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Some actions freeze time, like opening your inventory, pickpocketing someone, opening your favourites etc.

Recently I was going to talk to someone, and I noticed someone else I hadn't spoken to, so I spoke to them first. By the time I'd finished, my first target had wondered off. I thought that speaking to someone would also freeze time, but it didn't, causing me to lose track of someone.

What actions in this game cause time to freeze?

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

Via drop-test (dropping an item and seeing whether its fall stops), the following actions appear to pause time:

  • opening the Character Menu or any of its submenus (even if you use Quick bindings to bypass the Character Menu)
    • Items / Inventory
    • Magic
    • Skills
    • Map
  • opening any of the tabs of the System menu
    • Journal
    • General Stats
    • System
  • any action which indirectly opens your invenory
    • trading
    • looting
    • pickpocketing
    • but not crafting
  • opening your Favorites
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Accessing Favorites stop time. – Raven Dreamer Nov 14 '11 at 5:28
@Raven Dreamer — Many thanks! – Ben Blank Nov 14 '11 at 6:08
Does Enchanting stop time (is that counted under "crafting" in your answer)? – Andrew Moylan Jan 13 '12 at 19:16
@Andrew Moylan — Enchanting uses the standard crafting interface, so does not stop time. – Ben Blank Jan 14 '12 at 8:24

The only things that stop time in Skyrim are opening an inventory menu or an interface menu. This does not include the various crafting menus, but includes buying, selling, and pickpocketing.

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