How to fix error code 12 on Sims 3 [Full Guide]

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • Sims 3's error code 12 is not an entirely uncommon issue that arises when players try to save games.
  • Players can't save games in Sims 3 when it displays the code 12 error message.
  • Our comprehensive The Sims errors section includes more fix articles for Sims games.
  • To fix other gaming issues, check out our Gaming Hub.

Error code 12 is a Sims 3 issue that arises when users try to save games. This error appears due to insufficient RAM available to save games. Consequently, Sims 3 displays this error message, An unexpected error has occurred while saving: Error Code 12. So, players can’t save their games when error code 12 arises.

Check out these potential resolutions for error code 12

Close all background programs and software

  1. First, free up more RAM for Sims 3 before playing it by closing background programs and processes. Right-click the taskbar and click Task Manager to open the window shown directly below.
  2. Close all programs listed under Apps by right-clicking them and selecting End task.
  3. Then close background processes for third-party programs listed under Background processes. The best processes to terminate there are those for UWP Windows 10 apps, such as Edge, Photos, Skype, Mail, etc.
  4. In addition, check if your system tray includes any icons for third-party programs. If so, close the programs from there by right-clicking them and selecting their exit (close) options.

Expand Pagefile RAM allocation

  1. Try increasing the virtual RAM allocation (pagefile) for Sims 3. To do that in Windows 10, click the Type here to search button on taskbar.
  2. Enter the keyword adjust in the search box.
  3. Click Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows to open the window in the shot directly below.
    Visual Effects tab sims 3 error code 12
  4. Next, select the Advanced tab.
  5. Press the Change button.
    Virtual Memory window sims 3 error code 12
  6. Deselect the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives setting.
  7. Select your C: drive.
  8. Select the Custom size radio button.
  9. Enter a RAM value that’s two GB more than what you already utilize in both the Initial and Maximum text boxes. The value entered should be exactly the same for both.
  10. Click OK to exit the window.
  11. Click Apply on the Performance Options window.

Try saving with the Save as option

Instead of selecting Save, try clicking the Save As option instead. Then give the save game a completely different file title. In addition, don’t include any spaces within your saved game‘s file title.

Save options sims 3 error code 12


Delete game save folders

  1. Deleting game save folders that end with a .bad extension might also fix error 12 for some Sims 12 players. First, click the File Explorer button on the Windows 10 taskbar.
  2. Open this folder in File Explorer: C:\Users\USER FOLDER\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Saves.
  3. Next, select all folders in Saves that include a .bad extension at the end of their titles.
  4. Click Delete to erase the .bad folders.
  5. Select folders that have your save game’s title and include .sims3 or .backup extensions at the end of them. Then click the Cut option on File Explorer’s Home tab.
  6. Right-click your desktop to select New > Folder.
    The New > Folder option sims 3 error code 12
  7. Enter Backup as the folder title.
  8. Then open the Backup folder. Select the Paste option to copy the cut folders into that directory.

Reduce Sims 3’s graphics settings

  1. Players can also minimize Sims 3’s RAM consumption by lowering its graphics settings. Launch The Sims 3.
  2. Click the three dots button at the bottom left of the game to select Options.
  3. Select the Graphics tab.
    Graphical settings for Sims 3 sims 3 error code 12
  4. Then select a slightly lower resolution setting for the game.
  5. Adjust the Detail Settings bars to lower options.
  6. In addition, deselecting the Enable Fullscreen Mode setting to play Sims 3 in a window mode might also resolve error 12.
  7. Click the tick button to apply the new settings.

Those potential resolutions for Sims 3’s error code 12 are certainly worth a shot. You can also try maximizing RAM for Sims 3 with game booster software. Check out our game booster guide for further details.


FAQ: Learn more about error code 12 for Sims 3

  • Will adding more RAM to my desktop fix error code 12?

Yes, it probably would as error code 12 arises due to a lack of RAM. To make the most out of your current setup, check out our thorough top 5 best RAM optimizer guide.

  • Will updating drivers help fix error code 12?

Updating drivers might make a difference as outdated ones can generate game issues. Try running a Driver Booster 7 scan.

  • What’s the best fix for error code 12?

The best fix in this case, is to improve performance for Sims 3 by closing superfluous background programs and processes and lowering graphical settings.