Sims 3 Lost or Corrupted Saved Games

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.

52 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?


    • 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:

        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!!!

  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… 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 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

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