Oblivion:Technical Support

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This page is for technical problems with Oblivion -- e.g., video cards, system software issues. It also lists probable causes and possible workarounds and solutions. For problems with game logic, see Glitches. If you need information on whether or not your PC should be able to run Oblivion, please see System Requirements.

Contents

[edit] General Crash Advice : PC version

The nature of Oblivion is such that it will crash occasionally, no matter what you do. Still, there are several ways to minimize stability issues. The first way is to give it more system resources. This can be achieved in two ways: freeing up existing system resources and/or upgrading your computer hardware. Freeing up existing resources is mainly a matter of closing out of programs such as Anti-Virus scanners, Instant Messengers, Internet Browsers, and Peer-to-Peer software before running the game. For the more advanced user, disabling certain Windows Services can also help: Tweaking XP Services or Vista Performance Guide. Upgrading your computer is another thing that requires some computer knowledge, as it will require you picking out new hardware. A good guideline is the Recommended System Requirements. If your PC meets or exceeds those, it has enough power to avoid most low end system crashes. Also, this website provides an enormous database of crash prevention methods. If you can't find the solution to your problem here, you might want to try that site.

[edit] Input (Keyboard/Mouse) Problems

[edit] Controls Become Unresponsive After A Short Time

Problem
(Note:Similar to Problem 4.4;see below under Sound Problems).

Game functions normally,then interaction with the UI (menus,dialogue etc.) is halted.Game does not allow the player to click,access console or use the keyboard/controller.

Cause
DirectShow filters (codecs) conflict with Oblivion.Unlike most other games,Oblivion makes use of CODECs to display the Bink videos (including the opening cinematics) and some of the sounds and background music. (CODEC = COder/DECoder, which allow your computer to understand the various video and audio file formats; also known as DirectShow Filters.).Unfortunately,some CODECs conflict with Oblivion.(source)
Solution

1.Associate .mp3 (and possible .wav) files with Windows Media Player.This can be done in WMP through Tools>Options>File Types and clicking the check-box (be sure there is a tick-mark present) next to 'MP3 audio file (mp3)' and 'Windows audio file (wav)',then clicking 'OK'. 2.Install/Re-install the K-Lite FULL codec pack (last confirmed working ver.:7.2.0)

[edit] Graphical Problems

[edit] White Screen when Starting Oblivion

Problem
When entering Oblivion, instead of being able to play the game, all you get is a white screen with GUI (and certain objects in rainbow colors).
Cause
Your graphics card does not support pixel shaders 2.0.
Solution
There are two different solutions, the cheapest of the two is to download Oldblivion, which will allow you to play on some Pixel shader 1.x cards. The other solution is to buy a new video card. To complete this, you need to identify what type(s) of expansion slots are available in your PC, and then buy a graphics card to fit in the slot. If you are positive that your video card does support pixel shaders 2.0, then make sure that you have up to date drivers.

[edit] Googly Eyes

Problem 
You can see through the right eye of every NPC in the game.
Cause
Mismatched eyes meshes and textures.
Solution
Don't mix cosmetic mods. Or use Wrye Bash to resolve conflicts.

[edit] Black Screen

Problem 
The game screen would randomly turn black except for the user interface every 30 minutes or so.
Cause 
If the game must be restarted in order to restore normal operation outside of the menu, its likely due to the rendering engine crashing. This is likely caused by either an under-powered or damaged CPU/Video Card, a bad overclock or the CPU or GPU overheating.
Workaround 
If crashing or similar issues occur in other demanding games, make sure that the computer experiencing the issue has a power supply capable of providing at least 25W more power than the total power requirement of the system. Also assure that there is enough amperage on the 12 Volt-Rail in the power supply, even if the power supply is rated to provide enough electricity to the computer, if the rail providing power to the video card and CPU is incapable of providing the required amount of power at once (low amperage reduces the amount of electricity that can flow through a circuit at once). If you have overclocked any of the components, reset their clock speeds to their default settings, or if you're an advanced user you can risk increasing the voltage to the component slightly, though there is a high chance of destroying the component if this is done incorrectly. There are also various software issues that can cause this problem, such as outdated or buggy drivers. Some users have reported disabling HDR stopping this from occurring.
Workaround 2 
Press the tilde key (~) to bring up the console. Type CAL and hit enter. Hit the tilde key again. Resets the game's graphics and brings the game screen back.

