Sims 3 Tech Support: Uninstalling, Reinstalling, and Backing Up Your Game

The Sims franchise has a long history of issuing patches that completely break the game.  Every patch that EA released for the Sims 3 has caused some segment of the Sims-playing population to rend their clothes in rage.  In the case of the most recent patch, it was me.

Ironically, this patch was pushed out in order to fix problems that people had with the patch before.  The "Save problem" caused people to be unable to save their games.  It also cleared out the inventories of their Sims' refrigerators and book shelves at random.  I would be furious if that happened!  

In my case, the problem was that the loading screen music didn't stop playing. My family's lot finally loaded up, but the jingle kept jingling.  I even tried switching to Buy Mode, Build Mode, Create A Sim, and Edit Town, but no luck.  Not only was I unable to hear any of the sounds on my lot over the music, but the lot was running really slow.

I looked around for solutions, but there were none.  It soon became clear that I would have to do a rollback.  Unfortunately, you have to do these entirely by hand.  Although I sure wish there was an "uninstall last patch" button on the Sims 3 launcher!

The first step to a successful rollback is to have a saved game you can restore.  This is your reminder to save your game at least once a month, and before you install any new patches!  I save mine every few weeks.  On Windows, go to Documents/Electronic Arts, and copy the "The Sims 3" folder.  Paste the entire folder wherever you want to keep your backups.  Your Documents folder is fine, or your desktop - wherever.  

Luckily, I had last saved my game about ten days ago, so I was not going to miss out on too much game play.  (It has been a busy week - I had only played for a few hours since the last save.)

The next step is to uninstall The Sims 3.  Just the usual uninstall method will not get rid of it completely.  In order to fully uninstall the game, you can follow the step by step instructions that mistyk kindly posted here on the More Awesome Than You forums.  (Big, huge, sloppy hug for mistyk!  Her instructions are SO GREAT.)

Once you have totally and completely gotten rid of The Sims 3, it's time to reinstall!  Whee!  Remember how fun that was the first time you installed it?  It's just like that, but without the anticipation.  Bring snacks.  

As soon as you have reinstalled the game, you will need to download and install at least a few patches.  For example, you need to patch your game up to version 1.4 if you want to be able to download and install the free Riverview neighborhood.  (And of course you do!)  I patched my game up to two patches ago.

EA doesn't archive their patches, thanks for nothing EA.  However, the kind and amazing and (I'm sure) attractive and intelligent folks at have archived them for you.  I am constantly amazed by the good will and kindness of other Sims players.  Start at the bottom of this page and work your way up.

Now that you have finished patching, you can restore your saved game.  Go back to Documents/Electronic Arts and rename "The Sims 3" to "The Sims 3 Backup" then copy your saved "The Sims 3" folder there in its place.  And voila, you're back where you started!

Klat Categories: 


So sue me - we get a lot of spam! And the suggestion to "make everything but the user folder read only" is nonsensical enough that it's plausible it was sent here by a spam bot.

If that was your comment, please clarify! It seems to me that making everything on your computer read only except the user folder would render your entire computer useless. But hey, I'm a professional Unix sysadmin with over a decade of experience, but I've been wrong before!

Hannah's picture


I've uninstalled my game, and I'm trying to reinstall it again, but whenever it comes up to the terms of agreement page, it says there's some sort of error. I don't see how I can sort this out!

Please reply!

What is the exact error that you get?  There are a few different error codes, let me know which one you are getting and I will do what I can to help!

Anonymous's picture


DOES THIS REALLY WORKKK?!?!?! PLEASE SOMEONE HELP! My sims 3 launcher "the installation is incomplete. please reinstall and try again" BUT I PLAYED THE GAME FOR 5 MONTHS NOW! I DONT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED! should i reinstall the game and do the steps! I don't want to lose my families! will the back up files help?



Anonymous's picture


SAME WITH ME! one day i was playing the game fine, and the next day the icon was gone? is this what happened to you? do i reinstall it? aggh!

Bizarre!  I had a problem after the last patch where my Launcher will launch,but I get an error message that "The EA Download Manager could not be started."  If I click to play it will start the game - but in between clicking play and the game starting, Windows will give me a "this program has crashed" error message.  So it works fine, but Windows doesn't think so?  I don't know what's up with that!

ANYWAY, try launching your game by going to "C:/Program Files/Electronic Arts/[most current expansion pack]/Game/Bin and double-click Sims3Launcher.exe."

If this works, then you can right-click on Sims3Launcher.exe choose "Create Shortcut" and when it prompts you, click Yes to have it added to your desktop.

Dani's picture


Mine's been doing that, too, but it just started last month.  Very annoying!

Helppp's picture


my sims 2, i installed it ann then i uninstalled it because it wasnt working that dayy and i cantt reinstall it againn helpp how do i reinstall itt pleasee!

Jammer's picture


Is the backup process the same if you have any expansion packs?? i have the Sims 3 High End Loft Stuff. Does the backup work the same way?

