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Sims 3 Game Problems


Do one or more of the following apply to you?

Loading Issues:

  • The game crashes when loading - with or without an error message
  • The game starts loading and then disappears or crashes
  • The game loads super slow, or does not fully load, or loads to a black screen.

Game Issues:

  • The game crashes or disappears while playing (crash to desktop) - with or without an error message.
  • Gameplay is glitchy or strange - actions disappear from the queue, actions don't work, sims pop out of what they're doing, go invisible, or pretty much any weird, unexpected behavior in-game.
  • Crashing only since installing Late Night? See the link in Related Pages section below.

Other Issues:

  • Any unexpected behaviour, errors, problems or graphical effects.

Possible Solutions

This FAQ will walk you through the basic troubleshooting steps for loading or gameplay issues. While this guide doesn't cover every possible thing it could be, it will diagnose (or rule out) the most common problems.

Make sure to do every step below, in order! Don't just read it without trying it or skip ahead! If the first thing to try doesn't work, go on to the second one, and then the third, etc.

Even if you think this will not solve your problem, the results of these tests will help us to determine where the problem is. Note that when it talks about loading the game, if your problem is with the game loading, all you have to check is loading. If your problem is something in the game's behavior, you'll need to go and check that thing specifically, not just load the game.

Computer Strong Enough?

The Sims 3 can be a very demanding game, and even computers that are brand new may have difficulty running the game, if they are not made specifically for gaming.

First, you need to know what your computer has. For that, please see: Game Help:System Specs. That guide will tell you how to find all of the needed information.

You will need to know:

  • Your processor (CPU) type and speed - for example, Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0 gHz
  • Your amount of RAM - for example, 3072 MB of RAM
  • Your graphics card model - for example, nVidia GeForce 9600 GT
  • What operating system you are running - for example, Microsoft Windows XP Pro

Then, you can compare what you have to the system requirements for TS3. See: Game Help:TS3 System Requirements. If you're not very computer-savvy, you can always post your system specs and ask whether they're sufficient, in our Sims 3 Help Forums.

If you don't meet the requirements...

If your computer is not up to the minimum requirements then you may experience issues with playing the game, including any of the issues listed under the "Problem" header at the top of this page. Even if your computer technically meets the requirements, if it only barely meets the requirements then you may still have issues.

If you have determined that your computer is not up to handling the game, you can use our Computer & Software Help Forum to help you determine whether or not your computer can be upgraded, and if so, how. There's some great info on New Graphics Cards as well as Upgrading or Building/Buying a New Computer.

If you are sure your computer is up to the task, not only meeting but exceeding the requirements...

Step 1: Delete Cache Files

Cached files are temporary files that are saved by the game to make loading certain information faster. If these files have incorrect or corrupted data, it may prevent your game from loading. The game will regenerate fresh copies of these files each time it loads, so deleting them is perfectly safe, and it's normal for them to reappear.

Now try running the game. Try to load The Sims 3. Does it work? If so, you just had some corrupted cache files and it should be fine now. Continue playing and don't worry about it.

If deleting cache files didn't work...

Step 2: Remove Custom Content

Custom content that can be corrupted, conflicting, doesn't work with your game version, or otherwise have problems - so it may be the cause of your issues. To determine whether it's custom content related, you'll need to temporarily remove your custom content to test.

.package Format Content

1. Open Mods Folder: To remove your mods, open your \Mods\Packages\ folder. The exact location of this folder will depend on your game version and your operating system.
Patch 1.12 and Later:
  • Windows XP: My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\
  • Windows Vista/7 & Mac: Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\
Before Patch 1.12
  • Windows XP/Vista/7 (32-bit): C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\
  • Windows XP/Vista/7 (64-bit): C:\Program Files (x86)\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\
  • Mac: Contents\Resources\transgaming\c_drive\Program Files\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\

2. Cut: Select all of the files within the Mods\Packages folder. Right-click and choose CUT (or CTRL-X).

3. Paste: Paste (or CTRL-V) those files somewhere you can find them. Suggested is making a new folder on your computer's Desktop to hold them temporarily.

.Sims3Pack Format Content

Content installed in Sims3pack format using the Launcher can be found in:

  • Windows XP: My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\DCCache\
  • Windows Vista/7 & Mac: Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\DCCache\

Any files inside ending in .dbc ("DBC File" in the "Type" column) contain content that you have installed in .sims3pack format. There may be one or more. You can cut and paste these files temporarily to your computer's Desktop to remove the content from your game. Content in the Downloads folder in .sims3pack format is not read by the game itself, only the Launcher.

Additional Note (Windows 7/Vista)

Go to this path and ensure that it is empty as well. If you have an Expansion Pack or Stuff Pack, you may want to verify the content for those respective folders in the Virtual Store are removed as well. You can just delete these files rather than copy-pasting, as they will just be duplicates of your other content.

  • C:\Users\<Username>\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages

Delete Cache Files

Delete your cache files after removing any content in .package or .sims3pack format (yes, do this again again - they will have regenerated after you ran the game to test).

Now try running the game. Try to load The Sims 3. Is the problem still there? If not, one or more of your mods was causing a problem - maybe there was a conflict between two core mods, or something got corrupted or just otherwise didn't want to work. To narrow down what the problem might have been, you can put back half of your mods at a time, delete your cache files again, and test, then test the other half, etc., and continue dividing in half till you find what the problem mod(s) are. If you do identify a mod or mods that are an issue, check back with their creator(s) to see if there's an updated version.

If testing without mods didn't find the problem...

Step 3: Rename User Files

It's also possible that something in your user files - saves or otherwise - is causing a problem.

1. Open Folder: Open your Electronic Arts folder in Documents. The location is:
  • Windows XP: My Documents\Electronic Arts\
  • Windows Vista/7 & Mac: Documents\Electronic Arts\
2. Rename: There will be a folder here called The Sims 3 - rename that folder to The Sims 3 Backup.

Now try running the game. It may take a little longer to load than normal this time, since it is making fresh new copies of all of the standard user files (as if you had just installed). It may also run fullscreened if you had normally had it windowed, and the graphic options will be turned down - that's normal, and nothing to worry about.

If you're no longer getting the problem with fresh user files, then it was something in the user files causing the problem. You can then go in and copy-paste individual folders from your The Sims 3 Backup to the new The Sims 3 folder to see which is the problem. Recommended is trying your Saves folder first.

Still Not Working!

Still having problems after trying all of the above, or unclear on any of the above steps? Work through the Crashing Checklist, before you post in the forums.

Please post a new thread in our Sims 3 Help Forums where we may help you try to troubleshoot your problem further.

Related Pages

Sims 3 Game Help Categories:

Custom Content  | Installation  | Gameplay Guides  | Technical & Graphics Issues  | Miscellaneous Issues

MTS Help Q&A Forums