Joined: 05/31/09 02:53 AM
Every time I open the sims 3 launcher it asks me if I would like to download the newest game update and I click yes then the launcher becomes not responsive and even after a long period of time doesn't correct itself. I've tried to download it quite a few times now and it just won't download. If I don't download it I can't log into TS3 website during the game itself. Help?
Joined: 05/31/09 11:35 AM
Running the Sims 3 with outdated mods, custom content OR some other bad or corrupted file in the USER DATA FOLDER (Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 folder) is the most common cause of failed patches, failed installations of expansion and stuff packs, crashes and/or your game not working correctly. The USER DATA FOLDER is where you create or put files that the patch installer (or the game itself) does not like. It is also were the files you want to keep are found. More on this in the guide itself.
This guide does not address problems with Steam, but portions may be helpful.
This guide assumes that your computer meets or exceeds the game’s specifications.
IF YOU THNK THAT YOU NEED TO UNINSTALL AND REINSTALL, DON’T. AT LEAST NOT UNTIL YOU HAVE TRIED TROUBLESHOOTING AS RECOMMENDED IN ITEM 16. You only need to uninstall and reinstall if you have corrupted your actual game files and it is very hard to do this. The game protects those files (they are in a completely separate area on your hard drive in Program Files) and it is from those files that the files the game actually uses to play are created in Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3. Note: A failed incremental patch, however, can corrupt these core files. If this happens your cannot open the Launcher. You must use the Super Patch to resolve this issue. This will be covered in the Guide.
NEVER, NEVER ASSUME THAT 1. YOU DON’T HAVE ANY MODS OR CUSTOM CONTENT; OR 2. YOUR MODS AND CUSTOM CONTENT ARE UP TO DATE OR ARE NOT THE CAUSE OF YOUR PROBLEM; OR 3. THE OTHER FILES IN THE SIMS 3 FOLDER ARE NOT THE CAUSE OF YOUR PROBLEM.
ALWAYS assume that something in the USER DATA FOLDER that is, the Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 folder IS the cause of your problem. THEREFORE:
PLEASE NOTE STEP 7 AND THE BASIC TROUBLESHOOTING TIP AT STEP 16.
So below is my guide to safe and error free patching and installing new expansion and stuff packs and basic troubleshooting.
BRONWIN’S GUIDE TO SAFE PATCHING, EXPANSION AND STUFF PACK INSTALLATION AND TROUBLESHOOTING.
We all want to play and we don't want to spend our time trouble shooting. Ever since I started following these procedures with patch 1.34 I have only had one patch (incremental patch 1.50) failure and no expansion or stuff pack installation failures. I install from disc because I do not trust download installs. These instructions may work fine with downloads, but if anyone wants to update this guide with special instructions for those who download from Origin or Steam please do so. This guide is written for Windows and I have used it successfully in Windows XP, Windows 7 and now Windows 8 Pro. My current game is patched to 1.48 and I have all expansions and stuff packs. My game is running fine, but I do have two Mods that I consider critical, Twallan’s Overwatch and Errortrap; less critical but real nice to have is his Master Controller (There is more information on Mod management at the end of this Guide). Mac users will need to modify these instructions for their machines.
I invite any corrections or comments to make this guide easier and better.
A great many of the problems arise from not knowing the basics of how the Sims 3 works and the player failing to follow some VERY simple procedures. IF YOUR GAME IS HAVING TROUBLE TRY THE SIMPLE TROUBLESHOOTING STEP AT ITEM 16.
1. WHAT YOU CAN’T MESS WITH. The first thing to know is that when you install the Sims 3 it installs to C:\ program files (x86)\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 (any disc expansion packs are also installed here). If you download from Origin they will install to C:\ program files (x86)\Origin Games\The Sims 3 (plus any Origin expansions).
Take a minute and use Windows (file) explorer and navigate to the Electronic Arts folder (or, if applicable, the Origin Games folder). These are all the installed game files. YOU SHOULD NEVER MESS WITH THESE FILES. These are the files modified whenever you apply a patch or install an expansion or stuff pack. If you do mess with these files you run the risk of rendering your game unplayable and requiring you to uninstall and reinstall your game. If you have everything, as I do, this can consume hours of your time. I speak from sad experience. A word to the wise: Don’t mess with these files!!!
Note: You can’t have two copies of the same game or expansion in both the Electronic Arts folder and the Origin Games folder. You may be able to have a combination of disc and Origin downloads so long as they are not the same. Disc installs will go to Electronic Arts folder and Origin downloads to the Origin Games folder.
