Help us improve Answers HQ! Take Survey No, Thanks

Re: Save files corrupted Sims 3

by puzzlezaddict

Original Post

Save files corrupted Sims 3

★★★★ Novice

I have a very nasty problem with my Sims 3 game. When I tried to save my game I got error 12, which means the file i'm trying to save on is corrupted. I've had this problem before and could always fix it by just using the backup folder and get back to where I last saved my game. The problem is... there is no backup folder! I have no idea how this is possible. All the saves that were left ended with .bad which means they are corrupted and can't be used anymore. Does this mean I lost my whole game? Or is there another way to recover my neighborhood? Any help is much appreciated!

Message 1 of 13 (345 Views)

Re: Save files corrupted Sims 3

@dmacay95  I've moved your post to the Sims 3 board, since it's game-specific.


The backup save is the data from the second to last time you saved, so if you only saved successfully once after loading the backup, you wouldn't have a new backup.  And if you only played one session, it's possible that all the save attempts were corrupted in some way.


There are techniques to try to recover a save that's gone bad, although none of them are guaranteed to work.  I can walk you through them, if you want.  But it would help to know exactly what is in your Saves folder (please list it out, and tell me which save you're trying to recover).  Please also check inside CurrentGame and let me know if there's anything there.


I don't work for EA. I'm just trying to help fellow players with their games.
Message 2 of 13 (333 Views)

Re: Save files corrupted Sims 3

★★★★ Novice

Thank you so much for your reply and thank you for explaining. That's what must have happened! 

Below is how my saves folder looked after leaving the game without saving (because I couldn't, error 12).



corrupted saves.png


As you can see, I tried to save using different names since this used to work for me when I got error 16. Not with error 12 apparently Frown All the folders end with .bad. I was shocked to see no backup file! The last folder I succesfully saved to must be Sunset Valley. 


The current game folder is empty and also was when I checked it after closing the game.

Message 3 of 13 (310 Views)

Re: Save files corrupted Sims 3

@dmacay95  Okay, it's best to start with a clean game folder.  Move your existing TS3 folder out of Documents and onto your desktop.  Launch the game, go to the Main Menu, set your options the way you want, and quit.  Don't move any of your content over yet (you can do that later).  You may get "objects missing" messages, but that's fine, you don't need to save your progress; this is just for testing.


Next, launch the game again, and start a new save in the world of your corrupted saves, which I'm guessing is Sunset Valley.  You don't have to spend much time there, just pick a random family, play for a few minutes, save, quit (without saving, as a separate step), and then go into Saves inside the new game folder.  You'll see a folder labeled with your new save name, with a few different files inside.  Delete everything in that folder except for SunsetValley.nhd.


Now go into your old game folder, the one you moved to the desktop.  Inside whichever save you want to try to rescue, copy all the files except for the .nhd, and paste them into the folder for the new save you created, where you just deleted most of the files.  So what you've done is generate a clean .nhd file and combined that with the other files from your corrupt save.


If you have multiple .nhd files, as you would if your sims had gone on vacation, leave them for now.  It probably wouldn't matter if they were in there, since only one .nhd file is loaded at a time, but since this is for testing anyway, there's no reason to add them in yet.  The exception would be if your sims are currently on vacation, in which case definitely move the file for that world as well.


Before you launch the game and try to load the save, delete the five cache files in your game folder in Documents.  They should be deleted regularly anyway, even in the absence of game issues.  While you're troubleshooting, delete them every time you quit the game.  For reference, they are:

  • CASPartCache.package
  • compositorCache.package
  • scriptCache.package
  • simCompositorCache.package
  • socialCache.package

If your save loads, great, you can quit without saving and transfer your store stuff, custom content, mods, etc. into the new game folder.  Do it in batches, testing each time to make sure the save still works.  Here's a list of all the files in your game folder, with explanations of what you might want to keep:


If your save doesn't load, you can repeat the process with your other bad saves.  It's best to start with a clean game folder and a new .nhd file each time, just to be absolutely sure there's no cross-contamination.


I don't work for EA. I'm just trying to help fellow players with their games.
Message 4 of 13 (300 Views)

Re: Save files corrupted Sims 3

★★★★ Novice

Thank you very much for sharing this method. I tried this with two of my corrupted save folders. Both of the new saves load up, and I get back to the family I quickly created for testing. However, when I go to edit the neighborhood I see none of my families or lots, only the default ones. Do I have to move other files back into the Sims 3 folder to get my content back? Or have I just lost all my sims and lots now? 

Message 5 of 13 (281 Views)

Re: Save files corrupted Sims 3

@dmacay95  Okay, so it probably is the .nhd file that's corrupted.  (Sometimes it's a different one, and the only way to find out is to test.)  You can try the reverse though—clean game folder, start a save in the same world, delete the new .nhd file, drop your old one in—to see if it helps.  If it does, save the game and make a backup.  It may be that your save will fail to load again soon, and in that case your options are to either pack up your families and drop them in a new save, or use mods to try to fix the world.  Both are more likely to work in this backup save than in the one you keep playing forward.


