Skyrim SE Won’t Launch: 8 Ways To Fix It [2023]

Your days of taking an arrow to the knee are over with this guide

From using magic out of thin air to making gold with the transmute spell, Skyrim is timeless, and that’s saying the least. However, users have run into their fair share of errors within the game, such as the Skyrim SE won’t launch issue. Instances such as these can hinder playability drastically, so you definitely don’t want that.

Key Highlights
  • The Skyrim SE Won’t Launch may be caused due to installed mods, corrupted game files, and when “Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Services” is turned on in the Windows’ Services area.
  • Many players have been able to fix the “Skyrim SE not launching” issue by launching the game by going offline.
  • Playing the game in compatibility mode may solve the issue of “Skyrim SE not launching” and prevent it from future crashing as well.
  • Installed Mods are among the most significant reasons why Skyrim Special Edition doesn’t launch. Get rid of Nexus Mods which are known to cause crashes.
  • Another potential fix for the “Skyrim SE won’t launch” issue is blocking the connection for the Inbound and Outbound rules of the major game files.
  • If you are playing the game on Steam, using Steam’s built-in tool to check for missing or corrupted game files may fix the “Skyrim SE won’t launch” issue.
  • If none of the previous solutions have worked, uninstalling and reinstalling Skyrim.

We’ve mustered up a solution-rich guide to get you back to playing and slaying on Skyrim. Carefully following the enlisted fixes will make sure there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that the game isn’t fixed. Without any further delay then, let’s jump right into the fixes.

Restart Your PC and Check for Updates

A bit of a preliminary affair—we know—but what’s necessary is necessary. You can benefit greatly by rebooting your PC and the pros don’t come just for Skyrim SE. There are performance boosts that you can retrieve from a proper restart, among other advantages. Therefore, go ahead and give your PC a little breathing room by letting it refresh itself.

If your computer keeps operating for too long, its chances of giving you trouble increase by leaps and bounds. That is because you never know what component is eating away your RAM profoundly unless you’re checking the Task Manager every once in a while. 

Therefore, go to the Windows Start menu, click on the “Power” button, and opt for a “Restart.” This should quickly prompt your PC to reboot itself. You can also press and hold the dedicated “Power” key on the keyboard for a forced shutdown, but we don’t recommend that. 

Restarting the Windows 10 PC
Restarting the Windows 10 PC

The next step is to check for Windows updates once the PC boots back on. This holds the potential to fix half of the issues you’re facing with your PC, let alone Skyrim SE not launching. Doing that is equally effortless. You simply go into the settings area by selecting “Update and Security” as soon as you’re there.

Opening Update & Security
Opening Update & Security

You will then focus your attention on the top-most section of the subsequently opening page. This is where your update status will appear. If there are any impending updates in the pipeline, you’ll be seeing a likewise notification. It doesn’t always mean necessarily that you’re up to date if the system tells you so. It’s always worth clicking on “Check for updates” to know for sure. Do that as shown in the following image to double-check. 

Checking for updates
Checking for updates

Update your system if the system prompts you to. Continue on to the other fixes if there’s nothing to update and restarting the PC hasn’t helped with the Skyrim SE won’t launch issue. 

Play the Game Offline

As the title of the section depicts, many players have been able to get rid of Skyrim SE not launching just by launching the game offline. We admit that this is more of a temporary fix, but it does help you get back into the game the fastest. Therefore, if you are looking to play your copy of Skyrim SE instantly without diving deep into other complex fixes, this is the solution to go with. 

You can easily disconnect the internet from your device by clicking on the “Internet access” icon in the notification area. Once you’ve done that, click on “Disconnect” beside whatever connection you’re using to finalize the process. 

Disconnecting the Internet Connection
Disconnecting the Internet Connection

It’s time to launch the game just like you normally would after disconnecting the internet on your device. Run the Skyrim launcher and click on “Play.”

skyrim se wont launch
Attempting to Play Skyrim SE

Wait a few moments to see if the game crashes on you again or just doesn’t launch. You can easily connect your internet if the game launches perfectly, so don’t worry about not being able to stream afterward. As we said before, if either you don’t want to shoot for a temporary fix like this or the game still doesn’t work for you, keep on reading for more high-quality solutions. 

Run the Game in Compatibility Mode

Still haven’t managed to get Skyrim working on your Windows 10 PC? It’s time that you try another fix to get things flowing. Some users have found a neat method to get Skyrim SE to launch again, and that requires little to no effort on your end.