THank YOu =]

Yep, just the same!  The only difference is you might have Save files for more neighborhoods (Twinbrook for Ambitions, etc).  Just save 'em all and you'll be set!

A random visitor =D's picture

A random visitor =D

Thank you SO MUCH for the amazing advice.  I'm reading through your website as my game reinstalls... argh.

I guess I shouldn't be complaining.  The game had almost been installed for a year and I didn't have to reinstall, but whatever.

I would've been freaking out for days if it weren't for your life-saving article.  My Sims thank you too! =D

-Jenna and her Sims

P.S. I love your website.  I'm glad to find someone else as Sim-obsessed as me!  Keep posting!

P.P.S.  I don't have Ambitions yet. STOP TAUNTING ME! D=

P.P.P.S. Thanks again! =D

A random visitor =D's picture

A random visitor =D


One more day...just WAITING! AAAH!

lish's picture


i have windows 7 any ideas how to tackle that? for uninstallation

I'm still stuck on Vista, myself!  I think the step-by-step instructions should be pretty much the same, although a few of the details might be a little different.  Good luck, let us know how it goes!

Open up EA Manager and see if you can double-click to download the game again.  You probably can't, but it's worth a try.

This is why I do NOT recommend people buy the Sims games or expansion packs through digital download.  Unfortunately when the time comes to reinstall... you're out of luck.  Wish I had better news for you.  :-(

Anonymous's picture


My Sims 3 played fine for awhile but then the screen would go black and sometimes flicker back on or freeze the whole computer. I would get a message that said "display driver has encountered problem but has recovered". A friend recommended that I uninstall then reinstall the game, but I downloaded it with EA download manager. So that's not an option, is it? Any other advice?

Chris's picture


I actually chanced uninstalling because the game was giving me trouble and the risk seemed worth it. Turns out, it was. I uninstalled, and when I opnened EA manager, instead of the "start game" dart, there was a "install" dart there in its place. I clicked, and the manager installed the game normally, as it did the first time around.


So, yeah. Worked for me.


Good luck.

Anonymous's picture


Ok this may be a dumb question, but where do I go to uninstall it? If I go under Programs, then EA Games, it says I can uninstall Download Manager, and I don't want to do all THAT....I can't seem to find the option to just ininstall Sims 3.

Chris's picture


Go to Control Panel -> Programs (Uninstall) and on the list, you should see The Sims 3. So, not EA manager, but the actual game. With me, it's under the letter T. :)


Uninstall all its components and then run the EA manager to reinstall the game. There is no need to uninstall the manager itself.


Hope this helps.

Anonymous's picture


Thanks Chris -- I have uninstalled and reinstalled but have yet to play to see if this has fixed my problem. REALLY hoping it does....

Anonymous's picture


So I reinstalled my game, everything works fine in Build/Buy mode. I go into Live Mode, and my monitor goes to black. Again, I get the message "Display driver encountered a problem but has successfully recovered." (But there are times where it does NOT recover and I have to restart the computer.)

I REALLY need some advice as to what could be causing this. I had a neighbor who is an avid gamer look at my graphics card and I was told my graphics card should work great with the game. But it says in the control panel that Microsoft Adapter 6to4 is not working properly because Windows couldn't load a driver.....could this be what could make the game mess up? I'd appreciate any ideas PLEASE!!

I occasionally get the same problem.  For me the problem is that my Nvidia graphics card doesn't officially have a driver for Vista yet. My graphics card occasionally crashes at other times when I'm not playing the game too.

There are a few graphics cards that aren't nearly as compatible with the game as you might think.  I would try updating your drivers and if that doesnt' work, you might need to buy a different graphics card.  :-(

Lorenzo's picture


Please!! Can someone help me!! I reinstalled my game...but I don't know how to retrieve my saved game which I copied. Can someone please tell me how I can play my game again after reinstalling the game!? I am totally lost and I don't want to have to make a new family again!!

Thanks to whoever can help me!!

Long story short, replace the new Saves folder with the one that you saved.

Specific instructions will depend on where you copied your old game to, obviously!  Just take everything from your backup copy of Electronic Arts/The Sims 3/Saves folder, and drop it into the fresh new one.

The Saves folder is where your Sims "live."  You will see there are files for each neighborhood - Riverview, Sunset Valley, etc.  These are where your Sims are saved, so these are the files you want to replace.

If you ever need to restore the entire game (like if you download a patch that goes bad) then you replace the entire Electronic Arts/The Sims 3 folder with your saved version.

Nathan's picture


i havent actually got a problem with the game, just updates. i tried to install the latest patch (late night) , but an error came up saying the Qtcore4.dll could not be found. reinstalling the application could help. but im not sure if im meant to do the same thing! it doesnt say anything else and i want to have hot tubs!!

please help me!!!

