Dual Oblivion

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A way to have 2 Oblivions on your computer at once. By bben46


Edit: 8/31/2008 by Bben46. This has been superseded by a much simpler system made by Gaticus and called mTes4Manager: http://tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=35263 I recommend using his program instead.

These instructions are written using Windows XP and also using the default path for the game. If you use Vista or Win7, or you have not used the default path for installing the game, your path names will be slightly diferent.

Bethsoft made it impossible to actually have 2 copies working on the same computer. So, I had to devise a work around. The reason it is impossible is when you install Oblivion, it puts entries in the Windows registry that refer to a particular copy of Oblivion in a specific place. Installing it in a new place will just replace those entries and point to the new copy making the original useless.

If you want to play Oblivion with all of the mods you have, and make a mod at the same time, you will run into the problem of modding with all the other mods active. In order to be able to mod with a clean version of the game, and test your mod without any of the mods or saved games. I have created a pair of batch files that allow me to swap back and forth with a minimum of effort. You can play with SI, and a full complement of mods, then switch to Vanilla Oblivion without SI or any extra mods or saved games to test your mod.

Before doing this make sure you have enough room on your hard drive for two or even three complete copies of your Oblivion data folder and saves folder.

The Procedure

First, you will need a clean install of vanilla oblivion, complete with the latest official patch as well as a second version with all of your mods and saved games and your modified Oblivion.ini.To get these, I recommend the following procedure: Rename your C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Oblivion to "PlayOblivion" Rename "C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\CSOblivion" "Oblivion"

Now, follow my procedure for reinstalling Oblivion - here:

with the exception of renaming the original files as you have already renamed them to match the file names in my batch files.

When you finish the reinstall, you will have a clean install. I recommend making a copy of the Oblivion directory in the program files directory with a new name - something like \clean-Oblivion-data and the Oblivion directory in the documents and settings section also to something like \clean-oblivion-saves. These are to be kept unchanged as an emergency back up. If you need them do not rename then, copy them with a new name.

Your newly installed version will become your construction set version. and it will be the currently active version. to change to the play version run the batch file to change it.

Here are my 2 batch files. You may need to modify them for your own use. Please feel free to use and modify them in any way with my full permission.

To switch to the Construction set version: Save and name this one CS Oblivion.bat

REM ** Oblivion Construction Set Game **
REM ** This changes to the construction set version for testing. **
IF EXIST "C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Oblivion\CSFlag.ben" GOTO CS REM ** If you are already in the CS version jump around. **
RENAME "C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Oblivion" "PlayOblivion"
RENAME "C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\CSOblivion" "Oblivion"
RENAME "C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\PlayFlag.ben" "CSFlag.ben"
RENAME "C:\documents and Settings\Ben\My Documents\My Games\Oblivion" "playOblivion"
RENAME "C:\documents and Settings\Ben\My Documents\My Games\CSOblivion" "Oblivion"
ECHO ******************************************
ECHO * Oblivion Construction Set Game Enabled *
ECHO *                                        *
ECHO *     Press any Key to continue          *
ECHO ******************************************

This changes to the Version used to play with all of your mods and changes.

Save and name this one Play Oblivion.bat

REM ** Play Oblivion. **
REM ** This changes the directories for playing Oblivion From the one used for testing a mod to to the one you use to play. **
IF EXIST "C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Oblivion\playflag.ben" GOTO Play
RENAME "C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Oblivion" "CSOblivion"
RENAME "C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\PlayOblivion" "Oblivion"
RENAME "C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\CSFlag.ben" "Playflag.ben"
RENAME "C:\documents and Settings\Ben\My Documents\My Games\oblivion" "CsOblivion"
RENAME "C:\documents and Settings\Ben\My Documents\My Games\PlayOblivion" "Oblivion"
ECHO ***************************************
ECHO *        Play Oblivion Enabled        *
ECHO *                                     *
ECHO *      Press any Key to continue      *
ECHO ***************************************

You will need one other small change, the 'flag' that allows the batch to know which version is currently loaded.

Create a text file in the Bethesda Softworks folder and name it CSFlag.ben Then copy the following into it. Playflag - a dummy program used only for its name. save it and be sure it has the name csflag.ben If the name is Playflag then you are running the version of Oblivion you use to play the game. If the name is CSflag you are using the clean version used for testing your Mod.

After creating and saving the 2 batch files, make a shortcut to each one and place it on your desktop. then just select the one you need to make the change. It will run in a window and let you know if it made the change successfully. If you choose the wrong one, it will not make any changes and will leave a message in the window to let you know - That's what the flag is for.

If you use OBMM, you can add a line to rename 2 different copies to go along with each copy of Oblivion.

If you have any problems or suggestions to make this simpler, please let me know.