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The Sims 3 Technical Help: Game Data

Backup and Restore Saved Games and all CC

This information was written by PJSim at our Sims 3 Forum's technical help board. It covers the process of backing up your saved games, downloads, and everything else. I published this on the guide to give it more visibility. It has been on our forum a very long time and helped a lot of people. Thanks, PJ!!

Why should I make a backup?
Because backing up is good, mkay.

If you don't mind having to start all over as if you just bought the game then don't bother with backups. Otherwise you should make a backup before uninstalling the game, installing a new EP, installing updates... well, regularly.

If your game crashes and needs to be reinstalled or your computer dies, you will be happy you did.

Backing up your game data not only preserves your saved games but also the changes you've made to the settings in Options and the downloads you've installed, including Riverview.

What should I back up?
Everything you need to back up is in the Sims 3 folder in your Documents folder. It contains your saved games, screenshots, downloads and more. Everything that didn't come with the game when you bought it basically.

You find it here:
Windows 7 and Vista: C:\Users\"Username"\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3
Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\"Username"\My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3

(If you're on a Mac the data will also be in a Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 folder somewhere; I'm sure you know where your documents are. This concludes my knowledge of Macs.)

Even if you've installed the game on a different partition this folder will still be placed on the C-drive; at least it was for me.

DO NOT back up the Sims 3 folder in Program Files. I only mention this because when I googled this subject to see what was out there already, I found several tutorials on how to back up from Program Files as if this is a good thing to do. Well, I don't think the people who tell you to do this actually tried using this "backup" themselves. It takes up a mad amount of space and is useless.

How do I back up?
Making a backup essentially means making a copy. So open up your Documents, open "Electronic Arts", right-click the "Sims 3" folder and choose Copy. Go to where you want to place the backup, right-click and choose Paste.

Where should I place the backup?
You could just put it on the desktop, somewhere in Documents, anywhere you like, but I recommend placing it somewhere other than your hard drive. Either an external hard disk, USB flash drive or even burn it to a CD or DVD.

That way if your computer should crash and die, well, you won't have a working computer but you will still have your Sims. You can install The Sims 3 on a different computer, restore your game data from the backup and start playing right where you left off; well, from the time you made the backup anyway.

Automating the backup.
There are many programs which will handle the backup process for you. I've been using SyncToy; it's a free program from Microsoft. It makes backing up as simple as pressing a button and you can set up a schedule to have the backup run automatically, say once a day or once a week.

Get it here

The one with a "x64" in the file name is for 64-bit versions of Windows, x86 is for 32-bit versions. If you don't know which you have it's probably 32-bit. If you want to make sure, right-click on Computer or My Computer and choose Properties, you should find it there.

There are lots of tutorials on how to use SyncToy, just ask Google. Here's a couple:


And while you're at it; Get an external hard disk if you don't have one already and don't just make a backup of your Sims 3 folder but do the entire Documents folder as well. You know you should.

Restoring your game data.
If things go completely wrong, uninstall the game and reinstall from the game disk. Then copy the backup you made and paste it back in the Documents/Electronic Arts folder where you originally got it from, so it replaces the new Sims 3 folder.

Now when you run the game it should be exactly the same as it was when you made the last backup.

Comments (7)

mia576 says...
this helps alot for me. I have already had my coumputer crash once and I lost everything, I was so sad, but now I won't have to worry!
8th April 2013 2:05am
Jennifer says...
I recently just downloaded a lot. But how do I open it up in the game? I'm trying to move a family into the house but I can't find the house in the game and I've just downloaded it. Please help!
Did you install the house with the launcher?   If you've installed it using the launcher, the next step is to actually go into Edit Town and make sure to place the lot from house library into your town.
14th June 2013 8:33pm
KK says...
When I go into C:/Users/Documents/ElectronicArts/TheSims3 there is only a folder for screenshots, nothing else. I'm on win7 and my version is a free version if that makes a difference
23rd July 2013 6:42pm
Felisha says...
I have the Sims 3 and the expansions packs, sims generations, and seasons, but when I tried to add my newer one that I bought Sims Pets, it totally crashed my whole computer to the point where my screen is black and wont load up at all. I keep trying to reimage my computer and back up but nothing works, So i want to know if anyone else has this problem or what I can do. Please let me know! So sad that I cant play my game
15th October 2013 11:41pm
alana says...
help, I had to have my laptop restored to factory settings to sims deleted, am trying to reinstall but wont accept my product code as already 'used'! have logged into origin with same details and no use.

any ideas?
11th November 2013 3:44pm
grace says...
My advice would be try and contact an EA member through live chat. You can access this on the offcial EA website. I had a similar problem, as my base game wasn't showing up at all, however after a long chat over the phone it was fixed. This is the only thing I can think of right now so I hope I helped
10th April 2014 7:57pm
Julia says...
Help! I'm playing TS3 Supernatural, and had recently moved my household to a new house. I had edited all the furnishings in the house, and everything worked fine for the next couple of days. But today, my game wouldn't load. It loads for bout quarter way thru' and then the whole thing crashes. But the thing is, my household is still on the main menu. It just wouldn't load all the way thru. Is there any ways I can salvage my game?
13th January 2014 6:47am
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