How to Improve Skyrim with .ini File Tweaks


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If you’re playing Skyrim on PC, you may feel the need to make a few adjustments to get the game to look and feel the way you want it to. Thankfully, industrious gamers have already discovered .ini file tweaks to address some common issues and improve Skyrim’s visuals.

WARNING: Editing .ini files may disable achievements. Always back up your .ini files before editing in case you make a horrible, horrible mistake and need to undo it.


Disabling mouse smoothing/acceleration

Mouse acceleration can be more frustrating than helpful, and there’s no in-game option to disable it.

  1. Go to your Steam Directory -> steamapps -> common -> skyrim -> Skyrim
  2. Create a backup of the SkyrimPrefs.ini file
  3. Open the file, then scroll down to where it says [Controls] and find bMouseAcceleration=1
  4. Change to bMouseAcceleration=0
  5. Save, exit, and play


Fixing the vsync “laggy mouse” problem

If the mouse acceleration fix didn’t solve all your sluggish mouse issues, try this one. Also be sure to disable all gamepad support.

  1. Go to your Steam Directory -> steamapps -> common -> skyrim -> Skyrim
  2. Create a backup of the SkyrimPrefs.ini file
  3. Open the file, then scroll down to where it says [Display]
  4. Add to the bottom of the section iPresentInterval=0
  5. Save, exit, and play


Changing the FOV

The default Field of View is fairly narrow — between 60 and 75 — which works well for TVs, since you’re sitting further away from the screen, but PC gamers are more accustomed to higher FOVs. Compare the default FOV to a FOV of 90.

  1. Go to your My Documents -> My Games -> Skyrim -> skyrim
  2. Create a backup of the skyrim.ini file
  3. Open the file, then scroll down to where it says [General]
  4. At the bottom of this section, add fdefaultfov=XX (where XX is the FOV value you want to change to)
  5. Save, exit, and play


Enabling tree and rock self-shadowing

While it’ll cost you in performance, if your system can handle it, you definitely want to enable these two features to add more depth to the world. But don’t take my word for it — without self-shadowing, with self-shadowing.

  1. Go to your My Documents -> My Games -> Skyrim -> skyrim
  2. Create a backup of the SkyrimPrefs.ini file
  3. Change bTreesReceiveShadows=0 to bTreesReceiveShadows=1
  4. Change bDrawLandShadows=0 to bDrawLandShadows=1
  5. Save, exit, and play

We will update this thread as more .ini tweaks surface.

Now that you’ve got things tweaked to your satisfaction, why not try out some Skyrim mods, or even crack open the developer console to generate some new items?

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30 Comments on How to Improve Skyrim with .ini File Tweaks

lopi

On November 11, 2011 at 6:54 am

hi just wandering if you are mistaking for the self-shadowing teak the file skyrim.ini with the skyrimprefs.ini in My Games – Skyrim – skyrim?
cuse i found bTreesReceiveShadows and bDrawLandShadows in skyrimprefs.ini ?!?

not a computer wize but if its a mistake hope you appreciate my text tweak ;)

gorgonzola

On November 11, 2011 at 9:37 am

Awsome thnx

gorgonzola

On November 11, 2011 at 9:38 am

!! :D

Robin

On November 11, 2011 at 10:42 am

I look forward to trying these out when I get home tonight.

CJ Miozzi

On November 11, 2011 at 10:52 am

@lopi:

Thanks! It is, in fact, the “skyrimprefs.ini.” That’s what happens when I write things at 4am. Thanks for spotting it! Fixed.

Bear

On November 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm

skyrimprefs.ini is in My Documents > My Games > Skyrim.

Curtis

On November 12, 2011 at 11:03 am

I found turning off “360 Controller” from within the game fixed many of my mouse issues.

Alex

On November 13, 2011 at 6:53 am

iPresentInterval doesn’t appear to be in my .ini file. Any idea why this may be?

Methadras

On November 13, 2011 at 8:36 am

@Alex,

You need to add it to the ini file.

ayman

On November 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Strange, SkyrimPrefsini are in the Steam-Skyrim Directory and also under My Documents directory too :o . These files are not linked?

Daniel

On November 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Anyone happen to find any solution for the annoying confirmation boxes after everything you do from smelting, enchanting, making potions ect. Really really annoying on the PC when you have to constantly use your mouse to hit the “Okay” button, not like on the console where you can just hit your “action” button since it auto selects the okay option there.