[edit] Black Screen or Game Crash in Exterior Cells

Problem 
The game screen turns black upon entering an external cell.
Cause 
Bad shader implementation in the video cards drivers, mostly seen on Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics when using Windows 7.
Workaround 
Change the following values in the Oblivion.ini file:

bUseWaterShader=0
bUseWaterReflections=0

It should be noted that integrated graphics cards are notorious for poor performance and glitches when using 3D games, due to the fact that integrated chips lack their own dedicated RAM, they must share the system RAM, GPU's optimized to save battery life and produce minimal heat output. Using a dedicated video card is recommended.

[edit] Slow Performance on Geforce FX cards

Problem 
The game runs extremely slow on any of the Geforce FX series cards
Cause 
This is because Oblivion uses 2.0 shaders for almost all its graphics. Unfortunately the Geforce FX series has a very bad implementation of the 2.0 shader and as a result Oblivion will not run at any acceptable speed. More information about why the FX series is so slow can be found on wikipedia here: GeForce FX
Workaround 
Editing the Oblivion INI Settings and turning off specular, diffuse and ambient lighting will solve almost all the performance issues resulting from the slow shaders. It will also result in significant decrease in game appearance quality (disabling the ambient shader gives horrible "fullbright" looks to everything, removing diffuse shader covers places meant to be darker than the rest with big opaque surfaces). Disabling Specular shader alone helps a lot already though.
Solution
  • Use a graphics card not from the FX series
  • Also you can give a try to Oldblivion which can increase the performance in low end video cards.

[edit] Animation slowdown (Abomb bug)

Problem

After several hundred hours of gameplay the following effects are seen:

  • Animations slow down or freeze, for example flames cease to flicker
  • Doors do not open. This affects doors that do not cause a new area to be loaded. They appear not to move as the animation is slowed down to take several minutes rather than a fraction of a second
  • Visual effects from spells remain hanging in the air and around the player, obscuring 1st person view

The bug occurs after several hundred hours of gameplay:

  • 450-500+ hours (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
  • 250-300+ hours (PC)
Cause

The Abomb bug. This bug affects all versions of Oblivion. Bethesda has acknowledged its existence but has not fixed it.

Solution

The Abomb bug can be solved by editing one byte within an affected save-game file.

Utilities that will make this change include


After the byte has been reset (from 49 to 40) you should not see the bug for several hundred further hours of play. If it strikes again, just reset the byte in the save game file with one of the above tools.

The fix can also be applied to PS3 save game files using the above tools on a PC, but require additional steps to decrypt the saved game beforehand and afterwards encrypt and re-sign the file. These can be performed using a utility such as PS3 Save Resigner.

Alternative fix (PC only)

In Oblivion's save folder (default location: Documents\My Games\Oblivion) locate the Oblivion.ini file. Within oblivion.ini, find and change the line

fAnimationMult=1.0000

to

fAnimationMult=2.0000

[edit] Graphical Problems with AGP Cards

Problem
General graphics problems, such as artifacts in the introductory cinematic.
Cause
This is possibly caused by incompatibility with the AGP Fast Write feature, which may cause data written to video memory to become corrupted.
Solution
Disable AGP Fast Writes. This option can be enabled or disabled in the BIOS Setup. The exact method is different per motherboard. Consult its manual to find the correct method.

[edit] Slow Framerates when using a dual monitor setup on an NVidia card

Problem
Extremely low framerates if using two monitors.
Cause
When using two monitors, the graphics driver attempts to use 3D acceleration for both monitors. The result is that the GPU is required to split its resources across two monitors.
Solution
Go into the NVidia Control Panel and set the option "Mult-Display/Mixed GPU Acceleration" to "Single-Display-Performance-Mode", or simply disable and unplug the extra monitor when playing Oblivion.

[edit] Corrupted text in books and quest log and missing textures in Imperial City

Problem
Text in books is displayed correctly for a fraction of a second and then corrupts before you can read it(!) Also many surfaces have holes and other rendering faults occur inside the Imperial City but not generally elsewhere.
Cause
This seems to be a problem with corrupted or buggy ATI drivers with the HD4550 card. It may be caused by ATI's automatic driver updates being buggy or conflicting with drivers installed by windows.
Solution
On Windows7 64bit this was cured by uninstalling (via control panel/programs and features) the ATI Catalyst Control Suite and its drivers (reported as driver package version 8.961) which caused Windows to then reinstall driver version 8.951 (without any Catalyst Control Centre of course). It is not clear whether the problem lies in the driver or corruption caused by the update procedure.