2. THE USER DATA FOLDER OR WHAT YOU CAN MESS WITH. Now navigate to (My) Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3. This folder is also called the USER DATA FOLDER. This folder and its contents are generated from the installed game files and your user input. This should be the same for both disc and Origin. This is where your saved games, saved Sims, collections, custom content to include downloads, Mods and other user data is stored. If you delete this file a clean one will be regenerated from the game files. That new USER DATA FOLDER will not contain any of your old user data. This also means that backing up all your user data is as simple as copying and pasting this folder to your desktop, thumb drive, burning to CD or anywhere you want to save it.
Let me say this again, if the Sims 3 cannot find the USER DATA FOLDER that is the (My) Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 folder it will regenerate a new and pristine The Sims 3 folder. This is useful to know for troubleshooting. You cannot mess up your installation by changing anything in this folder. You can lose your settings and saved games etc., but you cannot disable your game. At worst you will have to start with brand new folder. Take some time to explore this folder and see what is stored there. Here is a short list of what you can expect to find:
Collections—Any custom object collections you create.
Custom Music—any MP3 files that you want to play in the game
Downloads—Store items, custom content in Sim3pack format. Note 1: When you install an item it is installed from here to either the InstalledWorld or Library folders. Note 2: All your store items and 3rd party downloads are comingled here. As a tip to make troubleshooting easier create a folder somewhere safe and label it Sim 3 Store downloads and put a copy of all your store and official EA content in it. That way it’s easy to reinstall this EA only content if you need to. I created a Sim 3 Archives folder and keep this folder in the Documents\Electronic Arts folder. It holds copies of my store items and some other things that I might want to selectively install in a new USER DATA FOLDER.
Exports—Sims3pack files that you want to upload to the exchange
Mods—where game changing mods and custom content in package format goes. This folder is not created by the game. You must create this folder yourself. I have instructions at the end of this guide and you can find excellent guides posted elsewhere.
SavedSims—Any Sims you save in CAH (CAS) are saved here.
Saves—All your saved games and their backup copies.
You will also find various cache files and configuration files that preserve your options and other settings that you make in the game interface.
If anything is going to cause a patch, expansion or stuff pack to fail to install properly it is in this USER DATA FOLDER. The contents of the USER DATA FOLDER are generated from the game files and you, not the other way around. If you play the game you modify the files in this folder, if you buy items from the store you modify the files in this folder, if you look at your computer screen you modify the files in this folder (ok, I exaggerated this last part).
If, for some reason, you want to see if your installed games are working correctly simply rename The Sims 3 folder to The Sims 3 old and launch the game. This simple thing will act as a complete uninstall and reinstall. The difference is that this takes 5 seconds and the other takes 5 hours.
3. To repeat: If you think that you need to do an uninstall and reinstall, DON’T. Simply move or rename the Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 folder. Unless you have messed with the files in Program Files (WHICH YOU SHOULD NEVER DO) a new The Sims 3 folder will be generated and the game will behave as if it were installed for the very first time. It will have no custom content, saved games or any of your settings. But this is normal and what we want at this point. We want a totally clean game with only Electronic Art files in it. This is the only way to make sure that a glitch is EA’s fault. All your old stuff, settings, saved games etc. is perfectly safe in The Sims 3 old folder. With this understanding in mind, how should you install a new patch, expansion or stuff pack?
BASIC PROCEEDURE TO INSTALL A PATCH, EXPANSION OR STUFF PACK
Always do the following (write this down and tape it to your computer somewhere):
4. Open the launcher and go to Game Updates. That’s the last button on the launcher dialog box. You will see a check box labeled Automatic Updates. Uncheck that box. You will be notified when there is an update. When an update is released you will get a notification and an option to apply the update. When you see that notification DON’T do the update/patch yet, go to the next step.
5. Update Origin. Either launch Origin and allow it to automatically update or go here—http://www.origin.com/download and manually update it. Once it is updated go to the next step.
6. USING THE SUPER PATCH: Decide if you want to apply the incremental patch or Super Patch. The Super Patch is an official EA patch so don’t be afraid to use it if you have to. If for some reason (you didn’t follow these instructions, for example) you tried an incremental patch and it failed you will need to apply the super patch. The reason is that a failed incremental patch may overwrite only some of the game files in Program Files (those files you are not supposed to mess with) corrupting your installation. The Super Patch will force an overwrite of all the files and (hopefully) correct the failed incremental patch installation. You can get the super patch here-- http://forum.thesims3.com/jforum/posts/list/175477.page It’s stickied in the Sims 3 web site in Forums-General Discussion-Technical Discussions as the very first item. Neither the incremental nor the super patch should corrupt any of your saved games.