Besides, keeping backup saves is a good idea in general;—you never know when something will break.  I use "save as" to rename my saves at least once a sim-day; this creates a new save file rather than overwriting the old one.  I keep the last 4-6 copies and delete the older ones when I'm sure I don't need them.


I don't work for EA. I'm just trying to help fellow players with their games.
Message 6 of 13 (273 Views)

Re: Save files corrupted Sims 3

★★★★ Novice

I repeated the process and, as you said, moved in the .nhd file from the corrupted saves. I've tried it with two of them and sadly they both didn't load up. I'm trying to understand. I mean was it even possible to have all my stuff back with a newly created .nhd file? 

Message 7 of 13 (218 Views)

Re: Save files corrupted Sims 3

@dmacay95  The original technique was for recovering the sims that were active the last time you saved the game.  I didn't realize there were other sims in the town that you also wanted back.  The data for each save is spread out among several different files, and any one of them could potentially be the issue.  So, if you want to experiment, you could use the same approach as before to replace one of those files at a time, testing to see if you get a usable game that includes all the sims you care about.  Unfortunately though, it's possible that the data you want is already too corrupted to recover.


I'm sorry that there isn't a more useful way to approach this.  The unfortunate fact is that saves get corrupted, and sometimes they're too far gone to repair.  In the future, aside from keeping backup saves, you might want to look into adding mods to clean up your game.  There are a few that don't change gameplay at all, they just remove bad data and reset stuck situations when necessary.  It's the only way many of us have been able to maintain games over a number of generations without having to periodically transfer our sims to a clean save.


I don't work for EA. I'm just trying to help fellow players with their games.
Message 8 of 13 (209 Views)

Re: Save files corrupted Sims 3

★★★★ Novice

Okay thanks so much for explaining! I was a little confused because in the documents folder of the Sims 2 you actually have your sims and lots saved in multiple maps but now I understand that the Sims 3 works different. I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that all the content is in those save files, it's weird :P 


I will also try to test the other files then. So does that mean that if you create a new and clean .nhd file, you still can have your content back or is that unclear? 


That might be very useful, thank you. Do you know any of these mods?




Message 9 of 13 (191 Views)

Re: Save files corrupted Sims 3

@dmacay95  I haven't experimented enough with swapping around the files within the save folder to be sure exactly what information is stored in each.  (Some of it is obvious, but not all.)  But the .nhd file is the big one, other than TravelDB if your sims travel a lot.  So I would imagine that most of the data you want to preserve is in there, unfortunately.  If you can't find some working combination of files that includes the .nhd, you might not be able to recover the save.


Just in case you didn't know, the sims you create in-game are also saved to Library when you exit CAS, as are any lots you save after building them.  Anything that has an entry in the in-game bin you see in Edit Town also has a Library entry.  The sims there won't have progressed though—they'll be the same clean slates they were when they came out of CAS.


The save-preserving mods are all from NRaas.

  • ErrorTrap and Overwatch work together to clean up errors, corrupt data, and stuck sims.  ErrorTrap is the only core mod on this list; be sure to get the version that corresponds to your type of install (Origin/Steam/disc).
  • MasterController loads a very long list of commands for you to run.  The most useful for the health of your saves are the ones to reset sims, objects, lots, or the whole town at once.
  • Traveler replaces the broken travel transition with its own and makes errors much less likely.
  • Register controls the Service (maids, repairpeople, burglars, etc.) and Role (assigned to role-giving objects, like cash registers) sims.  You may or may not need it, but it's very helpful if you notice issues with either type of sim.
  • Traffic prevents the unnecessary excess spawning of vehicles.  If Overwatch is reporting on hundreds or thousands of vehicles cleaned up every night, or your town is overwhelmed by ice cream trucks, Traffic will shut that all down.

All of these mods work just fine on default settings, so you can drop them in your game folder and not pay too much attention.  ErrorTrap in particular creates a lot of reports, both in-game notifications and scripterrors in your game folder, but those are mostly just it doing its job; there's no reason to worry unless you're having issues with your save.  In that case, you can take the scripterrors to NRaas and ask that someone read them for you.  The people there are very friendly and helpful, and someone will let you know what's going on, and what needs to be fixed.


I don't work for EA. I'm just trying to help fellow players with their games.
Message 10 of 13 (184 Views)

Want more Sims?

Check out our Sims forums for tutorials and all things Sims.

View more


Having trouble connecting to your game?

Try these steps first to clear up any problems you may have when connecting to an EA game.

Troubleshoot and test your connection


Forget your EA Account ID or password?

Reset, update, or link your account information.

View More on EA Help