[edit] Sound Problems

Oblivion can be extremely picky about sound processing on both high end sound cards and low end on board sound. In some cases, the only solution may be to buy a new sound card. This can be especially annoying on laptops where buying a new sound card is not an option, so the only workaround that exists is to turn on subtitles. The first step in trouble shooting any sound problem is to update your sound card's drivers (If you card was made by Creative, this can be done here). If that fails to solve the problem, you may need a new sound card.

[edit] No music

Problem
Music can't be heard even though all other voices/effects are fine.
Cause
Installed DirectShow filters (codecs) conflict with Oblivion.
Solution
A fresh Windows installation does not have this issue, but the only known solution is to manually correct DirectShow registries to initial state or to install/uninstall K-Lite codec pack which can do the same. Also try a program such as InstalledCodec to mass-disable and enable codecs until you find the one that causes the problem. Another solution is to use Nightmare2013's Codec reset utility v4.1, which is available on his/her website here.

Newer versions of some codec packs have included automatic exceptions for most well known video games, so that the default DirectShow Filters are used by the games.

[edit] Game freezes on music track change

Problem
Game freezes for a few seconds when the music track changes within the game.
Cause
Audio codecs that are handling the mp3 rendering on your pc.
Solution
Remove or disable the conflicting codecs. These codecs include, but might not be limited to, Nero, Vodei, Moonlight codecs, as well as the ffdshow media decoder.

[edit] No greeting

Problem 
Installations of Oblivion with the Shivering Isle DLC NPCs respond to conversation initiation attempts with "I HAVE NO GREETING"
Cause
Using the console command coc location to travel directly to a location outside the Shivering Isles.
Solution
Reenter and exit the Isle using the Door to Cyrodiil to correct the NPCs' dialogue.

[edit] No voices in dialogue with characters

Problem
Although other sound is all working OK, NPCs have no voice despite the subtitles and animation working as expected.
Cause
You have an incorrect speaker configuration set in Windows. Typically, Windows assumes there is a center speaker in your setup even if you don't have one.
Solution
Edit the speaker configuration under control panel/sound to indicate the center speaker is not present and/or activate Channel Phantoming.

[edit] Game freezes after click to swing a weapon, shoot off an arrow, or use a spell

Problem
The game freezes after swinging a weapon or more likely shooting off a bow or spell, must require reboot or if luckier, use task manger to forcefully close Oblivion.
Cause
DirectShow filters (codecs) conflict with oblivion
Solution
Use Nightmare2013's CODEC Reset Utility v4.1, which is available on his/her website here.

[edit] Remap mouse and joystick buttons

Problem 
I don't know how to remap mouse buttons
Cause 
Horrible UI
Solution
  • enter the game menu (esc), Options, Controls.
  • Click "controls" button.
  • Click the "arrowhead" icons on top of the dialogue, by the word "keyboard".
  • The menu will switch between "Keyboard", "Mouse", "Joystick".
  • Left click on an entry to activate changing it. Then press corresponding key/button to assign it.
It's likely you will still need to use the .ini file for reassigning more than the basic 3 mouse buttons and mods with external programs to capture and reassign functions of the mouse wheel.

[edit] Crashes

Problem 
In some areas the game crashes within seconds of entering the area.
Cause 1 
Requirement for specular lighting in the areas, while it has been switched off.
Solution 
Set Specular Distance in the in-game video options to minimum.
Workaround 
Set the variable bDoSpecularPass in Oblivion.ini to 1 if you switched it off before. You can turn it back off after you're past the problem area.
Cause 2 
Corrupted master file. Casual crashes in Oblivion are to be expected, but sometimes the crash corrupts the master file causing exceptional crashiness in damaged areas (and as result likelihood for further corruption of the file).
Workaround
Be in the first person perspective mode. As soon as you enter the area, look straight down at the floor and run to the desired exit door using your feel (map, hints from the floor looks), without looking up. Of course you can't do much in such areas that way. It can get you, say, across the Skingrad castle courtyard though.
Solution 
Reinstall Oblivion. Your saves shouldn't be lost but just in case back them up (My Documents\My Games\Oblivion\Saves) then uninstall Oblivion (with Add/Remove Programs), reboot, install Oblivion again, possibly reboot again. Most likely your savegames are still present, if not, recover from backup. Don't start with a savegame created in the crashy area, pick an earlier one if needed. If you would prefer not to reinstall the game, you can restore your autosave. Go to your Saves directory (commonly C:\Documents and Settings\"user name"\My Documents\My Games\Oblivion\Saves) and delete autosave.ess. Then rename autosave.bak to autosave.ess. Occasionally, the .ess and .bak will not have been generated during the same save, so restoring the .bak will result in starting from 2nd most recent autosave point. For reasons unclear, following the steps in Solution 2 will cease corruption of autosave files also.
Solution 2 
Stop overwriting existing save files and avoid using Quicksave. Disabling quicksaves will have a dramatic effect in reducing crashes. Supporting the hypothesis that corrupted saves cause game crashes rather than game crashes corrupt saves, it seems that clicking "new save" every time will eliminate those pesky "crash on area transition" crashes. Autosave is still ok.
Cause 3 
iShadowMapResolution was changed from 1024 to 256 in Oblivion.ini for patch 1.2
Solution 
Open Oblivion.ini. Find iShadowMapResolution. Change 256 to 1024. Close Oblivion.ini and save changes.
Cause 4 
HDR lighting is enabled
Solution 
Just go into video settings and turn HDR lighting off.
Cause 5 
Internal shadows are turned off. Sometimes going through a door will immediately CTD.
Solution 
Turn on Internal shadows.

