The Sims™ 3

The Sims™ 3

55 ratings
How to Overcome Error Code 12
By AncientGatekeeper
If you play The Sims 3, like I do, you might have come across Error Code 12 when saving your game. Just so you know, this has nothing to do with the state of your actual save game file, it actually has something to do with the world file your save game is based on! Actually, it has nothing to do with that either, more so, it has something to do with the copy of the world file that is stored within your save game file (which is actually a folder, but the game sees it as a file), which might have been corrupted or deleted or something which makes it unreadable by the game (renaming, deletion, corruption, etc.).

By now you may be thinking "Oh great so my save game is permanently damaged", guess what, YOU'RE WRONG! The Sims 3 is so smart that when it loads the save game, it loads EVERY SINGLE FILE inside of the save game folder, so not all hope is lost, however, we have to manually trigger the restore mechanism, and I'll show you how to do that now.
Steps 1 - 6
1. Switch out of the game (DO NOT CLOSE IT, just switch windows using Alt + Tab on a PC, or Command + ~ on a Mac)

2. Open a Windows Explorer or Finder window (essentially just go to your Documents folder).

3. Browse to where save games are, well, saved (If you don't know where these are look at the bottom of this post).

4. Delete any folder that has a name ending in .bad AND has your save game's name at the beginning of it (e.g. Michael's Game.sims3.bad). These are the failed saves.

5. Cut the folders that have your game's name at the beginning and end with .sims3 or .backup (e.g. Sariah's Game.sims3 or Sariah's Game.sims3.backup) and paste them into a backup folder (maybe create a folder to paste them in called "Sims 3 save backups" on your desktop) (these are the active save games that the game loads and their backups)
* If no backup exists, I found that just deleting the .bad file, returning to the game and saving will fix the problem.

6. Try saving again (don't worry about lost files, the game will automatically generate new ones, which may cause the save process to take longer than usual as more data is being copied from RAM into permanent storage)

So that should get you back on your feet! I hope this helped!

Peace everyone!


Windows Vista and 7:

C:\Users\USERNAME\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Saves
Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Saves


Macintosh HD\Users\USERNAME\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Saves

How to fix "Error Code 12" in the Sims 3 (PC & Mac)
by: katiecatsims

U DON'T NEED TO KNOW MY NAME Jul 28, 2022 @ 7:14pm 
It also did not worked for me as well , the game still gave error code 12
AncientGatekeeper  [author] Nov 4, 2021 @ 11:33am 
OOOF. Sorry to hear you lost 1hr30m.
TurbowFett Nov 4, 2021 @ 5:51am 
Hmm this didn't work for me.

I had to reload a previous save. Luckily I have Nraas saver. had to go back 2 saves which was 1 hour and 30 minutes lost but that's okay because I'm something like 120-200 hours into this town.

The only thing I can think of that caused it was adding a stair case to a 2nd level basement that, for whatever reason, the game removed. I'm on a custom world so, I'm 99% sure that's what caused it.
KendraDaBlob Jun 14, 2021 @ 3:23pm 
Thank you so much, when this glitch happened I almost died. I'm playing a legacy and even though I'm on gen 1, like, this family has gone the second farthest any family I have ever had. So in conclusion you saved me from dying internally. :)
AncientGatekeeper  [author] Mar 4, 2021 @ 5:13pm 
Glad my guide is still working after all these years!
L. Mar 4, 2021 @ 4:06pm 
you are a lifesaver, favorited and awarded. thanks! :))
banditka Sep 18, 2020 @ 11:41pm 
This post has been SO helpful!! I play Sims 3 on PC (not on Steam) and it work perfectly! Using it again for the second time, thank you so much!!
yeresin Jul 25, 2020 @ 10:10am 
:D the thread is dead :D
Cakepuff Jun 23, 2020 @ 2:26pm 
Haven't had this happen to me yet, but this is extremely helpful, and I will definetly refer back to this as soon as needed. Thanks!
AncientGatekeeper  [author] Mar 10, 2018 @ 3:54pm 
Hi there thanks for commenting! I have another guide up that covers error code 16. I'll link you: