If you are using an alternative executable (such as the 4GB Skyrim mod) you should run that .exe directly rather than using the in-built "run skyrim" button - as I suspect this button just runs the default .exe directly.
Exceptions and other stuff you should be aware of:
- Some mods will not be compatible. That is to say if you try to install 2 mods that both alter the same files then there will be a conflict. The mod manager does not directly take this into account and give you a warning at this stage so you will have to be aware of this yourself. If you try to install a mod that alters files that another mod already altered you will get a prompt that asks you if you want to overwrite the files or not. If this happens you should usually answer no, and then disable the mod you just tried to install afterwards so that all the other non-conflicting files are also removed. If you want this mod then you will have to first deactivate the conflicting mod (the mod manager will tell you which mod had conflicting files) before installing the other one.
- There is one notable exception to the conflicts mentioned above. Many mods include a readme.txt which are just instructions - so if that is the only conflicting file then you can overwrite (or not overwrite) when you install other mods without it causing a problem. The readme.txt is not actually used by the game. If you install several mods this will happen a lot - so don't be afraid to overwrite the file as long as it is just readme.txt (or a similar name that indicates it is only an instruction).
- In a few cases you will want to install more mods that have file conflicts anyway. Usually you should only try this with mods that don't alter how the game actually works - ie. usually texture mods. If you do this then you need to pay attention to the sequence in which you activate the mods - because the latter ones will replace conflicting files from the previous ones. As said you should usually only try this with texture mods or similar since these mods will not mess up your game if you do something wrong when trying to mix together mods (it just won't look as you wanted it to). Mixing functional mods in this manner however could have disastrous consequences and should be strictly avoided.
- Note that in a few cases there are mods that are actually several mods all in one. This may be because the mod has optional files you can install to tweak how it works for example (such as "Enhanced Blood Textures" which has an optional addon "blurry screen blood" for example - or "Enhanced Night Skyrim" where you actually choose one file package for altering the stars, and one for altering the galaxy and you are free to mix. In these cases when you install more than one such "part" from a mod - the mod manager will say that you already have the mod installed and will ask you if you want to update it. It is usually suggested that you answer "no" in these cases so that each mod-part will show up as a seperate mod (making it easier to enable/disable bits as you wish). If you choose "yes" then it just merges the second part you installed into the first part so it only shows up as a single mod in the list. This works too - but is less convenient if you wanted to chance any of these optional files later to something else - ebcause you would have to deavtive the whole thing and redownload/install all the separate parts including the ones you didn't want to swap out.
- A few mods require one extra step. After installing, some of them will add an extra module file under the "plugins" tab. You will need to tick that box for the corresponding mod you want to run. Note that disabling a mod should remove the plugin - so generally you should just make sure to have all the plugins ticked on that page. If you want to disable a mod then it is better to do that via the disable function on the "mods" tab. This keeps it nice and tidy.
- The vast majority of mods will install correctly via the mod manager. A few however simply don't do anything when you activate them. I am not exactly sure of why - but likely this is just some missing instructions in the file package and can probably be updated to work if the mod author is notified. If you are in doubt if something is installed correctly you can simply check the file package and see where the files in it are supposed to go (by looking at the file structure in the compressed file) - then activate the mod - and check in your skyrim folder afterwards if the files were put in where you expected them to go. Mods that for whatever reason don't install correctly don't seem to do anything at all and are thus not very likely to cause any problems at least. You will just have to manually install these for the time being (and perhaps notify the mod author to rectify the problem in future updates so it can support automatic installation).
- The mod manager checks for new versions of mods automatically and notifies you (you get a yellow warning icon next to outdated mods). This system seems to essentially work - but be aware that you should not trust this system blindly yet. The problem seems to be that a lot of the mod authors seem to not be familiar with the system yet and either forget to update the online version status, or mark new versions wrongly. Therefore it can happen that you get weird situations like mod manager saying that you have version 1.2 installed and that the newest version is version 1.0 (the author hasn't remembered to update his version number on the mod page). Just be aware of the problem in the case of some mode - notify the mod author to fix it - and use a little bit of common sense and you should not end up too confused. Likely this problem will diminish with time as serious mod authors become more familiar with how the system works.