Mod Downloading Basics

Introduction

These instructions assume the player has already read the Mod Description on the mod website and any other documentation on Bethesda.net, Nexusmods.com, AFKMods.com, or any other mod site where the mod can be downloaded.

These instructions can also be found within the pages of A Vault Dweller's Load Order Survival Guide. I've added these here for easy reference and linking in the event that someone's device does not like the Google Docs app and stops midway through. There is more information here than on the Survival Guide and is designed for all platforms--Xbox, PlayStation, and PC.
Fallout 4 Load Order Framework: A Vault Dweller’s Load Order Survival Guide
Designed to help Fallout 4 players survive Load Order Disorder by emphasizing planning, placement, and maintenance of game modifications.

Player Responsibility

Bethesda and mod authors make it clear that the player is responsible for their own games. Mods are downloaded at the player's own risk and are subject to Bethesda's Terms of Service regardless of where you download from or what mod manager you use. If you do not agree to the terms, do not download mods.

Bethesda Account Required

If you do not have a Bethesda.net account, you will need one before adding mods to your favorites. You will need an email address where you can receive recovery information in the event that you lose your password.

Signing up for a Bethesda account goes beyond the purpose of this article. The Bethesda support site has detailed instructions on how to link a Steam account, a Playstation account, and an Xbox account.

There are two mod sites on the Bethesda website. One is for Fallout 4 and the other is for Skyrim Special Edition. Both sites function the same way, and so does the in-game mods menu for both games.

"All Mods" Tab

The "All Mods" tab lists all the mods available. You can use the filters on the side of the page to find the mods you want and the search under the magnifying glass to search for specific mods. Navigation on a mobile device is somewhat difficult where size is concerned and so either Firefox or Chrome on a large-screen device is recommended.

"My Mods" Tab

"My Mods" Tab

The "My Mods" tab lists all mods you have added to your Library, to your Favorites, or have uploaded to the website using the Creation Kit.

The My Mods tab takes some effort to get used to. To filter by Display and by Platform, you must first select the display and then the Platform. Mods will be ordered by the date of when the mod was last updated or when its description was last changed (whichever is "latest").

You can search through your mods from this tab as well.

If Authoring mods, please click on the Modding Guidelines, read them and agree to them prior to uploading to Bethesda.net. It is unfun to browse mods that are just going to be removed by the moderators.

How do I Add a Mod?

The in-game mods manager is the same across all platforms for ease of use and the instructions are the same.

There are a few caveats when downloading on PC if downloading from additional sites other than Bethesda or using a mod manager like MO2 or NMM. Those are explained in the Additional Information section of this article.

Add Mod to Favorites

From the Bethesda.net website, save the mod you wish to download to your Favorites. Only a maximum of 98 will show up in your in-game Favorites Menu. PC users may extend this with an ini setting added to their Fallout4Custom.ini file. Xbox players can use Ugh. Mods Manager Cap. to extend their favorites to 700.

Ugh. Mods Manager Cap.
Find more Fallout 4 or Skyrim mods with the in-game mod manager than with vanilla and see your full library of 150 mods instead of the limit imposed by developers.
The .ini setting is listed for PC players to use in Fallout4Custom.ini
AddtoFavorites.PNG
"Add to Favorites"

From the Main Menu of Fallout 4, select Mods:

MainMenu.jpg
Select the Mods Menu

You will be presented with the In-game Mods Manager. You are given four (4) options and the ability to scroll through the Mods using your Controller (or Mouse if on PC).

Details.png
Options at the bottom of the Screen

Download from the Favorites Menu

The Favorites menu is ordered by date, which is why writing mods down on your Load Order Framework spreadsheet is necessary. It will help you to keep up with your load order before you download mods. It will also help you to avoid data remnants or "Ghost Space" in the event you download two mods that have the same name.

  1. Select the Mod you wish to download from My Favorites, and press the button for "Details" (Xbox: A button, PS4: X button).
ModMenu.jpg
Favorites Menu location

2. From the Mod Details Tab, you are presented with two options (Unfavorite and Download). When selecting a mod that has not been favorited from the website or previously favorited from the manager, the options will be Favorite and Download.

DownLoadMod.jpg
Mod Details Page

3. Scroll down and select download.

4. Wait for mod to download.

5. After the mod has been downloaded, select Disable.

Downloading a mod will automatically Enable the mod and place it at the bottom of your Load Order unless the Mod data file is a Master File with the .esm or .esl extension. If the mod is a Master file, it will jump to the top after you select it again. It can then be disabled and sorted appropriately at the top of your load order.

