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> How to clean a saved game, From the infamous Dirty Save thread
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DinkumThinkum
post Sep 3 2004, 02:45 PM
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How to clean a saved game - Part 1:
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These posts provide basic background information about the dirty save problem, and explain some of the methods for cleaning saved games. I've also included Dave Humphrey's explanation of undoing texture changes that remain after the mod that installed them has been removed.

This is written primarily for mod users. The original 'Dirty Saves: Causes and Cures' thread was written mainly for mod creators and included a lot of additional information, but I don't have any idea when (or if...) I'll have time to cleanup and reorganize that thread in its entirety for reposting.

I'm going to ask one of the moderators to include a link to this in the pinned post in the Mods forum, so please try to keep responses on topic so this thread stays useful for people who need help cleaning dirty saves. (I plan to wait a little while before asking for a link, just in case somebody spots something significant I overlooked when proofreading this.)

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What is a 'dirty save'?

The short version: a dirty save is a saved game that contains information that doesn't correspond to information in the mods currently being used in the game.

One common way this can happen is if a mod user changes a mod after it's already included in the saved game, either by editing the mod or by installing a different version produced by somebody else.

Another common cause of a dirty save is removing (disabling) a mod after it's already included in the saved game.

The end result is a conflict between data in the saved game and data in the mods currently being used.


What types of problems does a dirty save cause?

The basic symptom of a dirty save is something in the game that doesn't match what should be there based on the mods in use. For example, objects in a mod might be missing or duplicated in the game, or changes made by a removed mod may still show up in the game after the mod is removed.


The infamous 'Dirty Saves: Causes and Cures' thread had a lot more details about dirty saves. Check the Construction Set pinned posts to see if I've ever gotten around to recreating that thread.

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How do you fix a dirty save?

The safest, most reliable solution is to avoid the problem: go back to an older saved game that was made before you first installed the mod you've changed or removed. Since that saved game won't include any references to the mod, it will be clean and won't have any conflicts caused by changes to or removal of the mod.

NOTE: When you install a new version of a mod that's already part of your game, check the mod's readme file to see if the mod's creator provides any suggestions for avoiding dirty save problems with the updated version of the mod.


Mod installation tip: when you install a new mod, make a backup saved game before you first enable the new mod in your game, and then spend some time just trying the mod out before you get too involved with the game again. That way, if you have problems or just don't like the mod, you can easily disable the mod and restart from the backup saved game.


If you're unable or unwilling to go back to an older saved game, then you can try cleaning your saved game to remove references to the mod that has been changed or removed. Suggested cleaning methods follow, but there is no guarantee that cleaning a mod will be eliminate all problems or that it will leave you with a playable saved game. So always back up your saved game before trying to clean it.

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The next few posts will have the actual cleaning methods, followed by Dave Humphrey's information on removing left-over textures.

Edit: I'm finished my initial posts for this thread.

This post has been edited by DinkumThinkum: Sep 3 2004, 03:04 PM
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DinkumThinkum
post Sep 3 2004, 02:53 PM
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How to clean a saved game - Part 2:
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First, the basic in-game method for cleaning a saved game:

This is most likely to succeed for a mod that's primarily self-contained. By that, I mean one that mostly just adds new material to the game, rather than one that makes a lot of changes to existing content that's already in the game.

Mods that make a lot of changes throughout the game can be difficult to clean. More advanced techniques are in my next post in this thread.

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In-game method:

Make a backup of your save game before you start this, just in case.

1. Get all your belongings out of the mod's area: out of any containers, cells, etc. that are part of or changed by the mod. Move your belongings and your character to a small interior cell with very little in it. A small house or shack without much in it is a good choice. Pick an interior cell that has nothing to do with that mod.

2. To avoid problems with your character's encumbrance and other inventory related bugs:

a. If the mod adds any items to the game (clothes, weapons, armor, etc.) make sure your character doesn't have any of the added items in their inventory.

b. If the mod changed the weight of any items already in the game, remove those objects from your inventory.

c. If you're removing a mod that changes the names of any items in your character's inventory, remove those objects from your inventory (to avoid an obscure bug).

