This guide is intended to fix or prevent as many bugs, glitches, freezes, etc. as possible. Following this guide usually results in the smoothest performance.
These Key Tips won't fix or prevent any glitches or freezes. However, they will make their affect on your game less severe.
The most common fix for glitches is to reload a previous save. The only recovery for a freeze is to load your last save. Don't rely on autosaves to do this for you.
There are several recommended number of saves to keep.
Open World: Absolute minimum of 3 saves. Overwrite oldest file.
Quest Structure: 5 Saves at certain points in a quest.
1 before accepting a quest or somewhere safe (like a city) before you leave on the quest.
1 before entering the dungeon (still outside and able to fast travel)
2 Inside the dungeon (you can overwrite these multiple times in a dungeon, just overwrite the older save)
1 before accepting the reward (ideally before entering the cell that contains the quest giver)
Game Changing Decisions: Keep an easily identifiable save before you do something like pick a side of the civil war. Save while looking directly at a snow bank, or while standing in a forge looking strait down to make the save easily identifiable.
Don't Overwrite: Simply don't overwrite a file and have hundreds of saves dating back to when you first arrive at Helgen. Keep in mind that this will use up a ton of the PS3's memory.
When you start a new game, Skyrim automatically creates a save named "Prisoner." The next time you start a new game, Skyrim will not create a new save, but will rather overwrite the previous Prisoner game save. If the Prisoner save has been deleted, Skyrim will create a new one.
What often happens is that a player will overwrite this save with their current character, play for a while (only ever keeping 1 save, simply overwriting the same save again and again), decide they want to start a new game, and unintentionally delete the first character.
There is no fix, the first character is gone. However, there is an easy way to prevent this from happening. Never Overwrite the Prisoner Save. It's recommended that you delete the save from the PS3 after it has been created to prevent yourself from accidentally overwriting the save.
Following this portion of the guide will prevent many bugs and freezes, as well as decrease loading times.
This is the most important part of this FAQ. This will fix the infamous water freezing glitch. This fixes most performance issues.
On the XMB (XrossMediaBar: PS3's Main Menu), scroll. . .
up to "Game Data Utility"
Scroll to "Skyrim"
Scroll to "Skyrim Update"
Allow the game to download and install latest patch
Allow the game to download and install a new Game Data Utility
If you have DLC: Exit Skyrim (without loading any saves), then re-download and re-install all your DLCs from the PlayStation Store.
Load the save you want to continue playing on the new patch
Once loaded, save the game on a new save file (image is Skyrim's logo). Do Not Overwrite Previous Save! Repeat until you have recovered all saves you want to recover.
Turn the PS3 off and back on
On the XMB Scroll to "Game"
Scroll to "Saved Data Utility (PS3tm)
Scroll to Skyrim
Select the original saves (most recent saves are on top, do not delete those)
Delete (repeat until all original saves have been deleted) (This is to ensure you don't accidentally overwrite one in the future)
Other ways of doing this procedure.
Restart the System at the end of each part
Disconnect from the internet and download Game Data before the Patch
Download and installing DLCs before downloading Patch and Game Data
Turn Off Autosaves
The most common complaint about Skyrim is that the loading screens take forever to load. There is an easy fix. Turn off the Travel Autosave. This also prevents some bugs and freezes.
While in the game. . .
Scroll over to the Load/Save screen
Scroll down to "Save on Travel" and deselect it.
Optional: deactivate all autosaves
Press circle three times (will pause to save) to return to normal gameplay
If your game is freezing or experiencing frame rate issues, preform the following procedures.
Repeat Patch Updating
Often referred to as "delete patch and game data utility." Simply follow the Patch Updating procedure.
Dwemer Museum Keys
If you have completed the Thieves Guild quest "Hard Answers" you have a Dwemer Museum Key. That means that you quite possibly have a lot more than "a" key. For some reason, the Dwemer Museum Keys duplicate in your inventory.
To fix this issue, find an enemy, kill them, and place all spare keys on the dead body (recommend keeping 1). When the body is deleted from the game, it takes the keys with it.
In the PS3 Main Menu. . .
Scroll to "Game"
Scroll to Saved Data Utility (PS3tm)
Scroll to Skyrim
Highlight your saves.
Corrupted Saves will be obvious. If nothing appears amiss, keep troubleshooting.
