Multiple Installations

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Creating multiple copies of Morrowind on one computer is a fairly easy process.

Thanks to both DinkumThinkum and ManaUser for granting permission to post their tutorials here.


Note: It is currently not possible to create multiple installations with the Steam version of Morrowind.


Basic Setup

The basic set up of multiple copies of Morrowind on one computer:

  1. Use Windows Explorer to copy and paste (or drag and drop) your existing Morrowind installation (the Morrowind directory and all its sub-directories and files) into a new directory.
  2. Create shortcuts to the copies of Morrowind Launcher.exe and TES Construction Set.exe in the new directory.

That's all that you need to do to create a separate installation of Morrowind on one computer. You can repeat the process for as many copies of Morrowind as you want.

There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Each copy of Morrowind (and the Construction Set) will use the Morrowind.ini file and plugins that are in its own directories, so each copy can have separate .ini settings and installed mods.
  • Most (all?) of the settings from Morrowind's in-game Options menu are stored in the Windows Registry, so all the installations will share the same settings.
  • Also, most of the Construction Set window positions and sizes are saved in the Windows registry. So these will be shared by all copies of the Construction Set.

Suggestions

Make sure to label shortcuts and directories clearly so it's easy to keep track of which Morrowind installation is for playing the game and which is for testing mods.

I did a complete uninstall and clean reinstall of Morrowind, to get rid of all the leftover bits and pieces of old mods I was no longer using. After I had installed the expansions and the latest patch, I added my custom settings to the Morrowind.ini file (enabled screen shots, tweaked buffer settings, etc.). Then I dragged and dropped a copy of the clean, customized installation into a second directory to use as my test installation of Morrowind, and set up shortcuts for starting the copy of the game and the copy of the editor.

I also made a .zip archive of the clean install, including the customized .ini file, as a backup. That came in handy several times, when my testing installation got too cluttered up with odds and ends of mods, different versions of the same mod, etc. I just deleted the whole testing copy of Morrowind, then unzipped a fresh copy from the .zip archive.

To run multiple copies of the editor at the same time, add the following line to the General section of the Morrowind.ini file:

AllowMultipleEditors=1

I found that very handy, since it makes it very easy to compare two different versions of the same mod or to compare a mod to the original game, without having to constantly load and reload the mods in the editor.

Tips

Last Used Directory

When working with the Construction Set in several different Morrowind installs, something to keep in mind is that the file selection window (when the Add Art File button in clicked) starts in the last used directory tree. This may not be part of the same Morrowind installation that you're currently working in.

For example:

I'm currently editing and merging some head & hair packs I downloaded, using a separate 'Head & Hair testing' installation of Morrowind. In the editor, I clicked on the 'add art file' button to change a body part to use a different mesh, and discovered I was looking at the meshes directory for my 'Clothing mod testing' Morrowind installation: no head meshes in sight.
When this happens, the solution is simple: just click the 'up one level' button (at the top of the file selection window) a few times, to get out of the current directory tree. Then browse down to the directories for the Morrowind installation you're currently working in.
Since the Construction Set remembers the last used file path, usually you'll only need to browse to the correct directories when you switch to working in a different Morrowind installation.

Third Party Add-ons

Morrowind and the Construction Set don't seem to care what directory they're run in. However, third party add-ons (MWSE, MGE, FPS Optimizer, etc) may only work correctly on the original Morrowind installation. If used on another installation they may either crash or just fail to run.

MentalElf's MWSwitcher utility looks like it could solve this type of problem. From the description, MWSwitcher renames directories so whichever installation you want to run will look like the original Morrowind installation, so that FPS Optimizer and similar add-on programs will work correctly.

Different Language Versions

Running two or more different language versions of Morrowind on one computer: this is based on a discussion in Bethesda's Morrowind Hardware and Software Issues forum. Credits go to monkeyfreak, Rukschk, and nightmare2013; all I did was write it up.

Adding a second language version of Morrowind to an existing Morrowind installation:

  1. Make sure you have all the files/disks needed so both language versions will have the same expansion packs and the latest patches.
  2. Use copy and paste to make a copy of your existing Bethesda directory and all its contents. To avoid confusion, give the new directory copy a name that clearly indicates which language version it is.
  3. Uninstall Morrowind, then delete any remnants of the original installation: any files and directories left behind in the original Bethesda directory tree.
  4. Install the new language version of Morrowind and expansions, then patch it (if needed).
  5. Create/update shortcuts for Morrowind and the Construction Set; label them so you can easily keep track of which version is which.

Once you have this setup and working, just install mods in the correct directories for whichever language version of the game they're meant for.

If you want multiple copies of one or both language versions of the game, just copy and paste the appropriate install to a new location, using the same procedure as for single-language multiple installs. Just be careful to label directories and shortcuts clearly so you can keep track of which language version is which.

It is recommended that both language versions have the same expansions and the latest/same patch(es) installed to avoid possible conflicts.

Saving Hard Drive Space

One thing I've never done before is have multiple installs on the computer at once, but I can see why it's good idea. The thing is, I hate "wasting" disk space on identical data. So I came up with a trick that cuts the wasted space down by 560MB per additional copy of Morrowind. In order for this to work both copies must be on the same hard disk, and it needs to be formatted NTFS. This is a little technical so don't attempt it unless you feel comfortable in Windows Explorer etc.

  1. Copy the whole Morrowind folder (as normal).
  2. Put the code below in Notepad and save it as a .bat file.
  3. Put that file in the Data Files folder of the original Morrowind install.
  4. Run it.
  5. Open the newly created "clone" folder.
  6. Move the contents to the Data Files folder in duplicate Morrowind install.
  7. Answer yes to overwrite.
md clone
fsutil hardlink create "%~p0Clone\Morrowind.bsa" "%~p0Morrowind.bsa"
fsutil hardlink create "%~p0Clone\Tribunal.bsa" "%~p0Tribunal.bsa"
fsutil hardlink create "%~p0Clone\Bloodmoon.bsa" "%~p0Bloodmoon.bsa"
fsutil hardlink create "%~p0Clone\Morrowind.esm" "%~p0Morrowind.esm"
fsutil hardlink create "%~p0Clone\Tribunal.esm" "%~p0Tribunal.esm"
fsutil hardlink create "%~p0Clone\Bloodmoon.esm" "%~p0Bloodmoon.esm"
@echo Done.

So what does all that do? It creates a "hardlink" to those files. That's like one physical file being in two places at once. I singled out those files because they're big and normally won't be changed (changing one will change both copies). The next biggest files are in the video folder, so you might want to adapt this technique for those as well.

And yes a realize it's a little silly to worry about 560MB these days, but I couldn't resist.

External Links

The original post on the official Morrowind Mods sub-forum. - Contains both tutorials by DinkumThinkum and ManaUser.