Problem
Oblivion crashes on startup, I don't even get to the main menu.
Cause 1
Other programs disrupting disk operation, or you have old save games and settings in the (My Documents/My Games/Oblivion).
Solution
Disable them. Most likely you'll have to switch off your antivirus (if it scans all files you access), Google Desktop (same), possibly any P2P apps running in the background (they are rather disk-intense and memory-heavy) and anything that could pop up a message from system tray during the game (email notifiers, instant messengers, automatic updaters). This is the recommended minimum, but for optimal performance and stability turn off everything that is not essential to the system operation, freeing up resources for the game. You can safely switch this all back on after you finished playing. Note the firewall apps shouldn't affect the game stability (theoretically...) so feel free to leave them on, or if you feel unsafe, disable the network connection together with the firewall for time of playing.
Second Solution
Move all files in (My Documents/My Games/Oblivion) to a different location. Start the game and see if it works. If it does then you may copy back the "Save" folder back in.
Cause 2
Mods selected without having the correct master files
Solution
Check through all mods and ensure they have the required master files present and clicked on.
Cause 3
DirectX is missing newer d3dx9 revision files.
Solution
Download and install the newest DirectX End-User Runtime.
Cause 4
Installing a mod in the wrong folder, i.e placing a "textures" or "meshes" folder with files in them, in the root folder instead of in the data folder.
Solution
Remove/move mods that are out of place. Almost all mods should go to the data folder, unless otherwise specified.
Cause 5
You have multiple monitors.
Solution
Disable all monitors except your primary display. If you have an Nvidia graphics card, right click on an empty space on the desktop, and select "Nvidia Control Panel". Under the display tab in the sidebar there will be a line that says "Set up multiple displays". Disable all monitors except your primary display. If you have an AMD/ATI graphics card, go to "AMD Catalyst Control Center" and select "Display Management". Disable all monitors except for your primary display.
Alternative Solution
Set the video settings to ultra-high and select the native resolution corresponding to your primary monitor before starting the game. (Does not require you to disable your secondary monitor)
Cause 6
Switched to monitor with different resolution.
Solution
The easiest way to fix this without deleting your oblivion.ini file (by doing would delete any good changes you've made) is to go into the My Documents/My Games/Oblivion/oblivion.ini find iSize W= and iSize H= and change the values to the correct ones. So if you have a screen which uses 1440x900 you would make the following changes: iSize W=1440 iSize H=900 then save changes.

Problem
Oblivion crashes on alt-tab, the windows key etc. It also crashes on instant messenger notification, update confirmation request from my antivirus etc.
Cause
The Alt-tab problem is covered in Readme of the game - the game may, but doesn't have to work correctly after you switch to other app. The problem though is that Alt-tab is not the only method of switching Windows focus to other application, and all the others cause the same problem.
Workaround
Keep your task manager (opened with ctrl+shift+esc) open in the background while playing. After switching out of Oblivion, do not use alt+tab or the task bar to switch back. Instead select the application in your task manager and use the 'Switch To' button. This will restore the window on your desktop but nothing renders. Now click the taskbar to switch back to Oblivion. Works on WinXPSP2 with an ATI card and latest official Catalyst package. Sometimes has to be tried a few times, but has never failed. Alternatively, open any background applications you may want to Alt-tab too (eg: this website) before you start playing. Do not close these background apps while playing, or the game will freeze up.
Another way is to bring up the console before using Alt-tab to switch away from Oblivion; this seems to prevent crashes when switching tasks.
Solution
Don't do it. Switch everything unnecessary off.

