Sims 3 Lost or Corrupted Saved Games

Sims 4 users, please be aware I am still studying the game and haven’t yet had technical problems to troubleshoot of my own.  I am trying to learn all I can to help you troubleshoot issues you might have with Sims 4.  In the meanwhile please see a preparedness plan or my guide to restoring saved games in Sims 4.

 

If your saved game is not showing in the main menu of the Sims 3, your save file may have been corrupted or lost.  There are several technical issues in the Sims 3 that can cause saved games to be lost or corrupted, but you might be able to get your game back.

First, quit The Sims 3 and close the Launcher, then check your saved games folder by going to Documents > Electronic Arts > The Sims 3 > Saves

You should see a list of subfolders for each of your saved games.  There will be two folders for each saved game.  If your saved game is called “Sunset Valley” you should see a subfolder named “Sunset Valley.sims3″ and another one named “Sunset Valley.sims3.backup”  If you see “Sunset Valley.sims3.bad” it means the saved game has been corrupted.

To restore a saved game that has been corrupted, delete the “.sims3″ and “.sims3.bad” subfolders and rename the “.sims3.backup” folder to “.sims3″ (if the folder was “Sunset Valley.sims3.backup” rename it to “Sunset Valley.sims3″).  Then start your game and try to load the restored saved game.  You may lose some of the progress you had made in your game.

If restoring the .backup version of your saved game does not resolve the problem, you may or may not be able to get your saved game back and your technical troubles could be more significant than you suspected.  The following suggestions are less than ideal and may involve losing all or some of your saved games, custom lots and sims, downloaded content, etc.  Make copies of everything you hope to keep before you move forward with these remedies.

Quit the game and the Launcher.  Go to Documents > Electronic Arts and locate the folder named The Sims 3.  Right click on The Sims 3 folder and select “Cut” from the popup menu.  Click anywhere on your computer’s desktop and select “Paste” from the popup window (or paste The Sims 3 folder in another location on your computer, if you prefer).

When you move The Sims 3 folder to another location, the game will generate a new folder called The Sims 3, in the original location, when you run the game next.  Run the Sims 3 and create a new game.  Check to see that things are working and save your game.  If your game saves properly, quit the game and then run it again and make sure you can load the saved game you just made.

So long as all of that worked, you can begin adding your saved sims, lot library, custom content, etc back into the game.  Find the content you wish to add back into your game by going through the subfolders found in the folder for The Sims 3 you moved to your desktop.  For example, the subfolder called “SavedSims” will contain all the custom sims you had in your game (ones you saved, as well as any sims you downloaded), and you can copy the file(s) for any of the sims, then paste the file into the new Documents > Electronic Arts > The Sims 3 > SavedSims folder.  Add your content back to your game carefully–just restore a few files at one time and test to make sure everything works.

If simply moving The Sims 3 folder to the desktop and forcing the game to generate a new folder doesn’t work to resolve the technical issue you’re experiencing, you may need to completely uninstall the game, clean your computer’s registry and defrag the hard drive, then reinstall the game and make sure it’s updated properly.

Tip: Always make a copy of The Sims 3 folder (containing all your saved games, sims, lots, etc) before installing any new expansion pack, stuff pack, or game update AND before updating your EA Download Manager (EADM) or Origin.  Keep your copies in another location on your computer so you can restore lost content if anything goes wrong.

Note: the saved games and their back-ups are stored in the Saves folder, and if you exceed 200 folders (that is 100 saves and their 100 backups) you will not be able to load your most recent saved game from the Main Menu within the game.  If your newest saves are not showing on the Main Menu, exit the game, delete old saves and backups that you know you will not need (or move them to a storage location outside of your Sims 3 folder) and restart the game.  Your newest saves should then be visible from the Main Menu.

90 Responses to Sims 3 Lost or Corrupted Saved Games

  1. Andy says:

    didnt work…

    • enkeli63 says:

      It doesn’t always work, and I mentioned that it might not. If your game is truly buggered, there’s nothing you can do. Sorry.