After Downloading a Mod

  1. Do not immediately start your playthrough
  2. Disable the mod
  3. Adjust the load order in accordance with your Framework and the Load Order Categories.
  4. Exit to the Main menu to reload the game's plugin list.
  5. Return to the Load Order Screen and enable the mod.
  6. Exit the Main Menu to re-refresh the game's plugin list.
  7. For mods that require a restart: Exit the game completely and restart your console.
  8. Repeat as necessary.

If you've been downloading large amounts of textures, power cycle the console to clear the cache so weird glitches or bugs do not occur.

Fallout 4 Load Order FAQ
What is the cache and how do I clear it?

Adjusting Load Order Using the In-Game Manager

Follow the Framework you’ve created.

  1. From the Main Menu, select Mods.
  2. From the Mods Menu Screen, select Load Order.
  3. Highlight a mod and press the Select button.
  4. Scroll with either your controller or mouse to move the mod to the position listed on your Framework.
  5. Return to the Main Menu and press OK to refresh the data files.
  6. Restart your console or clear your cache if you’ve already made a save.
  7. Start your game.

How Do I Disable a Mod?

There is a difference between disabling and deleting a mod. One completely removes the mod from your system and the other simply removes it from your savegame.

Fallout 4 Load Order FAQ
What is the difference between deleting and disabling a mod?

If you are disabling a mod for troubleshooting purposes know that if the mod is scripted, it may well break the save you're trying to salvage. There is no such thing as a "clean" save if you've already had mods on that save.

Fallout 4 Load Order FAQ
What is the difference between a ‘clean save’ and a ‘vanilla save’?
DisableMod.jpg
Note: The "Report" option is no longer available. You can only report mods for moderation on the Bethesda website.

How Do I Disable a Single Mod?

  1. Delete any saves associated with the mods you wish to Disable.
  2. On the Main Menu, select Mods
  3. Select Load Order
  4. Select the Mod you wish to Disable.
  5. On the Mod Details Screen, select Disable.
  6. Return to the Main Menu
  7. Select "Ok" to allow the Data Files to reload.
  8. Clear your cache after you've completed disabling the mods you no longer want.
RefreshLoadOrder.jpg
Disabling or Deleting more than one mod at a time without returning to the Main Menu to refresh the data files may result in an improperly downloaded or disabled mod; however this is not the case 100% of the time and depends on the mods.
If Disabling or Deleting ALL Mods in your load order, do NOT download or re-enable mods without first returning to the Main Menu to reload the Data Files. Doing so will cause the in-game manager to error.

How Do I Disable All Mods In My Load Order?

  1. From your Load Order Screen, select Options
  2. Choose Disable All Mods
  3. Wait for Mods to Disable
  4. Return to the Main Menu
  5. Select Ok to allow Data Files to Reload (Do NOT download or re-enable mods without first reloading the Data Files)
  6. Delete any Saves associated with the previous load order
  7. Clear your cache
  8. PlayStation players should take this opportunity to rebuild their database if they have not done so in a while.

How Do I Delete A Mod?

How Do I Delete A Single Mod?

  1. On the Mod Details Screen, select Delete.
  2. Return to the Main Menu
  3. Select "Ok" to allow the Data Files to reload.
  4. Clear your cache after you've completed deleting any mods you longer want.

How Do I Delete All Mods in My Load Order?

  1. From your Load Order Screen, select Options
  2. Choose Delete All Mods
  3. Wait for Mods to Delete
  4. Return to the Main Menu
  5. Select Ok to allow Data Files to Reload (Do NOT download or re-enable mods without first reloading the Data Files)
  6. Delete any Saves associated with the previous load order
  7. Clear your cache
  8. Xbox players should clear their reserves space before beginning downloading again and starting a new game
  9. PlayStation players should take this opportunity to rebuild their database if they have not done so in a while.
RefreshLoadOrder.jpg

Additional Information

Console Considerations

Please refer to the rest of the FAQ pages and the Survival Guide. It was designed with consoles in mind.

Console Troubleshooting

Fallout 4 Load Order FAQ
What does “Operation Not Completed” mean?