Problem
The game crashes occasionally, even though I did everything recommended. I have a low-end computer.
Cause
You have a low-end computer.
Workaround
Save often, tweak Oblivion.ini for less detail and extras, deal with it.
Solution
Get a better computer. Oblivion seems to be very sensitive to things like shortage of memory, disk access timeouts/interruptions, etc. Maybe the patches will fix it, but don't bet on it.

Problem
The game locks up after completing the Clavicus Vile shrine quest.
Cause
Unknown. Seems to be a bug in the game code, related to the item that is placed in your pack as a part of the quest.
Workaround
See the Clavicus Vile Bugs on the quest page.
Solution
Install the patch.

Problem
As soon as Oblivion is started up, the game crashes, the 'Bethesda Softworks' logo does not appear and the music goes into a loop. This began happening all of a sudden and with no previous major problems. I am unable even to uninstall the game. I tried reinstalling from the disk, but it had no effect.
Cause 1
Unknown. Best guess, .bik video files get corrupted. (You may have surpassed the 255 active mod limit. You can only have 255 esm/esp files active at once.)
Solution
Go to your oblivion folder, then data and then video. Make sure to back it up. Remove all the intro videos.

Remove the following:

  • 2k games.bik
  • game studios.bik
  • bethesda softworks HD720p.bik
  • Oblivion Legal.bik
Solution 2 
Open Documents\My games\oblivion\oblivion.ini. Under the first section, [general], change the line "SIntroSequence=bethesda softworks HD720p.bik,2k games.bik,game studios.bik,Oblivion Legal.bik" to "SIntroSequence=". This way you can keep your videos.
Cause 2
For some unknown reason, oblivion changes the settings for non-fullscreen mode and positions the game off the screen.
Solution
Open Documents\My games\oblivion\oblivion.ini. Under the first section, [display], change the number at the end of both lines: "iLocation Y=-32000" and "iLocation X=-32000" to 0 or the distance in pixels from the top left corner of the screen you want the game to appear. (iLocation X is horizontal distance, iLocation Y is vertical distance)

Problem
I have Oblivion downloaded on steam, i jusst got a new mac that also runs windows. When I open up oblivion and press play it quits out giving the message that Oblivon has stopped working. Then it states "check for a solution online" but when i click that nothing happens.
Cause
Unknown

[edit] Saving Problems

Problem
As soon as I get out of the prison (in the beginning) I can't save any more! What should I do?
Cause
One possible cause (described in the Readme file) is pressing the Tab key while editing your character's name
Solution 
Change your character's name at the console: player.SetActorFullName "Player Name".
Workaround 
Load a save game from before you left the prison, and edit your character's name. Be careful while editing the name to not press the 'Tab' key (i.e., do not try to Alt-Tab out of Oblivion).

Problem
My most recent savegames do not appear at the top of the list any more, but instead appear randomly further down the list of saved games.
Cause
On the 360 there is a chance it may be because the date and time are not set correctly.
Solution
The Xbox needs power to maintain the date and time. Completely shutting it of results in resetting date and time. So keep the Xbox powered up. Or every time the Xbox 360 is restarted set the date and time.

Problem
When I attempt to load my game I get the message "This save game is corrupt", How do I fix it?
Cause
Unknown, this can happen at random times, usually after a CTD.
Solution
In the My Documents\My Games\Oblivion\Saves folder, rename the quicksave.bak to quicksave.ess and overwrite the original quicksave.ess file. This will set you back in time a bit (could be up to 5 minutes of play time) but you will keep your game. Don't forget to make named saves often.

Problem
I was playing oblivion in my PC and suddenly there was a power outage in my house. My No-Break didn't function as well as I expected so the PC rebooted. When I tried to run the game again I could initiate the game, but my saved games weren't running. The following message pops up: "Save game version is 0.00 and current version is 0.125, so errors may occur." I did the solution from the problem above, and now when a press Load in the main menu the game crashes. What should I do?
Cause
Your saved game has been partially corrupted but is valid enough to show on your load screen.
Solution
(You will probably need to do this from Explorer rather than the in-game menu) Delete your most recently-saved game then re-load Oblivion and try again.

Problem
I have Oblivion on the 360 and when i try to load one of my saves it crashes on the loading screen when its 3/4 of the way loaded. All my other characters load fine though. What should i do?
Cause
The game sometimes creates a 'dirty' file, but the reason is not known. This happens on the PC version as well. That particular save file is corrupt.
Solution
Load an earlier save. Downloading the latest patch seems to eliminate this occurrence. If this does not work, delete all patches from your Xbox 360, restart Oblivion and try to load the dirty save. If you can load, save to a new file, restart the game, and re-install the patches when prompted.

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