      • Rachael says:

        Incorrect, sorry not tryin to be rude. Go to your documents folder in any version of windows, select ex games, delete the most recent saved listed, there are usually two or more of the same date and time. Then you will be fine, however if you do not save frequently you will have some catching up to do.

      • enkeli63 says:

        Hi Rachel. Your comment isn’t rude :) but I don’t quite know what you mean? Are you referring to the save game limit or what??

      • IllusenGlade says:

        Works like a charm for me! Thank you!!

    • THANK YOU! You have made a very depressed girl who thought she had lost her save game file forever VERY RELIEVED AND HAPPY! THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND YOU SIR DESERVE A COOKIE!

  2. cheryl anne bravo says:

    Thank you very much!!! It really works for me!!! :)

    • enkeli63 says:

      I’m very glad it worked for you. Sometimes there are a lot of problems with the game and losing a save is one of the worst!! Sometimes it doesn’t work, but I am so happy for those who are able to get their saved game back and continue enjoying their game :D

  3. emmkay says:

    yeah it really works..thankx alot :)

  4. Cindy says:

    Love it , it worked for me and so glad. I have used this techn. a few times now and it has saved me from having to start all over again. Thanks So Much.

  5. This is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your materials.

  6. JeremyGU says:

    The above didn’t work, but from this info I found another fix. I tried tossing the corrupted game and renaming the “.bad” folder; it loaded, but was really far back in time (something like 20 days; high-school aged children weren’t yet born). So, I tried putting the .nhd file from the corrupted game in the “.bad” folder, and renaming it to remove the “.bad”. It worked.

    • enkeli63 says:

      Thanks for the information! I wrote this post ages ago, and so much has changed with all the EPs and such. I’m really glad this worked for you, and after I look into it, I’ll gladly add it to the post (with credit). Thanks!

  7. derick says:

    Hi, I am having a problem with my saved file. I was told it was corrupt but it doesnt have a .bad next to it. I haven’t played for about a year and a half and i lost my cd. So i got the digital download version from origin and copied my save files into there but my save files don’t show. I did the first part of what you said. I also don’t have the latest update, could that be the problem? I am currently downloading the super patch. I also uninstalled the cd version and installed the downloaded version but the sims 3 folders still state they were created when i first bought the game. I am kind of desperate here and would appreciate any type of input, or suggestions.

    Thank you

    • enkeli63 says:

      First, who told you the save is corrupt? What is happening? Are you able to load the save file in your game at all?

      • derick says:

        EA support told me it was corrupt but they have given me many incorrect information. Every time I play my game it is like I am playing it for the first time. I have the digital download version, and I have a copy of my saves file. I try to put it in the game folder but it just does not seem to work.

      • enkeli63 says:

        Can you please send me a copy of your save file in a compressed folder? Right click on the save game folder and select “Send to” and then “Compressed (zip) folder)” and I’ll see what can be done, if anything.

  8. mya says:

    it really works for me !!!!!!!!! thank you. :)

  9. Thileepan says:

    Thank You So Much I am Very Happy.It Works For Me.When I Save Game before It Shows Saving
    Page Only For 2 Hours.

  10. Kendra says:

    OMG it worked thank you so much

  11. KrisRulez says:

    Does anyone know how to do it without saving ever? cuz i had my game running, and got like… REALLY FREAKING FAR in my house, but then my computer restarted, and now it’s lost… can anyone help me?

    • enkeli63 says:

      If you never saved during the time you were playing, there is nothing you can do to recover your lost gameplay. Every time you save your game, your last saved game becomes your .backup save file, but without saving now and then, you can lose all your progress if the game crashes, the power goes out, etc. Try to remember to save at least once per sim day to prevent losing all your progress.

  12. Ashley says:

    A lot of good advice. But I don’t think this worked for me because I am not exactly sure why it happened. Nothing shows that my Sims is currupted. I was in game and was saving. Then the entire Sims window closed. That was odd becasue I know I didnt Save & Quit. When I restart it, I see that my household is homeless and all my progress is lost. Is there any reason/remedy for this.

