How to Install Mods to "Skyrim" for PC Without Steam

By Kyle Turpin

Updated September 22, 2017

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"Skyrim" mods allow users to customize their playing experience with improvements, fixes and new content created by the community. Mods can be downloaded from various places on the Internet, the main source being TESNexus, but how to install them is not always clear. You can install these mods manually without using Steam.

Choose and Download Mods

Download the appropriate mods that you wish to install and prepare to install them by first extracting the contents. The mods will be downloaded as .zip or .rar files, so you will have to unarchive them, either by right-clicking the files and selecting "extract" or by opening them with your preferred archive software.

Keep the extracted files in one place. Each mod will typically have two folders (Meshes and Textures) and a single .esp file. If you are installing multiple mods, you can merge these folders together or just keep them handy while you locate the "Skyrim" installation directory.

Carefully check your mods to see if any of them have special instructions. Some mods don't work well together, and there will typically be a note included in the mod folder if there are known issues. Check through these notes to see if there are any special instructions in your specific mods.

Installing the Mods

Navigate to your game's installation folder. Even if you are not using Steam for this process, or do not use Steam in general, your mods will nonethess be installed to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\skyrim\data". Open this folder.

Click and drag the "Meshes" and "Texture" folders and the .esp file from the mod directory to your "Skyrim" data directory. You will be asked if you wish to merge the folders you are moving with those already present in the "Skyrim" file structure. Select "Yes" for all.

Double check your files. You should now have the .esp files for your mods in the "skyrim\data" directory and the meshes and textures should be merged into their appropriate folders.

Launch "Skyrim" and test the content to see if the game has changed. Some mods that affect game play are very obvious, but you may have to travel to a specific area or talk to a specific NPC to see new content.