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Save Errors in the Sims 3

There are more occurences of save errors in the Sims 3. Most common being error code 12 (World file save failure) ,13 (Post-save callback failure), and 16 (Loose file copy failure).

The following is an excerpt from the readme.txt regarding Save Error codes.

Save-Related Error Messages 
Below are some error messages that you may see from the game.
Please contact customer support if you encounter any of these errors.
01: No save file information. 02: No active world. 03: The save path is empty. 04: Cannot save directory. 05: Cannot find the requested file. 06: Invalid save file length. 07: File name is invalid. 08: File path length is too large. 09: Failed to create header record. 10: Failed to write header record. 11: Pre-save callback failure. 12: World file save failure. 13: Post-save callback failure. 14: No load/save manager found. 15: Open failure 16: Loose file copy failure 17: Other error. Sorry.

The introduction of patch 1.5.82 with the release of World Adventures, changed the way saves were stored from files for each save game to folders for each save game.
The Late Night readme.txt has new entries for the save Error Messages. We now know what Error-16 means!


  • You get an "Error code 12" message when attempting to save.
  • You get an "Error code 13" message when attempting to save.
  • You get an "Error code 16" message when attempting to save.
  • You had tried to save with game paused and failed with the same error.
  • You had tried to save with game unpaused and still failed with the same error.
  • You had attempted to save while in "Edit Town" mode and had same results.
  • You tried as some suggested to do a save while in Speed 1 and not Speed 3, still error.
  • A "Save As" with a name change? Done! But get the same error still.


No cause was ever put forward by EA, but a lot of speculation has been made regarding the memory management capabilities of the game or its lack of a good one.

Some bad or corrupted Custom Content may also interfere, conflict or cause some corruption in the save file. And this is not isolated to just hack-type CC, regular Buy/Build Object-types or CAS-items can just be as badly meshed as a badly coded hack, or be miscategorized.


These suggestions have worked for some, but not others. So, you may want to try working down the list if the previous suggestion does not work.

  • Whenever you get one of these error codes,
    • minimize the game,
    • open Windows Explorer (or My Computer)
    • navigate to the Documents/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3/Saves folder
    • and verify that there is not folder named <your_save_filename.sims3.bad>
    • if there is, delete this folder before attempting the next steps.
  • If a direct "Save" triggered the errors, try with a "Save As" and specify a different name.
  • If you had the game Paused at the first attempt, try again with it unpaused and vice versa.
  • Try while in Edit Town screen, or vice versa in F1-Live mode screen while in a Lot
  • Run the game as Administrator.
  • Goes without saying, that you need sufficient disk space.
  • Defrag the HDD drive, if too defragmented. If it is an SSD, run TRIM command.
  • Try saving on a new town with CC intact after playing an hour or so.
  • Try on a new town with no CC at all and save after playing an hour or so.

Generally, if a save file can no longer be save without the process triggering and error code, you may have to discard that save file as it may have become corrupted. You may attempt to salvage the Households and Lots that you want to another clean new town, but you might just be propagating the corrupted data.

Most definitely, if an "Edit Town" save works while being in that Household had failed, that may indicate the Household or Lot is now corrupted.