If you're not sure which items might be affected by the mod, drop everything you own on the ground.

NOTE: Also, when installing a mod that changes the weight or names of existing objects, you should first remove any of the affected items from your inventory to avoid bugs.

3. Save the game and exit.

4. Restart the game, and disable the mod on the Data Files menu before you load the save game.

5. Now load your save game, without that mod enabled. You'll probably see error messages; click past them.

6. Once you're back in the game without the mod loaded, save the game again.

7. The new save should be a clean save. Spend some time playing the game, without the mod, to make sure everything seems to be working right.

8. Once you decide that save game is OK, use it as your clean save game: your starting point for continuing the game.

I would suggest getting rid of (or at least relocating) the older save games made with the mod loaded.

If you're trying to clean a dirty saved game caused by editing (or updating) a mod after it was included in your save game: you definitely want to get rid of any saves made with a version of the mod that's different from the one you're using now. Those saves are dirty, and have a good chance of causing problems if used with the current version of the mod.
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DinkumThinkum
post Sep 3 2004, 03:00 PM
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How to clean a saved game - Part 3:
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More advanced methods for cleaning a saved game:

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Originally posted by Nigedo:

Just thought I'd add a quick explanation here about how you can use TESAME to clean your dirty save.

[Note by DT: look for TESAME on most major Morrowind download sites.]

Backup your save game before you attempt this so you can restore it if you are not happy with the result.

Load up your game in Morrowind and take your Player Character somewhere well away from the problem area then save your game using a new unique name e.g "dirty save".

Now, you need to load up TESAME then select the menu option 'MODS' and 'OPEN'.

Then browse to your save game location

e.g. C:\Program Files\Games\Morrowind\Saves

and select 'All Files (*.*)' in the 'Files of type' box at the bottom.

Highlight the unique name that you gave to the save game you want to clean and click 'OPEN'.

Note: The save game name will look slightly different when you browse for it in TESAME but you should be able to distinguish it from the other save games by the unique name you gave it, only part of which will be evident e.g. "dirty sa0000.ess".

It may take a short time to load up your save game. Once it is loaded, click on the 'Type' column title at the top and that will sort all the items by their types.

Look down the list for items of type 'Cell' (color coded in pink) and find the reference for the cell region that contains the problem mod and right click on that item.

Then press the delete key.

What this does is remove the reference from within your save game to your character ever having been in that cell and interacting with or owning anything in that cell.

(I'm not sure whether editing the cell changes NPC's though, so you may want to check and do the same for any NPC's that you have problems with.)

So any personal items belonging to your character that were still in that cell will be deleted from your save game as will all previous interactions with any mods in that cell.

Now select the menu option 'MODS' and 'SAVE AS'. If you have the capability, then you should now right click on the original dirty save game ("dirty save.ess") in the 'SAVE AS' dialog box and delete it (you did make a back up somewhere else didn't you?). This is because Morrowind will not be able to distinguish between the original and the TESAME'd save game and it will save you any headaches over which is which when you go to open it in Morrowind.

Again select 'All Files (*.*)' in the 'Files of type' box at the bottom and give your cleaned save game a unique name e.g. "cleaned save.ess".

Now click 'SAVE'.

If you haven't already deleted the original dirty save game file, you should now open your save games folder and delete it directly.

Start up Morrowind and go to the 'Data Files' option. Uncheck any mods that were showing up the dirty problems in your save game.

Now load up Morrowind and load your new cleaned save.

Note: The clean save will probably have the same name as the dirty save had when displayed in the Morrowind Load Save Game Menu because it doesn't look at the actual file name you gave it.

Save your newly cleaned game with a new name.

If you want to, you can now go back and recheck the mods that you intend to continue using. But don't resave with those mods added if you want to continue altering them.

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Originally posted by Argent (this is about using Farren's Enchanted Editor to clean a save):

[Note by DT: look for the Enchanted Editor on most major Morrowind download sites.]

