Fix: Error Code 12 on Sims 3

The error code 12 which can be encountered while playing The Sims 3 is quite an annoying error which has been bugging users for a while now. The error itself prevents the users from saving their progress at all, making the game entirely unplayable. Being able to save your progress is vital in any game and The Sims 3 is no exception at all.

There are a lot of solutions suggested by people online which are confirmed as working by other players and our suggestion is to take a look at these solutions before you give up on the game. Good luck!

Solution 1: Increase the Pagefile on Your PC

The pagefile is a sort of a last resort where Windows goes to when it runs out of physical RAM memory. When your memory gets depleted, the system will use this preoccupied space on your hard drive in order to free up more RAM for the applications which are being actively used.

Note that your hard drive’s speed is much slower than RAM’s so increasing the pagefile greatly is not nearly the same as adding new physical memory but it can help and users have confirmed that adding some more physical memory on their PCs helped solve the error code 12.

  1. Right-click on the This PC icon which is usually located on your Desktop or in your Libraries and choose the Properties option.

  1. Click on the Advanced system settings “link” at the right of the window and navigate to the Advanced tab.
  2. Under the Performance section, click on Settings and navigate to the Advanced tab of this window.

  1. Under the Virtual memory section, click on Change. If the check box next to the “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” option is checked, uncheck it and choose the partition or drive where you wish to add more paging file memory.
  2. After you have selected the correct disc, click on the radio button next to custom size and choose the Initial and Maximum size. The rule of thumb to solve the problem with The Sims is to allocate two gigabytes extra than you already used. Make sure you set the initial and maximum size to the same value.

  1. Apply the changes and open the game. Try saving your progress and check to see if your issue is resolved.

Solution 2: Try Clearing the Inventory of Each Individual Sim

Sometimes the players play the game for a long time, making the game saturated in all types of items which are sometimes preventing the game from running normally, especially on PCs which are not so high-end.

This is probably a good reason to simply try and clear out the game by selling some unused items from Sims’ inventories. Sell these items and try running the game and saving your progress again. Plenty of users confirmed that this works!

Solution 3: Fixing the Game’s Confusion

Sometimes the game confuses and thinks that certain files have gone corrupt and it simply won’t save anything or perform some other actions. There are ways to trigger the restore mechanism which should change things back to normal and it includes follow the set of steps below which may be confusing but this method is one of the best ones which can lead to the error code 12 disappearing.

  1. Tab out of the game (do this without actually closing the game by switching windows using Alt + Tab on a PC, or Command + ~ on a Mac).

  1. Open a Windows Explorer or Finder window (depending on the operating system you are using).
  2. Navigate to the location where the save games are saved. The usual locations for the saved games are as follows on different operating systems:

Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10:
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

Mac OS X:
Macintosh HD >> Users >> USERNAME >> Documents >> Electronic Arts >> The Sims 3 >> Saves

  1. Delete any folder whose name ends in .bad extension and has your save game’s name at the beginning (e.g. Michael’s Game.sims3.bad). These are the failed saves you tried performing in the recent time.
  2. Cut the folders that contain your game’s name at the beginning and which end with .sims3 or .backup and paste them into a backup folder which you should create on your desktop. These file are actually the active save games which haven’t gone corrupt yet.
  3. The problem can also be solved without creating these backups but it’s the best to make sure everything goes smoothly.
  4. Try saving your progress again and don’t worry about the lost files. The game will automatically generate new ones, which may cause the saving process to take longer than normal as more data is being copied from RAM into permanent storage.

Solution 4: Reduce the Graphic Settings

The Sims 3 is a quite memory-consuming game but it has a certain cap of memory it can consume (3.7GB on Windows OS and 2GB on Mac OS X). After the game reaches this cap, it can cause various errors and problems and the way to fix this is to reduce the memory consumption of the game.

This can be done by tweaking the in-game settings and reducing them in order to receive better performance. This will also cause the game to looks less quality but it’s definitely a price you’ll have to pay. Also, it’s good to optimize your PC and shut down background apps to free up some memory. Follow the instructions in this article to optimize your PC’s performance for gaming maximally.

  1. Open the game and click on the three dots at the lower left corner. Click on the Options menu and navigate to the Graphics settings tab.

  1. Set the Screen size to a lower setting if you are experiencing low FPS or if you want to get rid of the error code 12. You should also be able to see plenty of sliders such as Texture Detail, Tree Detail, etc. You can try turning them all off or you can turn some of them off and check to see if the issue is resolved. If you are playing on a low-end PC, consider turning left most of these sliders.
  2. Users have also reported that playing the game in Windowed mode reduced the chances of receiving the error code 12 so make sure you try it out in the same screen.
  3. Apply the changes and check to see if the error code 12 still appears.

Solution 5: Make Sure Your Drivers are Up to Date

Having the latest drivers is definitely a must, no matter what problem you are encountering or what your intentions are with your PC. Outdated drivers often lead to errors which can only be solved by updating them. Unfortunately, no application or game will advise you to update them nor the error code will contain information about it. So, it’s the best if you simply update them as users suggested it fixed the error code 12 for them immediately.

Even if only one driver was causing the issue, you are better off knowing that you updated all drivers, preventing the issue from occurring with another driver.

  1. Select the Start button, type Device Manager, and select it from the list of results.

  1. Expand one of the categories to find the name of your device, then right-click (or tap and hold) it, and select Update Driver. For graphics cards, expand the Display adapters category, right click your graphics card and select Update Driver.

  1. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
  2. If Windows doesn’t find a new driver, you can try looking for one on the device manufacturer’s website and follow their instructions.

Note: If you are using Windows 10, latest drivers are often installed alongside other Windows updates so make sure you keep your computer up to date. Windows Update is run automatically on Windows 10 but you can check by following the instructions below for a new update.

  1. Use the Windows Key + I key combination in order to open Settings on your Windows PC. Alternatively, you can search for “Settings” by using the search bar located at the taskbar.

  1. Locate and open the “Update & security” section in the Settings app.
  2. Stay in the Windows Update tab and click on the Check for updates button under the Update status in order to check whether there is a new version of Windows available.

  1. If there is one, Windows should proceed with the download process automatically.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.
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