It turns out that if you play the game in the provided compatibility mode, the title won’t freeze nor will it crash. Now, this, obviously, won’t work for all of the players out there, but knowing that it has worked for some, you better give it a shot just to be sure.

Get started with this step by opening the Steam launcher and right-clicking on the “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition” game to reveal more options. Click on “Properties” next to get to the next step. 

Accessing Game Properties
Accessing Game Properties

When you open up the game’s properties, you’ll notice quite a few different settings. Your job is to click on the “Local Files” tab and then select “Browse Local Files.” This will take you directly to all the game files associated with the title. 

Now that you’re in your “Windows Explorer” application, the next step is to look for two distinct files: SkyrimSE.exe and SkyrimSELauncher.exe. You’ll open the properties of each file one by one and change its compatibility mode. Therefore, right-click on any of the two, to begin with, and choose “Properties” to get to the next step.   

skyrim se launches but wont load menu
Game Files That Require Optimization

Once you’re there, click on the “Compatibility” tab at the top of the window to get to the next section. You should be seeing a section called “Compatibility mode.” Check the box beside it to unlock its options below and select “Windows 7” from the dropdown menu. Finalize by clicking on “OK” next to render your game in compatibility mode.  

  • It’s also worth noting that you should try running the game as an administrator at this point. This will grant all privileges to Skyrim Special Edition and hinder it no more from operating uninterruptedly. Therefore, check the box beside the aforementioned feature and then click on “OK” to move forward. 
skyrim se launcher wont launch 0
Selecting Compatibility Mode for Windows 7

Repeat the exact same process as described above with the other file that’s left now. Be sure to click “Run this program as an administrator” for it too for the best results.

With some luck, you’ll now be able to resolve the Skyrim SE won’t launch issue and play it like normal again. Launch the game again to find out. If you still experience consistent crashing, keep on reading for more solutions.   

Uninstall Your Downloaded Mods

The PC gaming community is celebrated across the world for creating game mods. These pave the way to an enhanced experience and unlock more ways to play the same game. Sometimes, these mods are purely for aesthetics while in other instances, they can fix a host of bugs and issues. Skyrim Special Edition is no stranger to mods. In fact, it boasts one of the most attractive collections of modifications to ever come to a game.

That said, not all mods are game-changers. Some of them can turn out to be game-breakers as well. To highlight one in specific for Skyrim, the Unofficial High Resolution Patch mod on Nexus Mods is notorious to crash the game repeatedly. If you have it installed on your PC, get rid of it first and try launching the game afterward.  

If that has solved the problem for you, then you’re in luck. You no longer have to go through the rest of the steps necessary to resolve the Skyrim SE won’t launch issue. However, for those who haven’t, we have to rule out the possibility of any faulty mod other than the aforementioned High Resolution Patch mod causing the same not to launch.

The same goes for people who say clicking SKSE won’t launch Skyrim SE. SKSE is an acronym that stands for Skyrim Script Extender. It’s a mod that can be downloaded from Nexus Mods and is used to run the game with extra functionality. Read on as we talk about the process of uninstalling mods. 

How to Uninstall Skyrim SE Mods

We’ll be making the best of a highly specialized tool for that matter called TES5Edit. The irony is that this application is a mod itself too and can be downloaded from Nexus Mods. TES5Edit is tailored towards picking out broken mods that are causing nothing issues for the game and not letting it run properly. 

As soon as it detects something fishy with a mod, it’ll alert you with an error prompt. That way, you can effortlessly remove that mod using the Nexus Mod Manager program on your PC and continue playing Skyrim SE just like before again. 

To get started, click on this direct link to get straight to the official TES5Edit mod page. This is where you can install the tool by selecting the “Download” button.  

Downloading the TES5Edit Mod
Downloading the TES5Edit Mod

You will be needing to create an account on Nexus Mods first to download any mods, so there’s that. It only takes a minute so I suggest getting done with it as soon as you can. Begin the download by clicking on “Slow Download” since that’s what is available for non-premium accounts. You can always purchase a paid Nexus Mods account for extra perks and a host of other benefits though. 