Pull out the disk and make sure it doesn't have scratches, fingerprints, etc.
Make sure that the PS3 isn't overheating. It is a good idea to clean the air vents often. If the system is overheating, clean it and place it in a well ventilated place.
Stick in another disk based game and see if it plays. If you are having issues with all games, your disk reader may be damaged.
This is easily prevented. Never move the PS3 with a disk in it.
Barricade yourself in your house and wait for 24 hours for 31 times. This will reset everywhere that can be reset.
This is an absolute last resort. If this does not fix your game, nothing will.
Copy all saves you want to keep on a USB flash drive or external USB hard drive.
Disconnect the external storage device from the PS3.
Delete everything Skyrim Related from your PS3.
Game Data Utility
All Game Saves
Start Skyrim and start a new game.
Make sure that the game isn't lagging or freezing.
Reconnect the external storage device and copy your saves back to the PS3.
Load your save and hope it works.
Water freezes game
This is caused by not following the Patch Updating procedure when you update your game from a patch before 1.5 to one after 1.5. You can follow the mentioned procedure at any time, so do that next time you play.
Save Won't Load
This was originally suggested by GameFAQs user Atomicsniper
If you're trying to load a save and it gets stuck on a loading screen. Try loading a different save (or start a new game), then try to load your original save while in-game.
If for some reason your character is stuck; can't pull out a weapon, can't enter or leave sneak mode, etc. Simply find a chair, sit down, and stand up.
This glitch is where Farkas, Vilkas, or Aela will constantly walk up to you with their weapon drawn, and initiate dialog. They have no new dialog, so you exit the dialog. a few seconds later, they do it again.
The issue is the fact that Farkas, Vilkas, and Aela all have guard programming. They don't have a hold they belong to, nor do they have the correct dialog; so if you have a fine in any hold, they will attempt to arrest you without being able to.
To fix this, press start and find your crime stats; this should show where you have a bounty. Go to that hold and pay your fine.
Quest Bugged Out
Check UESP to see if your specific bug has a fix. If there isn't one...
Load a previous save. This is why it is important to Save Often
DLC Specific Bugs
These sections may contain spoilers. You have been warned.
Vampire Attack Prevention
This comes curtsy of demonwyrm and is directly copied and pasted with permission.
The random vampire attacks can be avoided by carefully managing your traveling, especially fast traveling. You don't want to enter any hold city at night. This includes leaving a building after dark. Just to note, night officially starts at 7pm and ends at 5am.
You have to always keep a mental note when traveling into a hold city to first use the wait option to make sure it will be day time whenever you reach whatever city you're traveling to. You'll start to memorize how long it takes to fast travel to the different cities depending on where you're fast traveling from. A few examples: Riften is roughly 12 hours from Whiterun. Wait till midnight, then fast travel. Riften is also roughly 24 hours from Markarth or Solitude, so, wait until around 8am - 12 noon, then fast travel.
I know, it can get tedious, but it works. I've played through Dawnguard multiple times and never experienced a single vampire attack (after learning my lesson watching multiple NPCs get slaughtered).
Keep that mental note when leaving buildings too. If you entered, say, the Thieve's Guild in the late afternoon, then spent some time down there doing whatever, once you exit to Riften proper, the same rules apply as if you traveled into Riften from somewhere else.
IMPORTANT: If you forget and travel into a city and realize it's after dark. Reload an old save. Don't quickly bring up the wait menu and wait until day time. This won't work. If you traveled into a city and it's after dark, the vampire attack may already be triggered. So even if you quickly wait until day time, the attack will still happen.
Finally, once you have Dawnguard, make beating the main quest your primary objective. Once it's over, the attacks will stop.
Even if the Dawnguard main quest is completely finished, blocking out the sun with bloodcursed arrows can potentially re-activate the random attacks as long as the sun is blocked out. Once the effect wears off, everything will return to normal.
Sometimes, if you aren't a vampire and are with Serana, you may suddenly contract vampirism (not the easily curable disease sanguine vampirism, full blown vampirism).
The issue is that Serana is carrying a Blood Potion (you probably gave her one). For unknown reasons, this causes this glitch. Take the Blood Potion away from her.
always freezes at...
