Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Sims 3 Crashing and Corrupt Save Files

With an EA release there is no question that it will be laden with bugs and you will spend the first few months wondering when the first patch is coming!

So far so good with Sims 3 then!

While playing for the last week since the game (and for the record it is at Version 1.0.631.0002 currently) i have noticed an extremely annoying crash-to-desktop (CTD) affair where absolutely no warning is giving by either the game nor windows? The game will just instantly cease to run and return to the desktop?

Although i have read similar problems on the net regarding errors of a similar nature to what i am seeing being related to graphics and driver problems. I don’t see this as the problem as i am running the latest nVidia drivers and have never seen a reported driver error so far?

Anyway… along with this i have been receiving errors when trying to save the game. Normally an error message pops up when the game is part way through saving mentioning either code 12 or 13.

According to the “readme" that can be found in the Sims 3 install folder…

01: No save file information.
02: No active world.
03: The save path is empty.
04: Cannot save directory.
05: Cannot find the requested file.
09: Failed to create header record.
10: Failed to write header record.
11: Pre-save callback failure.
12: World file save failure.
13: Post-save callback failure.
14: No load/save manager found.
15: Other error. Sorry.

Entirely helpful i admit!

Some people have mentioned to always run the game with Administrator Privileges (right click game icon and select “Run as administrator”) but that seems to make no real difference.

But onto the more serious note!

When these errors occur, the most serious thing i have noticed is your save game files can be corrupt. You will notice this when you attempt to restart the game and carry on from your last save, but there is no saves available and you have to start from scratch! The game doesn't even inform you that the save file is no good either.

I have read a few peoples complaints of this exact problem and have found a bit of a workaround…

Hopefully in the future EA may add a quick-save function, but until now i can only recommend saving your game at regular intervals. Personally i make sure i do it every 15minutes or after something significant has happened, such as doing extensive modification to your house’s.

OK, so to restore a slightly older save file.

  • Open your “My Documents” folder

  • Locate and open a folder called “Electronic Arts”

  • Locate and open a folder called “The Sims 3”

  • Locate and open a folder called “Saves

In the saves folder you will find a few files, named after the map you are playing and then several extensions.

The actual save file is a .sims3 file, and there should be 1 or 2 other files, namely a .backup and .bad files


The .sims3 one will be the one that is corrupt. Start out by deleting this file, or if your prefer move it to a new location.


Now rename the .backup file and remove the bit that says “.backup” so it just says Sunset Valley.sims3


So you are left with…


Now restart your game and your saves should have been restored and you may continue. Granted you may loose some of your progress, but it is better than loosing all of it! How much you do loose depends on how frequent you are saving your game.

Other than this the game does seem to run very well at the best of times. The only other real annoying problem i have come across is when trying to access the Build and Buy modes and suddenly everything blacks out and i cannot access anything to actually do anything! Moments later the game will once again crash to the desktop.

Fingers crossed most of this will be sorted in future. After all its not more than a week old! To not expect problems would be an understatement!


  1. Thanks, you saved my bacon. Elrond Hubbard's diary (on me website) owes you one!

  2. Hi i'm me,

    Thanks so much 4 helping me. I got so ****ing pissed when i couldnt open my save game. Thanks alot!

  3. Oh My... You will never know how gratefull I am! Seriously, I was about to burst into tears. Thank you for saving me a month of game. Thank you thank you, I dont think I can thank you enough

  4. Omg, you saved me!!!! Thanx a lot!!!

    I have had this for 4 times already!!!!! And yes, I have been starting from scratch every single time... every time gaining that far to level 10 of a career, and then it would crash again! It was becoming frustrating as hell!

    I also have no sound coming out of the stereo, crashing to desktop (not making my saves disappear), crashing to desktop while saving (making my saves disappear)...
    I truly hope that EA will come up with a patch of some sort for these problems.

    (btw, the sound from the stereo disappeared with the first patch... delete the patch, reinstall, and it works again). Only problem is, I can't seem to find the patch to delete.


  5. To all who have commented. I am happy to help! Ive not played TS3 for a while. Will check later to see if any updates have arrived.

  6. Hey Thnx for the help.. I was wondering what i was going to do cos my sim as already a vice-president, i nearly gave up playing..

  7. I cant seem to delete the .backup part of the name. Is it only possible for vista?

  8. Ivy

    You may need to adjust folder options so you are able to see file extensions. Do a quick search on Google for that very thing and it should be explained.

  9. yo man thx u saved me like 12 hrs.