    • enkeli63 says:

      Even though the file is not technically showing that it is “bad” you should still restore the backup version of your save as outlined in this post. If the game crashes during the save process, the file may not be corrupted but still has not saved all of the important details, so treat it as you would a “bad save.” Best of luck to you and your sims!

  13. Ariana says:

    I feel lucky to always move my saves out to a external storage medium :)
    I have played with quite a few different households with their own saves, and the current family I am playing with has reached Save “Stevensons – A0152″. I will keep your tips in mind if I run into such an issue :)
    Also, nicely written article!

  14. chris says:

    My wife, has sims 3 on two laptops, with saved files on both to the new desktop computer.
    If I move the saves folder from one laptop what will happen when i move the saves folder from the 2nd laptop, IE: will it overwrite, files? are saves named the smae, will she lose content?

    thanks
    chris

    • enkeli63 says:

      Yes, if the save files have the same name, the second one will overwrite the first. What you should do is load the saves from one laptop onto the new computer and then load each save and use the “Save As…” feature to give each one a new and unique file name. Then you can add the files from the second laptop as well. Good luck and enjoy the new computer :)

  15. Elsa.A says:

    OH MY GOSH!! I thought I had lost everything, and would have to start over, but the uninstalling and re-installing actually worked!!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS!!!!

  16. Nina.F says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    I thought I was totally screwed.

  17. Sam says:

    I recently installed the new patch that was available, and when it was done I had no games saved. I did not even have any of the downloaded items or anything I bought from the sims store. I tried to do the save file thing, but my file is empty. There is no saved games existing on my laptop. It’s as if I just installed it! I had a super complex family going and I really do not want to start again. HELP!

    • enkeli63 says:

      OMG! I have heard of this happening and I don’t believe there is any fix for it! This is the whole reason why I always–ALWAYS–back up saves and store content, etc before installing any patch. I am so sorry I cannot help you to restore your lost family! This is the worst thing to happen to a Sims player and all you can really do is curse EA and be really, really mad for a while :'( I’m so sorry I cannot be of more assistance, just PLEASE back-up everything that’s important to you whenever you install any patch for any EA Game. At least your Store content is safe in your Purchase History, but your other content is lost, unfortunately :(

  18. Draph91 says:

    could you explain more about the 100 folder limit?

    • enkeli63 says:

      I’m not sure what more you need to know: after you’ve reached the limit, you can still save your game, but you’ll need to delete some older ones (or move them to another location on your computer) or you wont be able to load the newest saves from the main menu.

  19. Charlie says:

    Hi, I was playing my saved game quite frequently but I just went on the sims 3 menu and it said that the game cant load because I may have a expansion pack that was used in the game and is no longer on there. I’ve not uninstalled any games so I have no idea how to fix it. I went to my saved games on my documents and it didn’t say the backup file was “bad”. Where do I go from here? I really don’t want to start over the game so is there any way I can get it back?

    • enkeli63 says:

      Have you recently updated your game or anything? This message really should only come up if you uninstall an EP, so it could be that something went wrong during a recent game update. If you haven’t uninstalled anything, I would recommend that you contact EA customer support to get assistance. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of any help, but try the tech support and just be very patient with them, and explain the issue in as much detail as you can. They are usually pretty good at getting your issue resolved quickly. Good luck!

      • Alvin :) says:

        Hi,
        I know this isn’t really relating to the post, but I got something to ask about the ‘into the future’ expansion. Once I sent my sims into the future, the whole oasis landing loaded, but without the portraits on the left. There aren’t any sims or money. Is this because my save is corrupt?

  20. Jessica says:

    Hi, I tried following all your steps but no luck.. In my sims 3 folder I can see my backup of the games but they are only blank pages? Not sure what to do and I have several folders with 3 different sims 3’s if that makes sense! I accidentally dragged my Sims3 folder which lead it to erasing everything? Thanks

  21. xxxSims3xxx says:

    HELP! When I pressed save the game has closed and then the icon for my saved game has turned into a house (the icon should be with the family) and I can’t enter it…

  22. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much for you help! I was in tears because I thought I lost my whole game, I put a lot of work into my sims. Thank you for your help! God bless you!