Another requirement of using the TES5Edit mod is 7-Zip. This utility comes pre-loaded in most Windows 10 PCs, so going through with it shouldn’t be a problem. Wait for the mod to finish downloading and head to your Windows Explorer once it does. Right-click on the folder, hover over 7-Zip, and select Extract All to continue. 

modded skyrim se wont launch with beta 0
Extracting the Files of the Mod

Doing so will get you the TES5Edit mod in an extracted form and all its files will be accessible now. The next step, therefore, is to select the “TES5Edit 4.0.4” folder after you click on the main mod folder. You will then be able to access all the files related to this mod once the folder opens. Click on the “TES5Edit” application to launch it and get right down to diagnosing the issue with Skyrim

Launching the TES5Edit Mod
Launching the TES5Edit Mod

The time is nigh to run this mod. As soon as you click on it, the tool will launch and start gaining access to your already downloaded Nexus Mod Manager app. It’s going to commence the scan as soon as it does, so sit tight and wait for the tool to do its thing.

nmm wont launch skyrim se 
Running the TES5Edit Mod Tool

The mod will scan all the existing mods present on the system for Skyrim Special SE. As soon as it detects an error, it’ll launch a prompt. You can then check the vividly apparent message log to pinpoint what exactly is causing the issue. Once you’ve got the name of the trouble-monger mod, head straight to the Nexus Mods Manager app and fire it up. 

You should be looking for this mod in the “Plugins” section of the interface. Scroll down until you find the culprit and click on the box beside it once you have. This will mark the mod and allow you to remove it subsequently.

modded skyrim se wont launch with beta 0
Selecting the Faulty Mod

Click on the “Mods” section after you’ve selected what you needed to from here. This will take you to another area where removing the mod will become outright painless. Simply click on the “Remove Plugin” button present on the left column to rid your system of whatever mod that was causing the Skyrim SE won’t launch headache. 

skyrim SE won't launch
Removing the Mod From Skyrim Special Edition

That’s about it from your end. You’ve successfully used a highly efficient tool to fix your copy of the game and it’s time to see if any of the latter has bore fruit. If Mod Organizer 2 won’t launch Skyrim SE, you have a load of currently installed mods that need to be tended to, all through the process listed above though.  

Launch Skyrim SE again and verify whether the title is working or not now. There’s a hefty chance that you’ve made the fix, but in the unlikely case that you haven’t, keep on reading for more tip-top solutions.

Disable Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Services 

There’s another fix that has solved the Skyrim SE won’t launch problem. The way it works isn’t quite established, but as long as it resolves our issue, we have got to give it a shot. It turns out that the “Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Services” entry in Windows’s Services area is preventing Skyrim from launching properly.

  1. Type “Services” in the Windows Search bar to get started. Click on the application once it appears on your screen to move forward. 
Launching the Services app as an administrator
Launching the “Services” app as an administrator

2. You’ll now see another window launching on the screen. This is where you can check all of the services running on your Windows 10 PC. Note that this program is different from the Task Manager which primarily focuses on all the background processes including the ones of the foreground. Scroll down until you find “Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Services.” Right-click on it to reveal more options and then choose “Properties” to continue. 

skyrim se won't launch
Selecting the Properties of the “Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel” Service

3. Clicking on “Properties” will open another window for you. This is where you will be able to turn this service off for good. Click on the area besides “Startup Type” and this should give a total of three options to choose. One of them is going to be “Disable.” Click on it to bid farewell to the service. Once done, select “OK” and you should be golden now. 

Disabling the Service
Disabling the Service

You’ve successfully disabled the problematic service that might have been causing the Skyrim SE won’t launch issue. It’s best that you try launching the game again to see if this step has resolved the issue. Doing so worked for a bevy of players across the board, so here’s hoping that you become one of them as well. 

In addition to this, remove or unplug any digital device that you’ve hooked up to your PC. This can include any drawing tablet that might be exacerbating the issue at hand. If you didn’t have any of those devices, to begin with, or disabling the Touch Keyboard and Hand Writing Panel functionality also didn’t work, we’ve got a bunch of more solutions lined out for you. 

Specify Inbound and Outbounds Rules in Windows Firewall

There’s another potential fix that has done wonders for multiple players experiencing the Skyrim SE won’t launch hassle. This is something that doesn’t relate particularly with the game, but rather the system processes surrounding the game and how they could possibly prevent it from launching. What you have to do actually is block the connection for the Inbound and Outbound rules of the major Skyrim game files. 

With some spell of magic, doing so bodes chances of resolving this consistent game crashing. It’s definitely worth a shot as it isn’t difficult to do and obviously can fix the problem that we’re having.