NU1

On November 15, 2011 at 11:57 am

Anyone know how to adjust the health values for dragons? somehow give them more health? so that any fight with a dragon is more drawn out. I have more trouble killing sabertooths compared to the dragons :( even on expert difficulty. And upping the difficulty any more makes the game kinda unplayable for me. Be glad if someone could help me out here :)

Bryan

On November 16, 2011 at 10:51 am

You can hit ‘Y’ or ‘N’ for the Yes/No prompts when crafting but I haven’t found a key that clears the Ok box yet.

Matt

On November 16, 2011 at 9:17 pm

“Open the file, then scroll down to where it says [Display]”

Hm… there is no [Display] in my SkyrimPrefs.ini file. There was a [Controls] section. Do we need to add a [Display] line?

Matt

On November 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Never mind, found it. Stupid non-wrapping search…

Bumber

On November 17, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Players using windowed mode should add these lines to the ini:
iLocation X=0
iLocation Y=0

You can then change the values to offset where the window should be from the top-left corner. This setting was present in the Oblivion.ini, yet is strangely missing from Skyrim.ini.

If you want the window to be in the exact center of the screen you should set the coordinates to your desktop resolution minus your gameplay resolution and divide that by 2.

Randy

On November 18, 2011 at 2:00 am

does anyone know how to increase the sensitivity for the y axis? its so annoying!

Bumber

On November 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm

The y axis sensitivity thing is a bug; it is tied directy to your FPS. Decrease your graphics settings (disabling anti-aliasing/anisotropic filtering using the launcher worked for me) and see if that helps.

Moghra

On November 19, 2011 at 8:37 am

Regarding the Windowed mode, you can also use negative values. On my 1920 x 1080 desktop, the following provides borderless full screen:

iLocation X=-2
iLocation Y=-10

Bob

On November 20, 2011 at 1:33 am

I was wondering how do you make the graphics worse? so that they run on less advamced pcs.

Christopher Suttles

On November 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I have found out that the SkyrimPrefs.ini file located in the steamapps directory makes no changes in my game. I need to edit the one located in My Documents/My Games. I have also cut the .ini file out of my steamapps folder and they game still runs!! It must be fore defaults only.

Rick H

On November 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Can the vertical axis be reversed? I use a trackball and will not be able to play it if I can’t invert the look function.. Thanks!

Ari

On November 22, 2011 at 10:15 pm

It’s pretty horrible that users should have to fix this stuff and some of the more egregious problems (like the sluggish mouse movement, it’s currently unplayable until I fix it) don’t get fixed during testing feels like a slap in the face to PC gamers.

Michael C

On November 23, 2011 at 1:30 pm

@Ari
well, it runs fine for me, and I’m playing it on a linux box ;)
I didn’t get any of the sluggish movement and such. I’ve only changed the FOV and added in shadows as suggested here.

dallasfan315

On November 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I’ve tried the default FOV change and for some reason it’s not working for me. Any thoughts?

CJ Miozzi

On November 28, 2011 at 10:20 am

@dallasfan315

It seems the FOV ini change no longer works, sadly. In-game, bring up the console and type “FOV 90″ or whatever suits you.

john doe

On December 9, 2011 at 9:36 am

With the FOV thing it’s been the same in all other Bethesda games, you need to make the .ini file read only so that it can’t overwrite your changes to it (do this after all other settings are perfect though!)

Jim K

On January 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm

CJ, What is the difference between the Skyrim & SkyrimPrefs files? I also noticed a post in the Steam/Skyrim forum (Skyrim tweaks) that says the FOV change you described above goes in the SkyrimPrefs file. Thanks

CJ Miozzi

On January 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm

@Jim K:

Both are initialization files. Skyrim.ini seems to cover more general settings, whereas SkyrimPrefs.ini seems to have more specialized settings, especially graphics-wise.

I’m not sure why the FOV tweak would go in one or another, but I’d say try putting it in the other one if the first doesn’t work. The FOV tweak was the only one I couldn’t get to work, so it’s possible I put it in the wrong .ini file.

Hope this helps.

Angstvormir

On March 8, 2014 at 7:57 am

Thanks mate at least 5 fps increase