Save Errors 12 and 16 - The Sims 3 Guide - IGN (2023)

As I try to save my game, I get something called Error 12 (or Error 16). What is this error, and how do I avoid it?


Save Errors 12 and 16 indicate a lack of memory to properly save the game, and the save is aborted. In both cases, it's a result of files being too large, but the severity depends on which error you get.

Some unfortunate symptoms of this bug include:

  • Long or incomplete loads when changing families or accessing Create-A-Sim mode
  • Incorrectly loaded textures or character models
  • Loss of data since your last save, or prevention of saving again until a game restart
  • Crash to desktop or total freeze of the game
  • Total freeze of your entire computer, forcing a hard restart
  • E-mail address or password desync from the Sims Wall if you have Showtime installed
  • Prevention of logging into the Sims Wall if Showtime is installed even with the correct e-mail and password combination
  • Corruption (and subsequent automatic deletion) of your save

Aside from any loss of data, the problems are temporary and are corrected after a restart of the game. However, due to the chance that data could be permanently lost, this bug is fairly dangerous if it strikes.

Please read the rest of this page to understand why and how this happens, as well as tips on how to avoid damage or delay its appearance.

On November 19, 2009, EA issued a patch to fix this error. Though the patch seemed to work for The Sims 3 Pets, the errors seem to be occurring often again for some players after installing The Sims 3 Showtime.

Error 12


Error 12 indicates that your RAM is out of memory to properly save. This usually results from long play sessions, especially with large families.

You increase the chance of seeing the bug if you take a lot actions in Create-A-Sim mode, including planning outfits, especially if your Sims have a lot of different outfits. This is because a lot of data is loaded into the RAM, and it doesn't always cleanly get released back into the system. Eventually, the system will run out of memory and be unable to save.

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Error 12 Prevention

Due to its causes, Error 12 is easier to prevent. Be sure to save often, especially if your computer is running with less than 4 GB RAM. If the saving times aren't unacceptable, we recommend saving every in-game night while all Sims are sleeping, as well as before going on any World Adventures.

Also, save before giving any "Plan Outfit" command, and try saving again if you successfully make changes and cleanly get back to the game again. You'll find that Error 12 strikes often if you've gone over an in-game week without saving but after you access Create-A-Sim mode.

Finally, any additional programs you may be running in the background will take up RAM, leaving less for The Sims 3 to use. You'll want to close any non-essential programs, such as music players or web browsers, if at all possible. Task switching (such as with Alt-Tab or by pressing the Windows Key) will negatively impact your RAM as well, so you'll want to keep those actions to a minimum.

Error 12 Damage Control

If struck with Error 12 when you attempt to save, you might be able to recover without leaving the game. Oftentimes, because RAM is the issue, the solution is to release the RAM back into the system by unloading some loaded information.

For example, switching active families from Edit Town mode will make all Sims in the neighborhood cancel their current action, and it will make your active Sims cancel their wishes and promises. You might be able to switch active families, then switch back, then save.

If that fails, rather than doing a standard save, trying doing a "Save As..." and give your file a new name. This way, new data is created on the hard drive, and some parts of the data in the RAM will not be transferred. This is the most reliable method we have found to get around the error.

If you have Showtime installed, you can try logging out of the official Sims 3 site through the options menu. Further, if you change the resolution or quality of the game to something lower, it forces certain parts of the game to unload certain graphical-related data from the RAM. It might be just enough to get the save pulled off.


If you manage to recover from Error 12 and actually manage to do the save, you should immediately quit the game and restart it if you intend to keep playing. Just because you recovered from Error 12 once doesn't mean you'll recover a second time in the same session. By restarting the game (or even your entire computer), it helps cleanly unload all game data from the RAM and gives you more leverage the next time.

Error 16

Error 16 means that your neighborhood save file is larger than 4 GB and cannot be saved. This means your total file size of your current game, not necessarily just your current family.

Error 16 tends to strike with saves with a long history. After all, every Sim gets his or her own memories, own histories, own personalities, and own stats. For Generation-1 Sims, there is much less data to be saved. Some play styles, such as the 10-Generation Legacy Challenge, require so much more data to be saved that medium- or low-end computers may have trouble containing all the data.

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Error 16 Prevention


Error 16 strikes old, long-played files regardless of whether you stay with the same active family. Because every piece of data takes up its own amount of memory, you stand a larger chance of seeing this bug if you have many generations, large houses, many objects, many textures, many different textures within the same lot, or many clothes.

As a side effect of all the expansion and stuff packs, all new clothes, objects, and textures need to be saved to the hard drive if they're used in your game. With few expansions or stuff packs, you will likely not see Error 16. Conversely, the more expansions and stuff packs you possess (and the more custom content you downloaded from The Sims Exchange), the more likely you will see Error 16.

Still, family size and the number of generations is far more of a factor in whether you see Error 16. Even with all expansions and stuff packs installed, it's unlikely you'll encounter Error 16 with a Generation-1 family.

A stronger computer, especially one with more RAM, may help. However, given that the problem comes down to the file's total size, a more powerful machine may not be the simplest answer.