7. DISABELING THE USER DATA FOLDER. THIS STEP IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL!!!! IF YOU OMIT THIS STEP YOUR PATCH OR INSTALLATION MAY FAIL!!!! If you want to argue this point you can stop reading here and do whatever you want, but don’t complain when your patch, expansion or stuff pack installation fails, which it most likely will.
GO TO DOCUMENTS\ELECTRONIC ARTS\THE SIMS 3 FOLDER AND RENAME IT THE SIMS 3 OLD. DON’T MESS WITH THE SUB-FOLDERS. RENAME THE WHOLE THING.
NOTE 1: You can choose to move it to your desk or anywhere else you want, but renaming it accomplishes the same thing, so I recommend renaming.
NOTE 2: I had a question as to why this step is necessary. It’s because if you are going to corrupt your game this is where you are going to do it. As part of its install procedure the patch will scan the sub-folders and files in The Sims 3 folder. If it finds something it does not like the installation is likely to fail. This is where you will get "the sims 3 is corrupt or not properly installed." error message if the patch or installation program finds a file it does not like. Users do all sorts of things in this folder. Don’t assume that because you ABSOLUTELY KNOW that you don’t have CC or mods you don’t need to do this. How often have I heard variations from people that ABSOLUTELY KNEW they didn’t have any custom content or mods that : A. “I forgot about that.” B. “But that mods always worked before.” C. “How did that get into my downloads/Mods folder?”
THE POINT IS that we want a clean and trouble free install so we want to eliminate this as a variable. If the folder is not there the patch can’t find something it does not like. This only takes 5 seconds, eliminates all the variables, is simple and quick and will eliminate almost all the frustration that you will have if you don’t, so why not do it?
8. Once Origin has updated it’s time to install the patch. Go back to the Launcher and select the box to download the incremental patch. If you want to install the Super Patch and you haven’t already downloaded it do that now.
9. The incremental patch should download and install without any problem. If you have downloaded the super patch you can install it now (you must use the super patch if your incremental patch fails (see step 6)). As part of its installation the patch will look for The Sims 3 folder in Documents\Electronic Arts but it won’t find it because you have renamed it (You smart person!). It won’t crash on any bad mod or corrupted file in that folder. As far as it is concerned the old folder is not there and it will create a new The Sims 3 folder.
Note: It is possible for the incremental patch to fail to install even with the User Data Folder out of the way. This means that EA must have made an error somewhere (EA is not perfect you know). How do I know this? Because with the User Data Folder gone there are only EA folders and files. Don’t panic. And don’t put your old User Data Folder back. Don’t try to launch the game launcher. The failed patch has corrupted your core installation and the launcher will not work. Leave everything as it is and download the Super Patch. When it downloads, install it. I followed this procedure with patch 1.50 which failed to install.
Subsequently EA posted this message:
Note on Feb 19 Game Update
We understand that some of you have attempted to install the recent Game Update and encountered an issue completing the install.
For PC players, if you reattempt the install now, you should be able to successfully complete installation. Note that this Game Update is larger in size and that we will be releasing a smaller version within the coming weeks if you prefer to wait for a smaller download.
For Mac players, we are still conducting some final tests on the Mac Game Update to ensure it will be a smooth and successful experience for you as well. This release will be coming very soon.
Thank you for your patience.
So EA made a mistake, but by following my guide we already knew that because we had disabled the USER DATA FOLDER.
The Super Patch installed correctly. On to step 10.
10. Once the patch has installed, launch the game. It will be pristine and should play. Of course it won’t have your downloads, mods, settings or any user files, but that’s OK and exactly what we want at this point. Everything that you really want like your saved games is safe and sound in The Sims 3 old folder just waiting to be restored and YOU (you smart person!) know that you have a good patch installation. You can now pat yourself on the back. Exit the game.
11. Now install the expansion or stuff pack. Test it to make sure it works. Play a test game. Create Sims and do anything else you want to test the installation.
12. So now we have a good installation and we know that the game is working properly. It’s now time to put The Sims 3 old folder back.
13. Before you do anything else update all your mods. I don’t care if the mod has always worked. Patches, expansions and stuff packs can change core code, so always expect to update your mods. Do this even if you have the latest patch. The expansion or stuff pack may have changed some more code and the mods may need to be updated again.
14. Delete The Sims 3 folder and rename The Sims 3 old folder to The Sims 3. That is, delete the word “old”.
15. Launch the game. It should work. If it doesn’t then that means that you still have a bad file or files in The Sims 3 folder that you will have to troubleshoot, but you know that your installation is OK and that the game works. What you can do allow the game to create a new User data folder and then selectively move folders from the old folder into the new folder testing as you go.
