There are rumours floating around which state the main Skyrim executable (as of version is not tied to Steamworks - or any other form of DRM - even if you bought the game from Steam. If this rumours were true, it would be the same situation as with Fallout 3, which didn't have any DRM on the main executable even though it included SecuROM on the game launcher.

Another set of rumours is that the Russian-language version distributed by 1C in the CIS is not tied to Steam. In fact, so the rumour goes, it doesn't even have a serial number usable on Steam, so it isn't registrable there even if one wanted to do so.

Testing the first rumour would require one to save the Skyrim folder and its registry keys, uninstall Steam, then try to see if the game would still run. Testing the second rumour would need someone from the CIS to get the 1C-distributed version of the game and verify whether it is true or not. Both simple test - but I can't do either of them at the moment.

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    So, is there any practical, legal benefit to the user if the answer is yes? Beyond the simple ideological triumph of not needing to have Steam, (which, in all honesty is pretty useful) installed? Nov 11, 2011 at 15:55
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz: Off the top of my head: Not being tied to Steam's EULA just to play the game, having more control about which software is installed on one's computer, not having to deal with Steam's wonky and not always working "offline mode" just to play the game on the move, and for modders, not having to deal with another potential source of problems while modifying the executable via script extenders and similar. In addition, if the Russian 1C-distributed version indeed doesn't even work on Steam, this is a limitation worth knowing if you planned to get the game in Russian. Nov 11, 2011 at 15:59
  • @LessPop The advantage for me is being able to twiddle the Large Address Aware bit in the exe header so that it will use my 4gb of memory and not stutter and crash so often. I actually rolled back just now so I could use the LAA patch and play crash-free again. Not being tied to Steam means that I can apply this minor mod to the exe and Steam won't freak out. Nov 21, 2011 at 22:52
  • You can play on the Xbox, no steam but even worse DRM rules? Out of the fire and into the frying pan? :P Dec 21, 2012 at 6:56
  • You can't retroactively "untie" yourself from the EULA if you agreed to it when you installed Steam and/or purchased/installed Skyrim. Dec 21, 2012 at 11:17

2 Answers 2


I can confirm that the main executable is not tied to Steam. Launching it directly start the game without going trough the "Loading game" steam window, and you can't access the steam community if you started it this way.

This was surely done to enhance compatibility with outside tools like Wrye bash or OBSE for oblivion. With Oblivion on steam, you can't launch the game trough an external launcher without going trough the vanilla launcher that steam launches.

Apparently, it was an oversight from either Bethesda or Valve, and was fixed in the first patch. (source)

  • Sweet, thanks. Did somebody try it after totally removing Steam from the system, or does the game need its libraries/dlls still installed? Nov 11, 2011 at 15:50
  • I came back to this answer to let you know about the latest patch, but it appears you've beaten me to the punch. One question, did you mean "oversight" instead of "overview"?
    – Arkive
    Nov 22, 2011 at 0:06
  • Small correction: The patch from 2011-11-21 is the second patch, though it still has the same version - and indeed, doesn't change anything besides adding the Steam DRM to TESV.exe - as the first one, Nov 22, 2011 at 8:53

I don't know to much about Steam and all but I heard when you install Skyrim online you can go to Steam itself. Make sure you're logged in and then click "play offline". After you do this you can unplug your internet cable and then go to Skyrim and play the game.

But remember when you're on Steam, make sure all updates for all your games that are installed are finished before you go offline.

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    It's a common misconception that "offline mode" means "without steam" but this isn't the case. As we're likely to get this answer again if I remove it, I'm going to leave it, although it could be argued that it does not answer the question.
    – agent86
    Dec 21, 2012 at 12:45

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