Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sims 3 Crashing? DEP Fix for Windows

Recently I ordered Sims 3 Showtime and Supernatural. When they arrived I installed them and started my game. Then, my game crashed. I hadn't got past the title screen!

Luckily, I knew what the problem was. I had forgotten to add Showtime and Supernatural's .exe files to my DEP (Data Execution Prevention). So, I added them to my DEP and rebooted my computer. It worked! Yay!

If this is happening to you, with any expansion or even the base game then DEP may be your solution. A helpful tutorial for Windows 7 users can be found here by games4theworld. I have Windows Vista, and I will show you how to fix this crashing problem with DEP (if that is the cause) with pictures and text - isn't this exciting!

On to the tutorial...


Have you ever started up your beloved Sims 3 game to have it crash right in front of your very eyes? Sometimes it crashes on the title screen, other times while you're playing the game (which is extremely annoying!).

Do you see this pop up message?

"Sims 3 has stopped working" error message
Photo from

Me thinks it's time to fix your DEP settings!

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings

You may have to enter your admin password to gain access to Advanced system settings.

2. Go to Settings... under the Advanced tab.

3. Go to the Data Execution Prevention tab, click on the second option "Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select:" and then click Add...

(The greyed out area would be blank the first time you look at this tab.)

4. Go to C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts (Computer > WinVista (C:) > Program Files > Electronic Arts)

You will be adding all the .exe files from all of your expansion packs and stuff packs as well as from the base game. I don't have any stuff packs but the process is exactly the same...

5. Go to The Sims 3 > Game > Bin. It should look like this:

See all those plumbob icons? Those are all the files you want to add to the DEP list. These are executable files or .exe files. You have to add them one at a time simply by selecting one and then clicking Open.

After you have added all the .exe files for the base game, go back to C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts and select the next expansion/stuff pack. You do exactly the same thing for all of the expansion and stuff packs. Simply add all the .exe files (plumbob icons) to your DEP list. It is extremely important you have added all .exe files from the base game and from all of the expansion/stuff packs you own!!

6. After you have completed step 5, depending on the amount of expansion/stuff packs you own the list should look a bit like this:

Click Apply and then click OK. This will close the window. Then click OK on the System window that will still be open. Make sure you click OK and don't just use the red x in the corner.

If this is the first time you have changed your DEP settings a message may pop up asking you to reboot the computer for the settings to work. So, go reboot your computer! But before you do, I would double check the settings saved by checking the DEP list is how you left it. Just in case ;).

Ok, now you may reboot your computer. You should reboot your computer every time you change the settings, not just the first time, otherwise it won't work.

After rebooting your computer, start up the game and - well, it should be working now! If not, you either didn't follow the instructions properly or DEP isn't what was causing your game to crash in the first place :(. If that is the case, check out this Sims 3 Crashing Checklist on SimsWiki.

If it did work, however, then that's great! Just remember, every time you buy and install a new expansion/stuff pack you will have to add it's .exe files to the DEP list. 
And if any other programs crash (like Browser, GIMP etc.) you should be able to add their .exe files to the list and they will also work :), however I haven't had any problems with other programs so far.

I hope this helps you and you can, once again, happily sim the day away!

Any questions? Just ask in the comments! Or email me at I'm happy to help :).

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