  23. Alesha says:

    Had just started with a new family and travelled to the future and was currently living in the community living space. Before I left to go to the future I saved my game after a few hours (about 4 sim days) my family had had a baby and had just gotten jobs when my laptop crashed and closed the game windows blurb saying “The Sims 3 has crashed, close now” or something along those lines and forced closed the game without me saving again. I am reeeeaaaallllyy annoyed is there anything I can do to bring this game back to where I had it? I followed these instructions but I only have folders with my old saved games etc but the game I was playing only has one folder with NO backup folder called, Starlight Shores.sims3
    Pleeeaaasssee someone help me!!

    • enkeli63 says:

      I’m sorry, but if you do not save your game, you cannot restore lost progress. When you save your game for the first time, there is only one save created. When you save again, the previous save becomes your backup save, and the new one is the one that would normally load as long as it doesn’t get corrupted. In your case, you only saved the game once, and it was before you sent your sims to the future. Nothing that happened after you saved your game can be restored because you never took the time to save any data. You should always save your game frequently–at least once per sim day. And before you travel, you should make a new save with the “Save as…” feature, in case anything gets corrupted when you transfer your sim between worlds. The Sims 3 is a buggy mess and you absolutely must take special care and be extra cautious with such broken software! Let’s just hope they cleaned up their act and their code for the Sims 4!!!

      • Contina says:

        I have a question for you. Im hoping you can help because ive tried almost everything. Somehow Ive saved my Sims4 game (folder) into a compressed folder now when I load the game in pops up an icon that says cant load (error) I tried unzipping the file but all the locations it offers for me to unzip it all say it cant be done. I uninstalled the game but when I put the disc in it pops up on my screen like its a phone or something only options are to view pictures or something. How do I get my sims launcher out of the compressed folder or how do I get it to let me install it again? PLEASE HELP!!!!

      • Hi there! Please understand, Sims 4 is just released and I haven’t learned a lot about the technical issues/solutions involved.

        What I would suggest is that you need to run Origin and check if it shows Sims 4 as still being installed on your computer. Make certain that Sims 4 is totally uninstalled and not showing in your Origin software anymore. Then reboot your computer (Windows is stupid sometimes). Then try to re-install the Sims 4 from disk. If that doesn’t work, please contact EA customer support.

  24. Kristin says:

    OMG thank you so much! Got pretty scared, my favourite family had disappered so i googled for help and got here, thank you so much, now my family is back! :D

  25. Mia says:

    Thank you it worked:) I have my family back now

  26. Nandita says:

    I am regularly playing my save file for about 2 months.but one ay suddenly I don’t know what happened…..one of my sims had just earned a degree and I wanted the other sim to complete another degree . When they were moving I remembered that I had to save so I clicked on save button and the game notified that I cannot save game while my family is moving to university.so I let the game go on…. when I reached there I saw that my game was showing a new game menu (showing move in household, choose household and create sims etc.)I was totally in shock…I thought it might be a minor problem so I saved that game and closed the game. Then when I opened it again ,,it was showing a empty new file…that is no picture or anything…everything was new..I was really shocked…I checked if the save file was corrupt but no it was fine…what should I do??I am nearly in tears :(

    please tell me……

    • enkeli63 says:

      Even though your save file is not corrupted, please follow the steps in this article for restoring from the backup because you saved your game when a bug had occurred. The previous save is your backup right now, and you may lose a little progress, but you will get your family back! The University and World Adventures EPs both are vulnerable to this bug because of the way data is transferred from one neighborhood to the vacation or university town. In the future, try to remember to make a new save using the Save As function before you send your sims to University or on an adventure, and just go back to your previous saved game if something goes wrong. You should know that it’s not your fault for clicking the save button while your family was moving–I’m pretty sure that was just a coincidence. The same thing happened to me without clicking the save button during the move. Let’s just hope Sims 4 wont have these issues eh? I hope so!

