The following is a list of tweaks for the PC version of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, intended to enhance and optimize the experience. Please feel free to add/edit any personally tested and verified tweaks of your own which can be considered truly useful to a large amount of users.
WARNING: much of the tweaking here involves .ini files. Back these files up before touching them, so just in case something goes bad, you can restore them easily and be back to normal.
Some images and information in this guide appears courtesy of Geforce.
 Shadow Detail
One of only two major performance killers, this is one of the first settings you should consider lowering, if only to High.
The second major performance killer is MSAA, an intensive form of anti-aliasing intended to get rid of 'jaggies'. You should first consider using FXAA, another form of AA with very little performance impact; it's effective but does introduce a slight blur which some dislike. If you prefer MSAA, try 2x or 4x, as 8x seems to offer little difference over 4x, but hurts performance quite a bit more. If you dislike the blurring of FXAA and need extra frames, consider disabling AA altogether.
 V-Sync & Triple Buffering
V-Sync can be disabled, but for a variety of reasons is not recommended. Instead, you may wish to enable Triple Buffering through your graphic's cards control panel to alleviate the performance impact of V-Sync. If you already disabled V-Sync, here is how to get back to normal.
 Mouse movement
Access Skyrimprefs.ini via C:\Users\[username]\Documents\My Games\Skyrim. Open the file with Notepad, and add the following variables at the bottom of the [Controls] section:
Save and exit.
This will optimize the speed of mouse movement in some cases to be even on both axis' and feel smooth and natural. You may prefer slightly different settings, either independently for Y and X variables, or for both, in which case fiddle around with different numbers (0.0100, 0.0140, etc).
Setting bMouseAcceleration=1 to 0 in Skyrimprefs.ini as well may improve responsiveness.
 Disabling intro logos/no intro
Naviagate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\Data\Video, create a folder named 'skip', and drop the only file in the Video folder into this new folder. From now on, when you boot the game, you will bypass the introductory logo videos/movies.
 Improving shadows
Skyrim's shadows by default are lacking. Change the variables below as indicated in Skyrimprefs.ini to vastly improve the situation for little or no performance hit:
- Higher resolution shadows traded off for distance at which they're displayed; a value of 400.0000 for example will provide extremely high-res shadows, but they won't be seen on anything very far in the distance. 5000 is a recommendable balance, while 8000 is more thorough.
 Increasing field of view (FOV)
Field of view refers to how wide your vision is. By default, this is set at 65, which is generally too low for those using high-resolution widescreen monitors, especially if you're the type to get headaches and nausea from a narrow FOV. Depending on your resolution, you'll want to start at around 80, and fiddle from there with what makes you most comfortable. Go too high though, and you'll start to experience 'fisheye'.
To increase it, add the following values to the bottom of the [Display] section of Skyrim.ini:
(Note: xx represents desired FOV)
Save and exit.
Then, add the following value to the bottom of the [General] section of Skyrimprefs.ini:
Finally, enter the command in the command console (hit ~ fov xx) and enter the same desired fov value, and save your game.
 Disabling quest markers
If you prefer to go the oldschool route, change the bShowQuestMarkers=1 variable in SkyrimPrefs.ini to 0 to disable quest markers.
 Command console
Skyrim features an in-game command console, which allows you to input a ton of variables for a huge amount of effects, from changing your field of view to changing your sex, to various cheats. Access the console in-game by hitting the ~ (tilde) key; commands are inputted by typing them in and hitting enter. Here only the truly useful commands will be listed; the full list can be accessed with the 'help' command.
To load a series of console commands at once, create a text file, add the commands on separate lines, save it as commands.txt in the \Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim directory, load the game, bring up the console, and type in Bat.
- This toggles the in-game HUD/menus on and off -- very useful if you want to take 'clean' screenshots or make machinima, for example.
- Another useful command for screen or video captures, this allows you to manually adjust the camera position in both first- and third-person viewpoints using the WASD keys and mousewheel. Note that you can add "1" (without the quotes) after the command as a parameter to temporarily "freeze" the in-game action while still allowing you to adjust the camera.
- This will change your character's sex to male or female, depending. WARNING: this is not a personally tested command yet, and may or may not break your character's stats and other variables.
- Another command that will allow you to create/edit your character, just as you did in the prologue/tutorial section of the game. Editing parameters tied to appearance should have no negative consequences on the skill development of your character to that point, though you may temporarily lose an active effect inherent to the race of your character; this can usually be rectified simply by saving and reloading the game. However, changing the race of your character into an entirely new one will reset most skill levels to their default values for the new race.