Roar.'s picture


Because I am an absolute idiot (It shames me to admit it.) I went and uninstalled my sims 3 game straightaway. Then, because I am an absolute idiot X 2, I thought that deleting it from my computer (MyComputer>LocalDiskC>ProgramFilesx86>ElectronicArts) would get rid of it. I AM A FREAKING GENIUS AREN'T I JUST?! Now, I can't play it (surprise surprise) and I can't see it (surprise surprise) and I have no idea how to get it back and uninstall it properly (surprise surprise).

Few facts:

I have (hate) windows 7.

I'm an idiot. (surprise surprise)

While I was typing this I put a rudie instead of Disk. Figure it out yourself.

I'm only uninstalling because I downloaded version 4.7somethingsomethingsomething.

I am very annoyed at technology.

Keels's picture


My game has been running pretty slowly, and I'm thinking about uninstalling it and trying again, but I don't have the box that has the serial numbers and things I remember having to type in. Will this be a problem? =(

Yes! DO NOT uninstall the game unless you have the serial codes! Otherwise you won't be able to reinstall, and then no more Sims!

If you're having trouble with the game hiccupping, freezing, or running slowly, first thing you want to do is try running it without any custom content. In the Launcher go to Installed Content and tick the "run without custom content" box.

If that doesn't help, try playing a different neighborhood, or starting a fresh copy of an old neighborhood. Sometimes the neighborhoods get glitchy, which Awesomemod can fix, but it may be more trouble than it's worth.

Good luck!

lexis's picture


i dont see how this helped it poped up please reinstall your game. so i unistalled how do you reinstall???????????????????

Anonymous's picture


Backup the registry:

1. Hold down the Windows key and press R.
2. At the Run command, type in "regedit" (minus the quotes) and select OK.
3. Click on File and then Export...
4. Choose a location and name for the file; this will be your backup registry file.
5. Click Save.

I don't fully understand this. what file am I choosing a location and name for?

What you're doing in that step is creating a name and location for the file. So if you wanted to call it "registrybackup" and put it in My Documents, this is where you will do that. (Choose My Documents and fill in "registrybackup" as the file name.)

Atar Tar's picture

Atar Tar

 I HATE WINDOWS COMPUTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't find the installer even to install with. I already have the sims 3 installed (I've also got ambitions and adventures) but i need to reinstall it whilst it's still installed so that it will give me the code (I lost it......) and i can install it on my other computer (a mac!). Though there is one issue, I have no idea where to find the installing program. I can't even find the icon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Please Help

-Atar Tar

Super frustrating! I hate Windows computers too!

The installer is actually on the disks, it doesn't get copied to your computer - it just launches straight from the DVD. To get it to start, just go to Start -> Computer -> click on the DVD drive. It should start reinstalling itself automatically.

Anonymous's picture


im trying to reinstall my sims 3 and it keeps sayin that is doesnt have the license data!! what do i do

please reply!

Anonymous's picture


hey im having a big problem, i installed the sims 3 and it worked great but then when i got the outdoor livin expansions pack and installed it it saud they were incompatable and theirfor i couldnt play sims 3 so i tried uninstalling sims 3 and the expansion pack and ive tried to download it again and it wont work it says the installation is incomplete please try and reinstall, ? what do i do please help, ive followed he instruction above but it doesnt seem to work for me,

please help thankss,!!

confused's picture


hey guys ive followed all the instruction above
but i couldnt fine all the files,

the files below with- after them are the ones i
couldnt find.

Delete the registry keys:

1. Expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder.
2. Expand the SOFTWARE folder.
3. Expand the Electronic Arts folder.-it wasnt in the
folder therfore i couldnt get into any of the sims
folders,and couldnt delete the file
4. Expand the Sims folder.
5. Right-click The Sims 3 folder and select Delete.
6. Collapse the Electronic Arts folder.
7. Expand the Sims folder.
8. Right-click The Sims 3 folder and select Delete.
9. Collapse the Sims folder.
10. Expand the Microsoft folder.-so i started from
11. Expand the Windows folder.
12. Expand the CurrentVersion folder.
13. Expand the Uninstall folder.
14. Delete the following folder if it appears:
• {C05D8CDB-417D-4335-A38C-A0659EDFD6B8}
11. Collapse the Microsoft folder.
12. Expand the Classes folder.
13. Delete the following folders if they appear:
• .Sims3
• .Sims3Pack
• Sims3
• Sims3Pack
so continued to follow the delete the uninstall

Delete the uninstall files:

1. Click the Start button and select My Computer.
2. Select the Local Disk (C:) drive folder.
3. Select the Program Files folder.
4. Select Tools, then Folder Options, then View, then select "Show hidden files and folders."
where do you find tools? if its a folder then i didnt have it!!!!!
5. Select the InstallShield Installation Information folder.
6. Delete the following folder if it appears:
• {C05D8CDB-417D-4335-A38C-A0659EDFD6B8}

so theirfore i couldnt do anythig else,? so i checked to see if it had worked. but no
it just keeps saying that its not installed proper and i should try to reinstall and
when i do this it just says the system has detected that no version of sims 3 is installed
this update requires thata previous version on sims 3 be installed??? what does this mean please helpp