  27. josi says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK!!!!!! I’m so happy! I thought my sims family was lost but thanks to you I could save it :D

  28. rosesgallifrey says:

    I’m not having problems with my game right now, but I wanted to make a backup so I went to the “Saves” folder and my current game isn’t there. All of the saves listed are from before I had to re-install and essentially start from scratch so I’m worried as to why none of my recent games (or any listed on the main menu) are present in the folder. I’m on a mac if that makes a difference. Do you know why they wouldn’t be there or how I could make a backup for a rainy day?

  29. Paola says:

    I’ve tried everything and it still shows all blank and that theres some modification… But I already removed all of my mods and downloads as well… Please help!

  30. Syafira says:

    Oh my.. oh my.. oh my goodness. Thank you so much! Thank you3x. Hi, I’m from Malaysia. It really works for me. This is absolutely amazing! I’m so happy.

  31. SimiSaturYeah says:

    i know this late but if someone happens to stumble upon this , plz answer! >.< ok so i moved around my Electronic folder trying to make a mod work (this mod was probaly outdated) so i did the and i moved it into program files , afterwards i tried to change it back but therre was all ready another copy in the place it used to be , so i deleted the one i was moving back , then i ran the game and all my progress was gone all my families , all my cc , the only thing left was my mods folder T.T i looked in saves an it was blank! plz help!

    • enkeli63 says:

      Check your computer’s trash bin to see if the folder you deleted still remains there. If so, take it out and put it in another safe spot, remove the mod, and delete the replacement EA folder. Put your mod-free EA folder back where it belongs. Best of luck :D

  32. Lunchi says:

    Hello!
    I have recently rebooted my PC from scratch so I had to reinstall everything, including my Sims 3 Game and 2 expansion packs: World Adventures and Ambitions. I copy-pasted my old game save file into the Saves folder, but it isn’t showing up in the Game menu. There are no .bad files in it, and before I reinstalled the game, I could play it normally, so I don’t think it is corrupted.
    Am I not specific enough haha? Please help if you can, thank you

    • enkeli63 says:

      Sorry I wasn’t able to reply sooner. I hope you got this working, but if not, something to try would be create a new game and save it with your fresh installation before you add in your old save games. Manually creating the Saved Games folder can cause the game to not recognize it, so you may need to just create and save a new game so that the main menu recognizes all the files in the directory properly. I’m not sure if that is the issue you experienced, but it did sound like it to me. I hope you’ve fixed it long ago though ;) Sorry again about that!

  33. Liyana says:

    i have the same problem. Sunset Valley is corrupted. but, i’m on mac. so i don’t know what to do. please help! i don’t want to start again :( plus, the Saved folder seems empty….

    • enkeli63 says:

      I am really sorry, but I do not know where the files are saved and so forth on a Mac. I think it would be relatively similar, but I’ve never even owned a Mac. All I do know regarding Sims and Macs is they were not made for eachother, and EA isn’t good at supporting their Mac products or providing assistance to their Mac users. I hear nothing but complaints about how EA handles the Mac technical issues *rolls eyes* I will see if I can find anything useful in a search engine to help you with this though. In the meanwhile, you may check the EA Help Center to see if there’s been any previous articles about corrupt save games on the Mac. There maybe isn’t anything because EA hasn’t been helpful there, but it’s worth a shot! I’ll get back to you if I’m able to find anything useful on Google.

    • springacres says:

      Hello to a fellow Mac-using Sims player!

      Are you sure you’re looking in the right place? On a Mac, the default location for Sims saves is in the user’s Documents/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3 folder. (On more recent OS, if you open any folder in Finder, the Documents one should appear in the left-hand sidebar by default, under Favorites.) Beyond that, it’s the same procedure to restore files on Macs as it is on Windows.