If your game always freezes when you first get to Solstheim or after reading/finishing a Black Book; don't worry. Your game probably hasn't frozen. What is happening is the game has forced Autosaves at these locations, and they stop the game in a way that looks just like a freeze for several seconds.
Simple fix: Wait it out. it will take about 10-30 seconds max. If your game is still frozen after 2 minutes; it has probably really frozen.
Many followers can become stewards. Several Mercenaries are able to be stewards. However, they often bug out. Common issues are not receiving the Steward dialog after appointing them. Another is the merc/steward loosing the steward dialog after using them as a follower and dismissing them. There are also reports that they may decide to return to their original residence. As a general suggestion; don't use mercenaries as stewards.
If you already hired a mercenary as a steward and they bug out, you could kill them and hire a new steward.
Can't Place Items
This issue is where you drop an item you want to display in a display case, spend 10 minutes carefully moving it into position, leave your house, return later, and find it on the floor where you originally dropped it.
Fix: Drop what you want to place on the ground, leave you house, re-enter, and then spend 10 minutes decorating. If you accidentally pick something up and put it back in your inventory; drop, leave, re-enter again.
Workbenches often show everything that is available to furnish your house; even the things that you have already made. There isn't really a fix, but you may be able to get the workbench to load correctly.
A) Build things from the list that you know you haven't built yet. after a few, the inventory usually re-loads and suddenly shows you only the unbuilt furnishings.
B) Try exiting out of the workbench inventory and re-entering. This may take multiple tries and won't always work.
This issue is where you can't build a shrine to Talos because all of your Amulets of Talos are considered quest items. This is caused by taking the Amulet of Talos off of Roggvir's decapitated body (executed when you first enter Solitude).
Fix: Do the quest given by Svari (a girl in Solitude) that involves Greta, or try talking to Greta directly. If that doesn't work (or if you prefer this method), kill Greta.
Both Echidneys and myself can take credit for this.
This method will completely reset your DLC(s). This is useful for those who want to Restart their Hearthfire homes; or people who forgot to save before the major side decision in Dawnguard (and want to do both sides); or anyone who is having a major glitch with a DLC and is willing to completely reset that specific DLC.
Delete your Game Data and Patch (as described in the first part of the Patch Updating procedure)
Re-download and re-install the DLC(s) you do not want to reset. You may re-download the DLC you do want to reset in background, but do not install it yet.
Start Skyrim, re-install Patch and Game Data.
Load your save. Don't be surprised if your in the Sleeping Giant Inn.
Save your game (suggested to save on a new file)
Download (if you haven't already) and install the DLC you are re-setting.
Start Skyrim and load your most recent save.
Note: This will completely reset the associated DLC. All items will be removed from your inventory and returned to their original location. All quests from that DLC will be removed from your quest log and available again. Black book bonuses and abilities will be gone (perks that have been re-perked are expected to not change). It is unknown what will happen to Vampire Lords.
October 7th, 2012 - Began ordering FAQ and deciding on content.
October 8th, 2012 - Added content to the guide. Completed first version.
October 9th, 2012 - Added Neoseeker.com to authorized websites. removed version number from authorized websites.
October12th, 2012 - Added the "Specific Bugs" section. This version was not published.
December 16th, 2012 - Added "Companions Interrupting" section.
February 16th, 2013 - Updated Guide for patch 1.8. Added links that take you directly to Patch Updating procedure for "Repeat Patch Updating" and "Water Freezes Game" Sections. Added "DLC Specific Bugs" Section. Other Miscellaneous changes.
March 19th, 2013 - Updated guide for Dawnguard and Hearthfire DLCs. Other Miscellaneous changes. This version was not published.
March 29th, 2013 - Added the Reset DLC section. Updated Special Thanks. Fixed an unpublished ordering error. This version was not published
April 9th and 10th, 2013 - Updated for patch 1.9.
April 13th, 2013 - Added another section to Dawnguard's "Vampire Attack Prevention" and minor edits.
laml3rian - For many of these fixes.
Keysmash - Suggesting Improvements for the Patch Updating portion.
demonwyrm - Suggesting that I write this FAQ and the Vampire Attacks section for Dawnguard.
Atomicsniper - "Save Won't Load" fix.
Echidneys - For contributions to the "Resetting DLC" section.
You can contact the author at SWJeans@comcast.net
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Copywrite 2012-2013 Sean Jeans
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