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Know your problem: what is the difference between CTD, freeze and ILS?


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#1 rootsrat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 09:59 AM

Some of the less experienced users may incorrectly identify the type of issues they come across. No offence intended, we've all been there once :)

Most of you will be aware of the below, but I think it's beneficial to have this summarised. Therefore:



KNOW YOUR PROBLEM
The difference between CTD, ILS and freeze


There are 3 basic game breaking problems one may come across when playing Skyrim. It's important that you can differentiate between them and know what may be causing them, and how to fix them.

Please note that Skyrim engine is a strange animal and the below definitions will not always be accurate. I base the below on my own observations and experience, and if anyone can add something or correct me, feel free to post and I will edit this thread accordingly.


1. CTD - Crash To Desktop


What is it? CTD occurs when Skyrim application is suddenly closed and you get kicked out to desktop.

What causes it? The most likely culprits are either (in)famous 3.1GB RAM limit crash OR mod or script conflicts. The first one occurs mainly when you have too many high resolution textures loaded up and since Skyrim is unable to utilise more than 3.1 GB RAM when it reaches that limit, your game crashes.

How to fix it? If it's texture size related - either use ENBoost program to allow Skyrim reduce memory use or if you don't want to use it, reduce size of the textures you use. Mod conflicts often can be fixed by identifying CTD spot, making a vanilla save there and gradually increase a number of installed mods (say, 5 at a time), to see when the CTD will occur, so that you can identify the mod that causes your CTD.



2. ILS - Infinite Loading Screen

What is it? Infinite Loading Screen means that you are stuck on a loading screen forever. It occurs during transitions from one area to another or when loading a saved game. The animation keeps playing, the quotes change, but the game never loads up. For area transitions it happens most often when exiting an interior or exiting from a city into Skyrim land. Some ILS-potent spots were identified as follows:

 - Dragonsreach -> Whiterun loading screen
 - Jorvaskaar -> Whiterun loading screen
 - Markarth -> Skyrm loading screen.


What causes it? ILS means that the game engine is not capable to load all the information it requires and quite often there is no definite solution. It's basically "You have too many mods installed" case. The game is trying to load all the meshes, scripts, textures etc., and it's just too much to cope with.

How to fix it? The solution is to decrease the number of mods. It's recommended to remove LOD mods in the first instance.



3. Game Freeze

What is it? We can talk about game freeze, when your screen (yes, you guessed right) freezes during gameplay. Neither keyboard nor mouse work, but the game doesn't crash to desktop.

What causes it? Game freezes are often caused by Papyrus scripts clogging. The game engine can only cope with so many scripts running at the same time and if you will have too many mods that add scripts, you may come across freezes. 

How to fix it?
The freezes can be difficult to diagnose. Use your intuition.

An example: If your game often freezes during combat, check which combat mods are script-heavy. Enhanced Blood Textures, Burn Freeze Shock and Deadly Spell Impacts are good examples of mods that can cause your game to freeze (I am using this example, as it's confirmed information).

Remember - there's no 100% confidence that it's any one mod. It's the overall script load and often removing ANY of the mods can solve the problem. You only have to decide which of the mods you need least.

Another method is to enable Papyrus logging, play the game and once it freezes, check last entries in the Papyrus log - sometimes it will contain some indication at which of the scripts failed. The solution is to reduce the number of scripted mods.

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#2 Aiyen

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 10:08 AM

Beat me too it! You sneaky you! :p Also what is up with the colors! Edit: also there are a few misconceptions and slight errors.. but we can talk about those later! :)

#3 rootsrat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 10:11 AM

Ha! Great minds think alike :D Feel free to edit / add comments mate. Re the colours - I had to make the thread hidden, as was making some corrections. You could see it as staff, but it was all red. Should be visible to all now and standard colours.
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#4 DoYouEvenModBro