How to Specify Inbound Rules in Windows Firewall

The following steps are going to take it from here. 

  1. Go to the Windows Search bar and type in “Windows firewall and network protection.” You should see the application popping up on your screen subsequently. Click on “Open” to get to the next step. 
Opening Firewall and network protection
Opening Firewall and network protection

2. A window will open up as soon as you click on “Open.” This is will be all things Windows Security. You now have to click on “Advanced Settings” in the area below to get to the next step. 

3. Clicking on Advanced settings above will lead you to launch yet another window. That will be where you’ll access “Windows Defender Firewall With Advanced Settings.” Many different processes are going to be listed here, so it sure can get a bit complicated. Don’t fret though since we’ll be illustrating every step of the way. Click on “Inbound Rules” located in the left column to get started. Once done, click on “New Rule” on the right-hand side to get to the next step.

4. Doing so will launch another window, but it’ll be relatively less complex this time. You simply have to make a series of clicks and you’ll be all set. Click on “Program” and select “Next” to get to the next step.

5. You now have to select the path of the program in order to continue. This is where you need to understand what needs to be done. Remember the “Run the Game in Compatibility Mode” section? We mentioned two specific Skyrim files there that both needed to be marked. You’re going to have to do the same here. The first file that pertains to the situation here is SkyrimSE.exe and the other is called SkyrimSELauncher. For Outbound Rules, we will have to encompass both of these files, but all in a one-by-one fashion. Take a look at the photo below to jog your memory. 

skyrim se launches but wont load menu
Game Files That Require Optimization

6. The next step, therefore, is to choose the program path of either one of the aforementioned applications. You’ll get to the other one too, but not in this step since the process accommodates applications one by one. Therefore, click on “Browse” and find the first Skyrim file and select it. Click on “Next” when you’re done to get to the next step.

7. You’ll next be asked regarding what to do with the file that has been selected just now. We’re going to check the toggle beside “Block the connection” and that should be good enough to take us further on in the guide. Click on “Next” when you’re done to discover what comes ahead.  

8. Your next task is to ascertain whether what instances will the selected rule apply. You’ve blocked the connection of the application in the step above. To make sure you achieve the desired results, check all three boxes of Domain, Private, and Public and click on “Next” to move forward.

9. The last step before you finish confirming your new inbound rule is to name it. You simply have to enter anything in the field that you can recognize as Skyrim. We’ll be going with a basic “Skyrim File 1” name here in this case. You can use whatever seems better to you. Click on “Finish” once you’ve done this to specify the inbound rule.

10. This is going to get fairly tedious from here on out, but the extra effort is worth making if it solves the regular crashing of Skyrim SE for you. What you need to do now is simply go back to Step 3 of the tutorial and follow it till Step 6. This is where you have to choose the file path you’d like to specify an inbound rule for. Choose the other Skyrim game file that was left out initially and take it all the way to the end. In the naming section, give it a different moniker, so you know what’s what, and click on “Finish” to finalize. 

That’s about it for specifying the inbound rules for Skyrim SE. You now have to complete the outbound rules section as well to get the game to work again. 

How to Specify Outbound Rules

Specifying outbound rules is similar to everything we’ve done above. Therefore, you experience zero trouble understanding what to do here. You should be at Step 3 of the previous tutorial where you’ve just opened the Windows Defender Firewall With Advanced Security window. If you’re unsure how to do that, simply refer to the guide above.

The following steps are going to take it from here. 

 1. Click on “Outbound Rules” to properly direct what you’re meaning to modify. You can then select “New Rule” to open up another window and get started with the rest of the process.

2. The next screen will let you choose whether what type of rule would you like to create. All you have to do is select “Program” and select “Next” to continue the process. 

3. Similar to how it was done before, you now have to select one out of the two major Skyrim SE game files. You can choose one here but be mindful of the fact that you’ll have to come back for the second one later too.

skyrim se launches but wont load menu
Game Files That Require Optimization

4. The next step, therefore, is to choose the program path of either one of the aforementioned applications. Click on “Browse” and find the Skyrim file and select it. Click on “Next” when you’re done to continue.

5. The next screen is where you will have to select “Block the connection,” just like how you did before and that should do the trick. Click on “Next” when you’re done to get to the following step now.  

6. You now have to make sure that the set rule applies to Domain, Private, and Public profiles. Check the box beside each entry and click on “Next” to proceed. 