  10. Hello Everyone!
    I´m having the 12 & 13 errors and those **********ing random crashes, and thecrashes while saving. I´was saving alternately in 2 different files so I didn´t loose my saves but yesterday they both got corrupted and I lost everything!!!!!!! I´M SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ANGRY!!!!!!!! I thought it could be one of my downloads but I´m beggining to think it´s the game cause I´m not the only one with these isues.

    So, with error 13 I go to edit town, then hit save and mostly it works. But with error 12 I can´t do that, and when I try to save again, then it crashes (and ruins my file) or keeps saving on and on. It doesn´t even let my play 20 minutes now. I´M SOOOOOOOO SAD...
    I´ll try renaming the files; hope it works.

    Oh, and I have that stereo sound problem too, I hate it!!
    OK good luck everybody, hope this gets solved soon!!!
    Sorry for my english ;)

  11. Hello again, I just saw the second part of this thread and there´s a solution to all the problems!!!! So I guess my post is allready out of date. I´m sorry. Anyway, I needed to release my anger somehow so... I feel better now ;). OK that´s it. BYE!!!

  12. This information got my game back (I had to from scratch) BUT I lost more than a months worth of game play! The game did not recover my LAST save but a verry old one...which I completely dont understand!
    This sucks..

  13. Same problem here. The town I now have is from my third attempt at starting from scratch, not the fifth, like it should be. I'm baffled.

  14. Hi!

    I had the same problem as everyone else, with the error code 12. My problem is that I HAVE to open the .BAD file, since I didn't save for several hours, and open the .BACKUP is lite going back to the beginning. So I tried changing the name, so the .BAD just became a .sims3, and tried starting it up. Everything worked fine - until I chose the famile on the menu. As it tried starting it up, the game died. I've tried several times, and also tried copying the game and saving it under another name - with the same resault.
    Anyone who got any idea, or will I just have to skip the last hours of work and go back to were I was?


  16. IT DOSENT WORK :( I deleted my Family and now i have a town called Twinbrook?? Like WTF!! I restored it all though, but now i have the same problem... Help?

  17. Hey everyone,

    pretty nice review on the error. though i've nevver run into them except for the crashing to desktop without any warning.
    I did however encounter a different failure. It doesn't come with the error message. It just seems to keep on saving forever.

    I've been altering the city snackbar and deleted the whole lot. Build myself a nice church there. To eventualy save it you have to go back to "chage city". (i asume that's what it is in English since i'm running in Dutch)
    After pressing "change city" the save/load circle apprears and it will go round forever. I can still move around with the mouse, though i cant scroll, klick, zoom or turn the camera. It's been nagging me cause the church was petty nice and i can't take screenshots. Still hoping and waiting for it to perhaps tomorrow have saved the city, but i have my doubts.

    Anyone for something on this?
    Is it 'cause i've deleted the snackbar? Should i've stopped playing a family before picking up the hammer?

  18. You have some great points there. I did a lookup about the subject and I want to let you know that I seen that nearly all bloggers will agree with your article.

  19. I just thought I would add onto this article and tell my story and fix.

    I had this same issue - it would crash every time I tried to save (except it did it both on my primary save and the backup!)

    I had noticed that on my primary save Johnny Starling was a black silhouette, so long story short - I changed his appearance in the mirror, then tried to save and it worked!!

    it appears that at times the corruption in your save may be isolated to a specific sim - and that by changing that sim with a new appearance you can overwrite his sim data and thus fix the corrupted data.

    I was about to trash the family, which would have been very sad, as the family was about 45 sim days old :\

    You just saved my boyfriend's file that he had been spending HOURS on. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  21. my game files only save once (i dont have a .sims3.backup or .sims3.bad file) what do i do to get my game back?

  22. [...] The busiest day of the year was June 6th with 115 views. The most popular post that day was The Sims 3 Crashing and Corrupt Save Files. [...]

  23. I would like to add that if your game craches while playing i usally reboot the laptop, this ALWAYS works for me (note i have vista 7 ult on insporon 1525) hope it helps!

  24. EA should be shot, and you given a crown of epicness. Thanks for the save bro, litaraly. But here it is 2011 and still no fix for their bedbug infested game, their complacency is neaseating. Still getting error 13's and CTD is unacceptable at this point. 50 bucks i spent on this BRAND NEW peice o' shyt. You can throw a turd in an unopend box, but at the end of the day its still just a piece o' shyt. Thankfully i knew it was the game and not my 2 day old new PC. Watch and see how EA will do with new titles such as Dragon age 2, ect. No one will buy their 'crap in a box' untill they right their wrongs.

  25. you legend! utter legend!