February 12, 2012

Could it really be this easy?

After going through the following, I still got two crashes with the same save game - seemed to have been alleviated with saving and loading a new game:

* Speedstep Settings (tried with off and on)
* Core Parking disabled
* Removed Sound Card
* Various other iterations of settings (compatibility mode, audio settings, admin mode, etc, etc)

Problem is: this "black screen/rebooting" thing ONLY HAPPENS IN SKYRIM.

Then I see a post from user "gjm777" on a couple of forums who advises to disable auto saving as he/she believes the problem is when loading a new area and autosaving at the same time.  This actually makes sense in light of the previous times I've seen this crash, including the latest crash: Creating a new save game seems to have made a difference.

Here's his post: http://forums.nexusmods.com/index.php?/topic/561338-black-screen-pc-crashlockup-fix-thread/

Here's what I just did:
1.Go to your %userprofile%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim directory.
2. Within the skyrimprefs.ini change the following lines as follows:


Current theory is that for some combination of hardware, some save games get corrupted, possibly due to timing issues (hey that sounds good), causing the engine to freak out.

New round of testing begins.  The soundcard removal and everything before that was a red herring.


  1. Wow, that's interesting.

    For a quick update from me, I have tried many things, and unscientifically, my current config is changed many ways since I started.

    -Lower the sound quality
    -Disable antialiasing
    -Set power profile to maximum performance
    -Disable core parking

    None of these helped much at all, and I was getting crashes within minutes of launching the game.

    -Set skyrimlauncher.exe and tesv.exe to compatibility mode for Windows XP SP2 (and without really thinking about it, launching from Windows Explorer rather than Steam)

    This seemed to give me hours of stability, but I did have one crash happen while I paused a game and walked away for a bit, though it's possible the screen saver might have been the culprit. This is purely anecdotal and could very well be related to an uncorrupt save game.

    -I tried one last thing: setting the display adapter to high performance in NVidia control panel (I only boot to Windows to play games on the Macbook Pro).

    I have had two sessions, 2-4 hours long each, no crash. Is it related to what I did? I can't say. But at least I've managed to make some progress and get immersed in the game again.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. More and more I'm convinced that the auto-saving is the issue. Definitely give that a try. When you load your game, make a new save file and just do manual quick saves (F5) to that save game. I've gone through your iterations as well and always ended the same: crash-reboots.

  3. Interesting thing happened when playing last - at one point, just outside of Whiterun, I ran into an old Orc who wanted to "die a good death" and after I started to grant his which, the screen froze for 1/2 second, the sound started to stutter and it seemed like the start of a black screen/reboot crash, but then it recovered and no issue for the next four hours.

    So what happened? I think the game started to change all kinds of variables based on that decision to engage the Orc and that caused the stutter as things were loaded and changed.

    I think if *THAT* situation happens AND there is a auto-save at the same time, things go downhill really fast and the whole system crashes. Since I disabled auto-saving, then it didn't crash.

    I shouldn't say nothing else happened the rest of the session - after a period of time, I noticed a slight "heaviness" to the whole game. Seemed a little jerky vs the normal super smooth. It's barely noticeable. But I saved the game, exited to Desktop and restarted Skyrim and loaded the game and it was back to smoothness. I think this is just the engine having too much garbage (memory leak anyone?) in memory and reloading cleared it out. Next time this happens, I will try just saving to a new save file and then loading it to see if the heaviness is lifted.

    Anyway, that's my latest update.


Please be helpful and courteous. Thanks!