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 11:36 AM

Can I just mention that I find it incredibly annoying when someone is like "OH ITS 100% BURN FREEZE SHOCK EFFECTS THAT WAS CAUSING MY FREEZES!". No, it wasn't. It was just the icing on the cake as in removing it just lessened the load of overall scripts. Same with EBT, DSI, etc. For me, removing Deadly Spell Impacts got rid of a lot of combat freezes but I am in no way saying that the mod is as fault. EDIT: Some potential solutions or workarounds to try to prevent (SOME, not ALL) of ILS/Freezes (not sure about CTD) would be to 'PCB' whenever possible when entering an interior cell. For example, if you're running across Skyrim and you start noticing some stutter or texture popins, pop into a cave and 'PCB'. Also, if you are about to fast travel and you know you will probably get an ILS (i.e. from Solstheim to Skyrim), quit to the main menu and reload your game. That will dump all VRAM/RAM/whatever. If I am wrong about any of this, please feel free to correct me but I figured it was worth mentioning because it helps me. The moral of the story is that you WILL experience ILS/Freezes/CTDs at some point when loading Skyrim with mods. These tactics should help to lessen them a bit.
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#5 rootsrat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 11:40 AM

Thanks for your input, DYEMB.

I added the below text to the OP.

Remember - there's no 100% confidence that it's any one mod. It's the overall script load and often removing ANY of the mods can solve the problem. You only have to decide which of the mods you need least.


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#6 Aiyen

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:16 PM

Well part of what I would change... and why it has taken me a while to get this sort of post up, was to avoid the pointing... requires some diplomatic language after all! :) Since like Bro says, then it is not just one mod that is at fault. Especially not when it comes to combat. Combat is just a nice example due to the many scripts that are used. But atm. I have more fun dealing with texture creation... and I did forum stuff last night! So will edit later perhaps!

#7 rootsrat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:20 PM

Agreed with all you've posted, Aiyen. That's why I clearly stated that there is no offence meant by my post, only educational values, hopefully someone will find it useful. I am no expert whatsoever when it comes to modding, but I have enough experience to be able to share I think (hope!). And yeah, I did mention combat and gave an example of those 3 mods, as this is the most common freeze cause for STEP community :)
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#8 DoYouEvenModBro

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:24 PM

Agreed with all you've posted, Aiyen. That's why I clearly stated that there is no offence meant by my post, only educational values, hopefully someone will find it useful. I am no expert whatsoever when it comes to modding, but I have enough experience to be able to share I think (hope!).

And yeah, I did mention combat and gave an example of those 3 mods, as this is the most common freeze cause for STEP community :)

You might want to add that the "Wearable Lanterns - Lanterns for Caravans" has been proven to cause crashes at night near the Whiterun and Markarth Caravans. Right outside the cities. If you look on the mod page, the entire comment thread is people complaining about it. The author even stated somewhere that he plans to update Wearable Lanterns and remove Lanterns for Guards/Caravans although I haven't seen an update in a long long time. I think those two add-ons should be removed from STEP and only the main 'Wearable Lanterns' file be used but that's another story and I don't want to go off topic. I do want to emphasize that the Lanterns for Caravans should be removed if crashing at night near those two cities. Again though, could be a combination of Lanterns for Caravans with another mod. I cannot say for sure that it is that one specifically.
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#9 Aiyen

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:38 PM

This post should remain general guidelines, not include specific mod solutions etc. Since that would just make the scope of the post too massive, and nothing would be done. If individual mods have issues etc. then that sort of thing belongs in the mods debate thread. Also no worries Root! There is a reason why I have a few drafts laying about in the back of my mind on this topic! God knows that is very easy to just say which mods might be the cause, since that is normally the case! But sadly that kinda ruins the point in of a general information thread! :) This was also the reason I moved the other Solstheim one, since it was just too specific an issue, hence I did not feel it belonged up there with the sticked posts! In my little vision for the support threads, then we will consolidate the general stuff we know into sticky threads, and that will hopefully make sure that the amount of repetition will not be as large. And I think this overall is a very nice start to that!

#10 DoYouEvenModBro

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:40 PM

This post should remain general guidelines, not include specific mod solutions etc. Since that would just make the scope of the post too massive, and nothing would be done. If individual mods have issues etc. then that sort of thing belongs in the mods debate thread.

Also no worries Root! There is a reason why I have a few drafts laying about in the back of my mind on this topic! God knows that is very easy to just say which mods might be the cause, since that is normally the case! But sadly that kinda ruins the point in of a general information thread! :)

This was also the reason I moved the other Solstheim one, since it was just too specific an issue, hence I did not feel it belonged up there with the sticked posts! In my little vision for the support threads, then we will consolidate the general stuff we know into sticky threads, and that will hopefully make sure that the amount of repetition will not be as large.
And I think this overall is a very nice start to that!