      Good luck getting your sims back – I know how much it sucked when I lost 3+ hours of work due to a power failure, and I’ve started over more times than I can count because of crashes, towns failing to save properly, etc.

      • enkeli63 says:

        THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!! I don’t mean to shout, springacres, but I am so very thankful that you posted this comment :D I wanted to be able to help and I couldn’t. I appreciate your assistance so much! I wish you the most awesome and happy day!!

      • springacres says:

        @enkeli63 – you’re welcome!

      • springacres says:

        …And I just realized I goofed slightly. My comment SHOULD read, in part… “On a Mac, the default location for Sims saves is in the user’s Documents/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3/Saves folder.” Forgot to specify the proper subfolder.

  34. fiachrab says:

    if you have sims ps3,like me and you want to move households would be accpetbilbe to creat 2 then make another file as you chose second file,would the first and second be th same ?
    i jsut saved twice so i have two households

    • enkeli63 says:

      I am not sure how it works on the PS3, to be honest, but Sims 3 wasn’t totally designed to play multiple families in one town. You can add another family by clicking on the Edit Town button, then add another family to another house. You can switch active households by clicking on the Change Active Household button and then select the new family. The previous family you were playing will continue to live their lives (and may make massive life altering decisions without you, or just sell off their inventories and collect dozens or hundreds of free cars…). You can switch between families whenever you want, but it generally doesn’t work well. If you have them in 2 save files like you did, then your sims will mostly follow your directions and not ruin their lives while you’re not looking, but what happens in one save file will never carry over to your other file, so if the families become friends in one file they may not even know each other in the other one.

      Thankfully, Sims 4 has been designed different and will be more like Sims 2 in that way (yay!!) We can finally play multiple families again and have control over their aging, etc! So excited about that!! Forgive me for rambling about Sims 4, I am pretty excited about it now that it is so close to being released :)

  35. fiachrab says:

    will it be the same as the first file?

  36. Sophia says:

    Pleaaaase help mee!

    I’ll tell u from the beginning since I can’t find a single solution to this.
    I was playing my town when something came up. I pressed the pause button to stop the progress, didn’t save or quit, and minimized the sims 3 window. I then went for that work.
    After I came back, my younger brother had forcefully quitted the sims 3 window since he had to do something of his own (and when the window of game is minimized, the computer hangs a lot so I don’t blame him for being angry at the minimized game), meaning he didn’t save the game or anything.
    Now when I re open the sims 3, my town is deleted.
    I went to the “Saves” files of the game and I only find a backup file of a town I used to play back in June. It also shows the “date modified: 6/9/2014″ meaning a game saved on June 9th. This was a deleted town but it is still there. And my other town that I had played from 9th June onwards is not there, no copy whatsoever, even of backup file or anything.
    I deduced that my town, that I had named as my own name, is completely lost.

    Where did it goooo? :/
    Please help me find my previuos town somehow. I had progressed so much in that!

    • enkeli63 says:

      This is one I haven’t heard before, and it sounds a lot like your computer did a system restore. To my knowledge, this doesn’t happen on its own, but I don’t know what type of software may or may not have been installed and if the computer was in good condition, operating properly, etc. However, with the loss of data, and particularly the restoration of a save file from June and loss of everything since that point… I would guess that your computer’s last restore point was created in June and your computer needed to restore for some reason. It could’ve had missing or corrupted drivers or other errors happening. I do not know if that was automatically done or a manual operation that your brother performed by accident, but that’s my best guess. It is worth checking your system restore settings and checking to see if there’s a more recent restore point available ;) Maybe you could be so lucky as to have your sims restored with a simple (though nail-biting) click of a button!

  37. Amy says:

    Hi i need some help with this. I did what you said in the beginning “Documents > Electronic Arts > The Sims 3 > Saves” and am here now. I have two folders, the first named “Large Family.sims3″ and the second “Large Family.sims3.backup” I dont know what to do.

