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All 32-bit applications (including The Sims 3) that run on Microsoft Windows, by default, have the large address aware (LAA) bit disabled. In layman's terms, this means the application cannot address more than 2 GiB (2,147,483,648 bytes) of virtual memory. The Sims 3 can, under certain circumstances, reach this limit causing the game to crash to the desktop without warning. There are tools available that allow you to mod The Sims 3 executable(s) which allows the game to use up to 4 GiB (4,294,967,296 bytes) of virtual memory.

If your game is patched to 1.17/2.12/3.8/4.5/5.2/6.0 or newer, the necessary files are already large address aware so there is no reason to follow the instructions on this page.

Diagnosing LAA Crashes

The Sims 3 produces exception (xcpt*.txt and xcpt*.mdmp) files in the user's My Documents directory when it crashes. To determine if the crash was caused by LAA:

  1. Open an xcpt*.txt file with Notepad or your favorite text editor.
  2. Behind Free virtual memory:, is it less than 200 Mb? If yes, LAA most likely caused the crash. If no, something else most likely caused the crash.

Applications That Can Diagnose LAA Crashes

Applications That Can Enable the LAA bit

Because modifying an executable is no easy feat, the modification must be performed by an application. Here are some of the applications known to work (in order from easiest to most difficult).

32-bit Operating Systems

If you have a 32-bit version of Windows, and additional step is required in order for The Sims 3 to use more than 2 GiB of virtual memory. If your computer has at least 3 GiB of RAM installed, follow the instructions on the Insufficient Memory Crashes article. That article also contains information on how to determine how much RAM is installed.

64-bit Operating System

No extra steps are required; however, in order to provide the most memory to The Sims 3, it is recommend you have more than 4 GiB of RAM installed in your system.

Invalid File Found: TS3*.exe

Enabling the large address aware bit via any method may result in future patches throwing an "Invalid File" error on the executable. To correct this in The Sims 3 Large Address Aware, click on "Reset LAA." To correct this in CFF Explorer, follow the instructions here but uncheck "App can handle >2GB address space" box instead of checking it. Now you should be able to install the patch without problems. Remember to make the game large address aware again after the patch(es) are installed.