Error 16 Damage Control

Error 16 is almost sure to be fatal to the current save. After all, if it strikes at all, it will be difficult to reduce the save file to under 4 GB. You can attempt to dodge it by reducing the sizes and number of houses and other lots, though it will take a lot of work and make your cities look hideous.

The most reliable way to deal with Error 16 is unfortunately to pack up and move. From Edit Town, select your active family, then select "Move Out With House." This will save a copy of the family (including the lot, objects, job skills, cash, and other earned objects) into the game's library. You can then start a new game, place a copy of the family, and start over. Be warned that doing this removes all Sims' relationships!

Starting over this way does not reset a Sim's family tree, so some data is still saved to the Sims, and if a lot generations pass, you may find yourself hitting Error 16 again after several more generations. Currently, there is no way to fully prevent it.

If Error 16 strikes and something happens to the computer at the same time, such as a total freeze or a power surge, you stand a large chance of the data getting permanently corrupted and deleting itself. There is absolutely no way to recover your data if this happens.


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As a result, we recommend fully backing up your save regularly. You can do this by copying-and-pasting the appropriate folders from your My Documents folder, or you can simply regularly do "Save As..." commands in your game.

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Save Errors 12 and 16 - The Sims 3 Guide - IGN (1)
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Save Errors 12 and 16 - The Sims 3 Guide - IGN? ›

As I try to save my game, I get something called Error 12 (or Error 16). What is this error, and how do I avoid it? Save Errors 12 and 16 indicate a lack of memory to properly save the game, and the save is aborted. In both cases, it's a result of files being too large, but the severity depends on which error you get.

Why is my Sims 3 save file error? ›

The Sims 3 creates an automatic backup of your old saved game now, everytime you save your game normally. The error may be caused by overcrowding on a lot, which may be remedied by Editing the Town, moving the offending lot, then placing it back in its original location, thus resetting the lot.

What is error code 12 on Sims 3 Nraas? ›

Error 12 is an "out of memory" error, caused by either: Playing a very large save-game that takes up a lot of computer memory. The Sims 3 was not written with the concept of database management and as such the entirety of your current town file is loaded into memory when you load the game.

How do I fix error code 12? ›

How to fix Error Code 12
  1. Method 1. Use the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter. ...
  2. Method 3. Update your BIOS. ...
  3. Method 4. Delete the pcmcia. ...
  4. Method 5. Update or roll back the problematic driver. ...
  5. Method 6. Update Windows 10 to the latest version. ...
  6. Method 7. Perform a system restore. ...
  7. Final thoughts.

What does error 12 mean? ›

Also known as the "invalid transaction" code, a credit card error code 12 is given when the issuing bank does not accept a transaction.

How do I get rid of error code 16? ›

error code 16 means Web rejected the identity token send from android SDK. It could caused by dirty data in local database. In most case, delete the data folder and restart the application will fix this issue.

How do I get rid of error 16? ›

How To Fix Error Code 16: The Security Rules blocked this Request.
  1. Check The Date & Time.
  2. Try to visit the website from another device,
  3. Update Your Operating system.
  4. Reset Your Web Browser.
  5. Disable The Antivirus & Firewall.
  6. Try using a VPN.
  7. Contact your ISP.
Aug 13, 2023

What is user error code 16? ›

You could also get the error code 16 due to the wrong date and time settings, as the SSL validation date is incompatible with the system clock. In this case, you can try changing your date and time settings to fix the error.

Why does my Sims game keep failing to save? ›

Repair the Game. Sometimes the installation can get corrupted and that can make you fail to save your game's progress and cause many other errors. To fix this error, you need to repair the game.

What is the serious error has occurred in Sims 3? ›

The source of the "serious error" is often (but not always) attributable to having the TS3 user game folder files open and "in use" at the time the game needs to load them. Just having them open in Windows Explorer can sometimes be enough to trigger it.

How do I Unglitch my Sims? ›

Type resetSim Firstname Lastname and click Enter. Make sure you enter the name of the Sim you want to reset. For example: If you want to reset Gobias Koffi, type: resetSim Gobias Koffi, and press Enter.

What is steam code error 12? ›

If you play on Steam and gets this Error Code 12 you can fix it by going to Steam>Setting>Downloads then clear download cache. This should initiate the update after Steam restarts itself.

Why did Sims 3 stop working? ›

Sometimes a problem with custom content can cause a crash when you're loading into your game. The quick way to check if this is happening is to disable custom content in the launcher and try the game again. Exit the Sims 3 launcher completely. Restart it, then click on Installed Content.

What does an unexpected error has occured while saving error code 12? ›

Error 12 indicates that your RAM is out of memory to properly save. This usually results from long play sessions, especially with large families.

What is error code 12 on a computer? ›

Code 12 "This device cannot find enough free resources that it can use... (Code 12) “ This error can occur if two devices that are installed on your computer have been assigned the same I/O ports, the same interrupt, or the same Direct Memory Access channel (either by the BIOS, the operating system, or both).

What is error code 1212? ›

1212. Wrong password. Please try again. Sign in again with your correct password.


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