Fair enough! We'll stick to general guidelines then. Might want to also add then that doing a clean save procedure (the 30 days in the coc qasmoke cell one) is a good way to reset all the objects/bodies in the game and could help to stabilize it. 
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#11 rootsrat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 01:14 PM

Yeah, I intended for this thread to be a general information and guideline. I only used mod-specific examples to better demonstrate and differentiate between types of issues. I like your vision of general informative threads that educate users rather than hand guide them. Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk
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#12 byrondominguez

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 08:26 PM

Hi all. I'm sorry if this is the wrong post for this, and especially sorry for opening up an old post however, I felt like this would be the appropiate one for my problem. After reading a lot of your posts about CTDS, Freezing and etc, all of these solutions/answers don't seem to have any type of correlation with my issue. I suffer several freezes and infinite loading screens at random. I can have about a hour and a half play and then crash while fast traveling. Rarely between buildings. When starting new games I play for a little see if mods are working and then I like to spawn 9 dragons at once just to see if everything is okay. I was told this is a good way to see if I would have any vram issues. So long story short, the game was fine, I've done this several times and it would freeze in different locations. First, it was solitude at the beginning(took off cloaks of skyrim then worked). Then after a few game hours whiterun would freeze. Then after new game dragonreach would experience it but solitude would be fine. So, 1. what would be a legit way of checking for faulty errors on your save file. 2. Any mod I have that are known to be not compatible and 3. Any recommended mods or solutions. 4.help me play a cool skyrim game PLEASE. =( To be fair, I'm maybe about two months in as far as modding is concerned so my knowledge is sort of limited but not entirely noobish. I should add that I read every single read me file and I know I've read each one and there should be no compatibility issues. I also dont experience any lag at all. 

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Edited by byrondominguez, 28 February 2014 - 08:31 PM.

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#13 rootsrat

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 12:19 PM

 

Hi all. I'm sorry if this is the wrong post for this, and especially sorry for opening up an old post however, I felt like this would be the appropiate one for my problem. After reading a lot of your posts about CTDS, Freezing and etc, all of these solutions/answers don't seem to have any type of correlation with my issue. I suffer several freezes and infinite loading screens at random. I can have about a hour and a half play and then crash while fast traveling. Rarely between buildings. When starting new games I play for a little see if mods are working and then I like to spawn 9 dragons at once just to see if everything is okay. I was told this is a good way to see if I would have any vram issues. So long story short, the game was fine, I've done this several times and it would freeze in different locations. First, it was solitude at the beginning(took off cloaks of skyrim then worked). Then after a few game hours whiterun would freeze. Then after new game dragonreach would experience it but solitude would be fine. So, 1. what would be a legit way of checking for faulty errors on your save file. 2. Any mod I have that are known to be not compatible and 3. Any recommended mods or solutions. 4.help me play a cool skyrim game PLEASE. =( To be fair, I'm maybe about two months in as far as modding is concerned so my knowledge is sort of limited but not entirely noobish. I should add that I read every single read me file and I know I've read each one and there should be no compatibility issues. I also dont experience any lag at all. 

BOSS Log

 
system rig

 

As we're unable to move threads and posts around (for technical reasons, and only until some thread naming related issues will be resolved) - please repost this as a new thread in General Support forums. Thanks and sorry for inonvenience.


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#14 sbroadbent

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 09:56 AM

I have a question regarding the Infinite Loading Screen.  What is a reasonable amount of time to wait until you declare that you've hit an ILS?  There's obviously no indication that such has occurred, but there's been a number of times where I've sat at the Loading Screen, and just waited.  While I haven't timed exactly how long it has sat at the Loading Screen, in almost every case where I may be faced with a potential ILS, it has eventually loaded for me, I just needed to be patient.

 

Given that I'm running Skyrim off a 7200RPM 5400RPM SATA2 hard drive and have generally gone with Hi-Res STEP options, I imagine if I switched to an SSD, the longer loading screens would disappear, so it'd be one indication that I've hit an ILS if Loading Screens indeed took that much longer.


Edited by sbroadbent, 27 January 2015 - 12:07 AM.

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#15 hishutup

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 01:46 PM

It depends on your hardware and you game installation. Mine are upwards of one to two minutes because I pushed it to the limit on fairly outdated hardware.

Vanilla it loads in about 10 seconds...

The way I tell is by use MSI afterburner and connect it to my phone. I look at the CPU usage and if its below 4% on every core then that signifies an ILS


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