Nipping Error 12 in the Bud

It’s every simmer’s nightmare. One day, you’re playing your favorite household in TS3, the one where you spent hours lovingly rebuilding all your lots, remodeling all your sims and watching all these terrific incidents happen. You click, “Save,” your computer seems to take an extra long time to save, and then…

Dun dun DUN…

Error 12.

You use one of the many helpful solutions (like here) to get your save game back but it eventually gets another Error 12 down the line or you find that now your other save games get it, too.

Before you panic, know that all is not lost. You can nip Error 12 in the bud. You just have to learn a little bit about why it happens and what steps you can take to prevent it from happening again in the future.

What is Error 12?

Error 12 is basically a problem that occurs when you’re trying to save a game and there’s not enough memory to save it. Your computer goes, “Saving…saving…saving…ugh, I give up!” and quits saving entirely. Then it throws up an Error 12 message that pretty much says, “Here, you deal with it.”

Now if all your computer did was quit, that wouldn’t be such a big deal, right? You could just restart your game and pick up where you last left off. The problem, though, is that sometimes when you try to go back and play the same save game, you will get another Error 12. Even if you’re able to follow these instructions to the letter on how to get your game back, Error 12 will rear its ugly head , anyway.

So, if you get Error 12 all the time, it’s not enough to learn how to retrieve your game when you get it. It’s more important to fix your memory issues so that you no longer keep getting this error in the future. Let’s take at three ways you can do that:

Solution One: Get More RAM

If you don’t have enough RAM to play TS3, Error 12 will be a constant problem. So if you have less than 2 GB right now, order some pronto! If you don’t know how much RAM you have, go to “Start,” right click on “Computer”, then click “Properties.” A window will pop up, and you’ll see how much RAM you have next to “Installed memory (RAM).

Before you rush out and get more RAM, just know that depending on what system you have, you’re limited to how much you can add. For example, on a Windows 32 bit system, you can only add up to 4 GB. On a 64 bit system, you can add as much as your motherboard can support. So if you have a 32 bit version of Windows, don’t waste your time or money getting 16 GB of RAM because you won’t be able to use any of it past 4 GB.

Solution Two: Get Windows to Use More than 2 GB Virtual Memory

Just because you have plenty of RAM doesn’t mean your system is making the most efficient use of it. If it’s only using 2 GB of virtual memory, you will have to tweak your settings so that it can use more of your memory. Here’s how to do this for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Server 2008:

  1. Go to Start.
  2. Type in “cmd” into the search box. The Command program will show up under “Programs.”
  3. Right click on “cmd” and choose “Run as administrator.”
  4. If you get a box asking you if you want to use the program to make changes to your computer, pick, “Yes.” A prompt with a black screen will pop up.
  5. Type the following into the prompt:
    If you have 3 GB of RAM installed: bcdedit /set IncreaseUserVA 2560
    If you have 4 GB of RAM installed: bcdedit /set IncreaseUserVA 3072
  6. Hit enter when you’re done.
  7. Close the command prompt.
  8. Restart your computer.

This should cut down on the frequency of Error 12, but that’s only if you have enough RAM on your system. If you have less than 3 GB, none of this will really help you all that much.

Solution Three: Save Every Few Minutes

If you have a computer that just barely meets the requirements for TS3, playing for long stretches at a time without saving is a surefire way of getting an Error 12. Another way of getting an Error 12 is waiting until you’ve either done a lot of stuff in Edit Town mode or CAS to save.

I know this sounds like overkill, but one of the best ways to avoid getting Error 12 if you’re low on resources is to save every few minutes. A rule of thumb that some people use is to always save every night before your sims go to bed. I don’t go that far; I’ll usually save every two or three sim days. But hey–better safe than sorry, right? So if you feel comfortable saving every night, by all means, do it.

Another rule of thumb is to save right before you’re about to do some heavy customizing and remodeling in Edit Game or Create a Sim. For example, when I’m playing the stylist or architecture career from Ambitions, I will always save my game right before my sim starts a project.

In a Nutshell

Error 12 seems like a terrible fact of life in Sims 3. But it’s not. Provided that you install enough RAM and follow the other steps in this guide, you will finally be able to nip this problem in the bud–for good!

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