    • enkeli63 says:

      No problem, you’re almost there! The folder named “Large Family.sims3″ can be removed/deleted. Next, Right Click on your “Large Family.sims3.backup” folder and select the option Rename. Delete the “.backup” from the end of the name so that it is just “Large Family.sims3″ Now, when you load your game again, it will load your backup. You may lose a little progress, but you should be all set to play again. Make a new save as soon as you do this, as saving your game will create a new “Large Family.sims3.backup” folder for you. Every time you save your game, your last save becomes your .backup and this is why we can lose a bit of progress when we restore from the backup, because we are going to the save before the last one (which was corrupted). You may need to play some event differently in order to avoid further corruption. I have also discovered through a lot of personal experience that the premade sims that are already living in a town when we first start a new one, those sims are almost always the cause of the corruption that breaks save games. For instance, I found that altering the appearance of these townies can cause save error code 12!! Likewise, making a lot of changes to pre-made houses can also cause error code 12 or 13. Let’s hope that Sims 4 will be much better!!

  38. Jenna says:

    My sims 3 game isnt working right. I tired saving my game and it came up with the error 12 code thing. I checked my save files and both files for my family say bad. Now when i try and start the game my family doesn’t even show up. What can I do. I really liked my family and house I had.

    • enkeli63 says:

      Unfortunately, once a file has become corrupt, it is not likely that you can salvage any part of it, though you can try! What you should do is attempt to load up the latest save. Take your sims and put all inventory items into family inventory instead of their backpacks, and make sure there is no item inside of another (such as WA treasure chests or Supernatural storage shelves). Then go into Edit Town Mode and make TWO copies of your family in your library, first with their house and then evict them from the house and make a copy of the family without house and the house without family as well. Then close your game and delete the old save files that are .bad Next load your game and start a new game in the same neighborhood, or a new one, and add your family to the town from your Library. Try with the house and sims version first, in case it’ll work. Add the sims and load up their house, let it run for a couple seconds, and if everything looks right, save your game TWICE, first under some name like “rescue” or something so you know this save is from when you first got the sims loaded up and they didn’t crash. Make a second save with another name by selecting the Save As option, and you can just continue saving when needed (make more whenever something big happens like a birthday, wedding, etc or anything that will change family data in a major way). If the first rescue attempt didn’t work and your library copy of family and house was still corrupt, you can try to add the empty house and then add the family separately–sometimes the sims must be torn away from the objects on the lot to get it to work again. Other times, the house or the family might be bugged completely, and we would certainly hope that the family would be salvageable! Sometimes that is not the case, but I hope these steps can help you. Good luck!

  39. springacres says:

    First of all, great article!

    In terms of the need to make backups, I personally don’t recommend making a copy of the entire Sims 3 folder. I’ve found (and this may not always hold true, it’s just what seems to work for me) that all I really need to do is compress the following folders into zip files: ContentPatch, DCBackup, DCCache, Exports, InstalledWorlds, Mods, SavedOutfits, SavedSims, and Saves. (If you have a lot of custom lots, it’s probably a good idea to back up Library as well, but I personally am of the “if Lot X isn’t a default/store lot and is not in one of my saves then I probably wasn’t using it” mindset.) I then move the compressed files to my backups location.

    Additionally, my system backup program reminds me if I haven’t backed up at least once every ten days, so even if something DID go catastrophically wrong, I wouldn’t lose -too- much. (And believe me, this can be a lifesaver when you have as many downloaded objects as I do and your backup ZIP file decides suddenly you’re not allowed to open it when you need it…)

  40. Jayla says:

    Thank you so much!! It worked!!

  41. Eden says:

    Hi! I know this hasn’t been posted in for a while but it is worth a shot. I bought the digital download of sims 3 and worked really hard on this family. Now, when I try to load my saved game it gets so far then crashes :( My other game loads and I can start new games. I have tried restoring backup, there is no .bad after my saves and I have cleared the cache several times. I’m very confused! Any help would be immensely appreciated :)

    • When you restored from the backup, were you able to load the game? If not, and if you did not make any additional saves with that game (by using the “Save As” function) then there will be no way to extract the family so you could at least continue with them in a fresh game.