7. The last step is to name the rule that you’ve created for the game. Enter any name of your choice here and click on “Finish” to specify the outbound rule.

8. You now have to repeat the steps given above and block the connection for the Skyrim SE file that was left out. Again, this is something that is being repeated in the whole “Inbound and Outbound” rule scenario. It can be time-consuming, but it is quite painless. Get to the last step with the game file, give it another unique name, and click on “Finish“. That should be it for now. 

Give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far! You’ve successfully learned how to specify inbound and outbound rules for Skyrim SE. Take a deep breath and launch the game again to see if it works fine now. Make sure that you’re restarting your PC before doing that.  

Verify the Game Integrity Files 

If you’re playing the game on Steam, there’s another possible fix of the issue at hand. You can use the famous platform’s built-in tool to check if any essential game file is missing or corrupted. Doing so will make it easy to solve the problem and get right back into playing the title. It’s definitely worth a shot, especially since the utility can repair games all on its own. 

Therefore, the following steps are going to illustrate how you can use verify integrity of game files using the Steam desktop client. 

  1. Open the Steam Launcher on your Windows 10 PC to get started. You can use the Taskbar if you have the application pinned there or use the Windows Start menu to find it effectively. 
Launching Steam
Launching Steam

2. You now have to click on the Library area to access your set of games. We basically need to access Skyrim SE’s properties now and this can be done through the side panel on the Steam homescreen as well. Perform a right-click on the title name to reveal more options. Click on “Properties” subsequently to get to the next step.

Accessing Game Properties
Accessing Game Properties

3. With the Properties window open for Skyrim SE, simply click on “Local Files.” This will change the contents of the screen for you and make it possible to verify the integrity of game files. Click on the relevant area as specified in the image below to begin the process. It’ll probably be a while before the procedure concludes, so sit tight but hope for the best.  

That’s all about verifying the integrity of game files on Steam. When the process finishes, try launching Skyrim SE again to see if the issue has been solved. If the game still doesn’t play, it appears then you have one option left now. Keep on reading for the final solution we have got for you.

Reinstall the Game

Have none of the aforementioned solutions worked for you? Unfortunately, the only fix that you have left now is to reinstall the game after uninstalling and try launching it again. This method is known to work universally for several PC games, and the Skyrim SE won’t launch hassle also bows down to an uninstall too at times. 

You can either go to your Steam desktop client or the Windows “Add or remove programs” section to uninstall the game. It depends on how you have the game installed on your PC. One user has mentioned that they had to reinstall the game three times before the issue was fixed. We genuinely hope that this doesn’t go on to be the same case with you, but we do recommend being patient in this respect. 

Reinstall By Renaming the Game Folder First

If you’ve given Skyrim Special Edition a decent reinstall and it still hasn’t fixed the issue, there’s another trick to try here that’s in continuation with this section. The exact reason how this fix operates is unknown more or less, but it’s still worth trying as it has worked for many people.  

You need to perform this fix before you uninstall the game. Get started by heading over to the location of the game files folder. It’s typically found within the “SteamLibrary” folder in Local Disk (C:), but the exact address may differ depending on where you’ve stored the game yourself.

Rename the folder once you’ve arrived at the file destination. You don’t have to pull something unique here. Simply add a letter or two ahead of the original name and that will count as well. 

Renaming the Skyrim Special Edition Folder
Renaming the Skyrim Special Edition Folder

Uninstall the game from the Steam desktop client once you’ve completed doing the previous step. Right after that, proceed to install the game again. Rename the folder back to what it was as soon as the game finishes installing. Try launching the game now to see if the Skyrim SE won’t launch issue has been fixed. 


How to See Why Game Won’t Launch?

It’s obvious to diagnose that your Skyrim SE isn’t launching. Whenever you try playing the game, it’ll crash right after. In addition, you might be seeing the Skyrim SE icon but no pop-up will be appearing on your screen.

Why does Skyrim crash on startup?

Skyrim could crash on startup for many reasons, including unspecified Windows Firewall rules, faulty mods, corrupted game files, and impending Windows updates.

What does CTD mean in Skyrim?

CTD is an acronym that stands for Crash to Desktop. This is when the game keeps on crashing repeatedly. You can fix the issue using multiple ways though.

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Matt Hunter

With four years of experience as a tech writer on a multitude of websites, Matt Hunter currently reports to eXputer with the latest in gaming.

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