How To Fix Operation Not Completed:

If you have downloaded a mod of the same name and switched to a mod that also has the same name, it will delete the plugin and leave behind external assets that take up room in your reserve space. You must delete the mod, delete the mod that left the assets behind properly, and then re-download the mod you want to change to.

The procedure below is long but returning to the main menu to reload the plugins between each download is vital. Clearing the cache is optional after the first time; however, if you still have "Operation Not Completed" errors, the steps must be done again and perhaps cache clearance is not optional for your specific hardware. It greatly depends on what mod has created the issue.

Do NOT enter a save during this process.

  1. Delete the mod you added.
  2. Return to the main menu
  3. Select OK to reload the data files
  4. Clear your Cache
  5. Re-download the old version of the mod
  6. Return to the Main Menu and select OK to reload the data files
  7. Clear your cache
  8. Return and delete the mod properly
  9. Reload your data files and clear the cache
  10. Return and download the correct version of the mod

PC Considerations

  • Mods downloaded with the in-game manager are directly added to the Data Folder. Instructions for other mod managers go beyond the purpose of this article.
  • Mod file size is not tracked by the in-game manager unless the external assets are packed in BA2 archives. Modded load orders with only BA2 and no loose files do not require archive invalidation.
  • There is not a limit on how many mods you can download using the mod manager. There is a limit on how many you can use: 255 plugins including the six DLC and any Creation Club .ESM DLC.
  • Do not download mods of the same name using two separate mod managers. Delete or remove the old mod from your data folder before attempting to download the same mod from the Bethesda website.

PC Troubleshooting

Fallout 4 Load Order FAQ
What does “Operation Not Completed” mean?

How to Fix Operation Not Completed:

Downloading mods from one site that have the same name as a mod downloaded from the Bethesda website will result in the plugin file being deleted from the Data Folder. It will leave behind any additional files, such as a .BA2 or .ini file.

Mods such as Creative Clutter, Armor Keywords, Armorsmith, Unified Clothing Overhaul, and mods that have been ported over are mods that may cause this issue but it is an easy fix if you encounter it.

The best way to avoid this is to delete the mod in your manager before downloading from the in-game manager.

Do NOT enter a save during this process.

Wrye Bash/MO2/Vortex/NMM users:

Delete the mod with one of the above managers. Ensure that plugins.txt no longer lists the mod and that it is writeable.

Manual users:

Remove the external asset files and remove the mod from plugins.txt and ensure it is writeable.

All users:

  1. Enter the game, go to Mods > Load Order
  2. Double-check that the mod is no longer listed on the screen. If it is still listed, select Details > Delete
  3. Return to the Main Menu in order to reload the data files (this will refresh your plugins.txt)
  4. Select Ok to reload the data files
  5. Quit the game completely
  6. Return to the load order screen and check for the mod again.
  7. Re-download the mod.

You may need to restart your computer or clear temporary files depending on your hardware.

Problematic Start-up Mods

Mods that have not been implemented properly for start-up are problematic and should be avoided. If a mod that adds a holotape is not set up properly or if a mod that disables the precombines around the Vault 111 cell cause issues, do not use.

Some mods have a backup method to allow you to craft the holotape in case of script failure. These mods cannot be removed in the middle of gameplay, their scripts may have unending registrations due to the script failure.

Check the date of mods. If they have been ported, be sure to use due diligence to examine the dates. Mods that have not been updated on other sites since 2016 that add holotapes or have large amounts of bug reports might need to be retired from your load order or might already be obsolete. Mods that were created in the beginning should be considered learning mods of the mod authors who have gone on to make others. In most cases, they have learned from their mistakes or have updated to fix bugs.

Definitions

Extension

In computing, an "extension", "file extension", or "filename extension" is a group of letters occurring after a dot (period) in a file name indicating the format of the file. In the case of Bethesda game modification data files for consoles those letters are .ESM, .ESP, and .ESL.

For example, game mods could be named MyGreatestModEver.esm, MyGreatestModEver.esp, or MyGreatestModEver.esl.

Mod authors are encouraged to be as unique as possible when naming so that players do not get Remnant Data/Ghost Space and cause "Operation Not Completed" when downloading two mods of the same name.

.ESL file extensions, regardless of what the mod manager says, will load before any master files (such as the Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch) even if you cannot place them there inside the manager. They still count towards the 100/150 mod limit.

Further Information

If you have any questions or need clarification regarding downloading or using the in-game manager, please join us on Discord. We'll be happy to answer any questions or provide guidance.



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