      Can you think of anything that changed between when the game played fine and when it began crashing? Did you install or uninstall any content?

  42. You saved my life, Thank you! Long life!

  43. LilSim says:

    Hello there. I just bought The Sims 3 and everything worked fine until today.I’ve been reading all comments but not sure they actually helped,since everyone have slightly different issues.My problem is that i can’t load my saved game from last night and the day before.The thing is,i still see my characters inside the game (2 of the chars i made) and i do see my saved games in the Sims3 saves folder,main and and the backup file,but no corrupted file or anything.I can’t load my town inside the game and it says something like …’the game can’t load your town,it doesn’t recognize it in your system’..i am sorry if it’s not fully correct as i wrote,but something like that.And as i said,i still see my characters in the town menu but my town doesn’t exist in the Main Menu.I tried with ‘editing’ the backup folder and deleting the other one,etc and still can’t load inside the game.Please tell me if i have to reinstall the game and if i should save the entire Sims3 folder or only Saves folder..if that’s going to work after reinstalling the game :( Thanks!

    • What operating system are you using?

      You should definitely save your entire Sims 3 folder (your saves, created sims, everything) but move it to another location on your computer. Then uninstall and reinstall your game. Go into the game and make a fresh new game to make sure it saves normally. Save and then quit the game (as two separate steps). Then restart the game and check if it can load your saved game. Once you confirm that your new installation is capable of creating a new game, saving it, and loading it again properly, you can move on to attempting to restore your saved game. Please do all of this first. Then slowly begin copying files from your original Sims 3 folder (your saved sims and saved games) into the new Sims 3 folder the game created for you when you reinstalled it.

      Best of luck and happy simming!

  44. LilSim says:

    Okay, thanks.I will try doing it right now and ill get back to you :) And i am using Windows 7 btw

  45. LilSim says:

    I see :) Why you switched to 8,if you don’t mind me asking?:D I am installing game btw,will be done in about 15 mins or less

    • I switched only because my husband was building me a new computer for Sims 4 and it isn’t possible for us to purchase Windoows 7 in English here, now that everything has gone over to Windows 8.

  46. LilSim says:

    Ahh right,i understand. Fair enough :) Anyways…here i am,installed fresh game,made a character ,moved to a house,all fine as usual and i see my new Saves folder,incl back up one as well.I’ve tested 2 times and its okay for now.So..should i copy my old Sims 3 folder (entire folder),replace the new one with old Sims 3?

    • The first thing to try is to copy your save folders for the game you want to try and load. Copy and paste them into the new Saves folder that was made during your test. Try to get the game to load it up. If it will load your game, pause the game and make a new save using the “Save As” feature. If it successfully Saves As, then click the regular save and wait again for it to save. Next, go to Edit Town mode and click on your sims’ house. Save a copy of that to your library. Then quit the game, restart, and load from the new save you made with “Save As.” Test the game to see if everything goes well. Best of luck!!

  47. LilSim says:

    I’ve done it,and it won’t load my old saves :( This is the text i am getting in game : ‘Cannot load this save game.It may have been saved with the expansion pack data that is no longer present on this system’. I think my computer is an issue.I had some trouble turning it on this morning and i got an option to fix and restore files.However,i didn’t know that can cause a problem with my save files in my game folder,since everything else on my computer is absolutely fine and working.If the issue above is possible to happen :(

  48. LilSim says:

    I’ve been playing for a while now and had to make new characters and stuff,so…never mind about lost saves :) Thank you so much for your time and for your help anyway :).I obviously had a problem with my system and my pc,because with your suggestion should’ve worked 100 %! Happy simming to you as well!

    • I’m glad you’re able to have fun with your new sims! Now that you have your game running again, the old save might simply be missing some of the content from your old Sims 3 folder that you backed up before the reinstall. You can add back the content from your “Downloads” folder if you had any special content from the Sims 3 Store installed on your game.

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