The following is an extract from one of Farren's posts that is also included in the readme file I bundled with the editor on Euro-MW:

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Reduce a 5mb Save Game File to 1MB (major FPS increase and kills most "doubling"")
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This technique has some quirks like resurrecting all dead characters but does not break quests or change characters attitudes to you etc. The vast majority of space taken in your save is NPCC (characters you've stolen from, killed etc) and CELL (Cells you've altered) records, so...

1. Load the save game

2. Turn OFF safe editing (Edit/Editing Options/Safe Editing or just click the symbol like a road sign on the toolbar till it warns you and the symbol turns bright yellow and red)

3. Click the check box next to the "Cells" node to mark all cells.

4. Click the "Cells" node (not the checkbox) to expand it and show all cells and scroll down till you see the cell or cells where you keep all your loot (your home, if you have one). Uncheck this cell in the check box or you lose your loot.

5. Click the check box next to "NPCs Altered/Killed by Player" (NPCC) node to mark all altered NPCs.

6. CRITICAL: Click the "NPCs Altered/Killed by Player" (NPCC) Node to expand the node and show all NPCC record. Scroll down to the "PlayerSaveGame" record and UNCHECK it. You don't want to delete this specific record or your save game will be ruined.

7. Press Delete. All CELL and NPCC entries apart from your home and the PlayerSaveGame will be deleted.

8. Save your game. I got a 5MB game (LOTS of mods and Neverine) down to 1MB like this. Everyone I knew still thought I was the bees knees and I could walk around Balmora without feeling like a crippled snail on downers afterwards (much better FPS).
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DinkumThinkum
post Sep 3 2004, 03:03 PM
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How to clean a saved game - Part 4:
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Removing textures changes that linger after the mod that installed them has been disabled:

Originally posted by Dave Humphrey:

When you install the original game, all the landscape textures (and other data files) are in the big Morrowind.Bsa file. When a mod like Green Morrowind changes the textures they place the new textures into the game's Data Files\Textures path. The game notices the new files and loads them from there instead of the BSA file.

In order to revert back to the original texture you can do one of several things. First, you can delete the textures you don't want from the textures path. Of course, you should be careful to just delete the appropriate textures otherwise you might break other mods.

The second, and possibly better, method, is to copy all the original textures from your second CD (labeled Construction Set I believe). The old textures will overwrite any replaced textures and things will get back to normal. Of course this will overwrite any replaced textures (but not new ones) so if you just want to revert your landscape textures but not anything else you'll have to copy the files back selectively.

If you're hard up and lost the 2nd CD, you can also extract all the textures files from the Morrowind.Bsa file.

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This is the last of my initial posts in this thread; feel free to add to the thread!
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LostBoys
post Sep 3 2004, 04:23 PM
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Someone Sticky This!!
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Pseron Wyrd
post Sep 3 2004, 06:25 PM
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I am SO glad you did this, DinkumThinkum. I had the old thread bookmarked and when I tried to use it yesterday I naturally got a 'Forum Not Found'.

This is an invaluable resource. Thank you for taking the time to write this and thank you for taking the time to make it available a second time.
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Armydude71490
post Sep 12 2004, 08:58 AM
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I think I found the answer! To the problum I was having!
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sunsi
post Sep 12 2004, 04:10 PM
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This is always a good one to keep on top...they really should make this a sticky :nod:



Thank you, DinkumThinkum :bowdown:
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Ronin49
post Sep 15 2004, 10:22 PM
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Excellent. DinkumThinkum, thank you.

This important thread should at least be linked from the pinned 'readme first' thread at the top of the Mod Forum.
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DinkumThinkum
post Sep 16 2004, 12:30 AM
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QUOTE(Ronin49 @ Sep 15 2004, 11:22 PM)
This important thread should at least be linked from the pinned 'readme first' thread at the top of the Mod Forum.
*



Thanks for the kind words, everybody!


I asked a moderator to add a link to this thread to the pinned thread in the Mods forum, but he decided the link belonged in the pinned "Comprehensive Tutorial and Useful Link List" thread in the Construction Set forum.

So that's where the link is...

This post has been edited by DinkumThinkum: Sep 16 2004, 12:32 AM
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