16. BASIC TROUBLESHOOTING TIP. If you are having trouble with your game, navigate to documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 and rename The Sims 3 to The Sims 3 old then launch the game and test it. This simple procedure restores the game to new and insures that there is nothing that you have done that is causing the game trouble. (Don’t simply load to the main menu and stop there. By test I mean start a new game. Use Riverview for example. Create a Sim and play with all the options. If you had a glitch with The Sims 3 old folder, try to recreate it.) If you are having problems in the test game, freezing, crashing etc. then you will have to do more advanced trouble shooting, but at least you will know that the problem is not of your creation and it really is an EA problem (assuming that your computer meets or exceeds specifications to run the game).
17. Uninstall and Re-install. The worst has happened and your core folders and files have been corrupted. You have tried everything. I feel your pain, been there and done that, as they say. Let me set out what has worked for me. This procedure assumes that you have discs. You will need to adjust it if you are using Origin or Steam. Depending on the number of expansion and stuff packs you have this will take about 5 or 6 hours. So get some snacks and your favorite beverage. A book to read is optional.
a. Go to this web page and down load the free version of Revo Uninstaller. http://www.revouninstaller.com/index.html b. Install Revo Uninstaller. It will uninstall the program and then clean up any leftover folders, files and registry entries.
c. Move or copy and paste your USER DATA FOLDER (Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3) to your desk top.
e. Using Revo Uninstaller uninstall all the Sims 3 expansion and stuff packs and the base game.
e. Once everything is uninstalled, reinstall the base game.
f. Patch the base game to the latest patch as set out in my guide. (Don’t fight it. You can limp along with an earlier patch for a while, but as time passes EA will add more things that require the latest patch so, at some point, you will be forced to update.)
g. Play a test game to check the installation. It will create a new USER DATA FOLDER. Leave this new folder in place for the time being. Test whatever you want to make sure the game is functioning correctly. If it is go to step h.
h. Reinstall the expansions and stuff packs. I reinstall them in order, a lot of very knowledgeable people say that you can install them in any order. It’s your choice. If you use discs you must play with the last issued expansion or stuff pack that you have, so I would install that one last. You should not need to re-patch. Leave the USER DATA FOLDER alone. You may want to periodically play a test game to make sure everything is working correctly. This is going to take a long time (depending on how many expansion and stuff packs you have) so get some snacks and your favorite beverage. A book to read is optional.
i. Once you have reinstalled everything, play a final test game. Really wring it out. Do everything you can think of (or want) to test. If everything works go to step j.
j. Delete the new USER DATA FILE and put your old one back. You should be up and running.
BRONWIN’S GUIDE TO ADDING MODS
1. Navigate to Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3.
2. Open The Sims 3 folder.
3. Create a new folder called Mods.
4. Open the Mods folder.
5. Create a folder called packages
6. Using note pad create a text file that has the following (cut and paste):
7. Name the file Resource.cfg. Save it and put it in the Mods folder. It does not go into the packages folder.
8. All mods go into the packages folder.
9. As a suggestion you can use nested folders in the packages folder. Two indispensable mods that I use are Twallan’s Overwatch and Errortrap. They are found here: http://nraas.wikispaces.com/ I started using these mods after patch 1.26 and Pets which were causing me major lagging and freezing problems. I also replaced my 5 year old computer with one that had a dedicated graphics card with 1GB in onboard memory. Even though my computer now greatly exceeds the games minimum specifications I still encounter an occasional freeze as Overwatch cleans up spawned vehicles, stuck Sims and other odds and ends.
So open the packages folder and make a new folder called Nraas mods 1.48 and put Overwatch and any other Nraas mods updated to patch 1.48 in this folder. These mods are updated after every patch, so labeling the folder will help you keep the patch level correct. So, for example, EA releases a new patch, let’s call it 1.xx. Before you can run the game you will need to update your mods. Create a new folder and name it Nraas mods 1.xx. Go to the Nraas site and when the mods are updated to patch 1.xx put them in the new folder, delete the 1.48 folder and replace it with the new one.
If you are going to use mods remember that they require your active management. Expect them to be outdated after every patch and to require replacement. Over time you will get a feel for which mods require replacement and those which don’t, but always suspect a bad mod, even the ones which seem to always work, if you start to experience problems with your game.
Never be afraid to troubleshoot by renaming The Sims 3 folder and running a clean test game and trying to recreate the problem.