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The console key is used to access in-game debugging commands. As such, it can be a powerful tool for analyzing game issues and also to cheat.

The key is the top left key, directly under the "Esc" key and to the left of the "1" key (the "~" key on most keyboards).

For the console feature to work, the line "ballowconsole=1" must be present in the interface section of your Oblivion.ini file (typically located in "...\Documents\mygames\oblivion\").

With conventional "PS-2", 101/102 Key keyboard and drivers, this key is mapped correctly.

Unfortunately on many, USB interfaced, multi-media keyboards and international keyboards this key may not be in the same location. This is a function of window's plug 'n play feature. Vista also has 'special' keyboard drivers for multi-media keyboards that remap the tilde key and Print Screen keys, in which case Oblivion's console access and screencapture functions are defeated.

To fix this issue:

  1. Switch to a conventional "PS-2", 101/102 Key keyboard and drivers. It all depends on what features are most important to you.
  2. Use the Ring Of Console mod (requires OBSE)
  3. Use the Change Console Key mod (requires OBSE)

In addition if you have a newer system with the Microsoft eHome devices, or an infrared remote for media versions of windows, Oblivion will not be able to read the scan code for the tilde key. This problem appears to be caused by the MIRC (Microsoft Infrared Remote Control).

To fix this issue:

  1. If the MIRC is connected via USB, disconnecting it should work.
  2. If the Infrared device is built in to your computer (ie. laptops), you can disable the device with windows device manager (you will need to reenable it if you wish to use it when not gaming).
  3. You can uninstall the device. Windows will reinstall it at the next bootup (not a very good long term solution because the device reinstallation will eventually bork).
  4. If you don't care about the Infrared device at all, uninstall it with device manager, reboot, hold down the F8 key, and then turn off the device itself in your BIOS (if you don't turn the device off, Windows will reinstall the driver at it's next boot up)

NOTE: The location of the device driver (in the Device Manager menu tree) will either be in the section "Universal Serial Bus controllers" or " Human Interface Devices". If under "Human Interface Devices" and you have the Microsoft eHome Infrared transceiver, the device to disable is "SMSC CIR Receiver"

SIDE ISSUE: Cannot see the console (It seems to be shifted to the left). Caused by using "square" resolutions as opposed to widescreen.

Solution: In the .ini file set "iConsoleTextXPos=30" to something like "iConsoleTextXPos=230"

This article is a condensation of information from many sources, all in the public domain, my only contribution is to consolidate things in such a way as to, hopefully, make a useful guide for a user experiencing difficulties.


Oblivion Console Command Tutorial

Google Game & Editing FAQ page

Fallout Console

Microsoft Support Article KB927824

Bethsoft forums topic

Bethesda Softworks Technical Support: "If you have a new system with the Microsoft eHome devices, these will conflict with the program being able to read the scan code for the tilde key from the keyboard. Those Microsoft eHome devices or drivers need to be disabled in order to allow the game to "see" the tilde key being pressed. The MIRC (Microsoft Infrared Remote Control) seems to disable the tilde (~) key in both Oblivion and Morrowind. Simply disconnecting the MIRC from the USB port will fix this issue."