A concise and comprehensive guide for anyone who wants to learn how to install Sims 4 mods. This article explains directories, files, mod organisation and more.
The Sims 4 has been around for four years now and still sells extremely well, thanks in part to the fact that it’s just awesome, but also because of the excellent range of new content constantly being released by Electronic Arts.
However, one main feature of The Sims series of games which keeps fans coming back is the ability to install fan made content known as “Custom Content” (CC) or “mods”. For some people however, installing mods and organizing them can be a little daunting so here I will explain the correct procedure on how to install Sims 4 mods, organize them and keep your Sims 4 mods folder running correctly so as not to interfere with your Sims 4 installation.
Get a quick reference infographic here:
The Sims 4 Installation Directories
To install and organize custom content or mods, you will first need to understand the folder/file structure and hierarchy of The Sims 4 installations of which there are two; one main program directory and a game content directory. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Firstly, when The Sims 4 installs, it will install to C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\The Sims 4. This is the actual game installation on your computer which contains all of the files necessary to run your game. Any extra files installed from expansion packs, stuff packs and game packs will also be installed here.
You can tell which is which as they have different folder designations;
- EP01, EP02: Expansion Pack 1, Expansion Pack 2
- SP01: Stuff Pack 1
- GP01: Game Pack 01
… and so on.
Note: You will not need to do anything to any of these files. I just wanted to point out to you what they are and where they are stored, just in case you ever want to check which expansions and packs you have installed.
Sometimes the executable file can be accidentally deleted, moved or corrupted because of malware. The Sims 4 executable file is located at C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\The Sims 4\Game\Bin\.
Executable files are used to launch programs and applications.
There are two files;
These are the files you will need to create a shortcut. In the case you have a 64-bit OS (Windows 7 x64 or later) then create a shortcut using TS4_x64.exe otherwise use TS4.exe.
The Sims 4 installation procedure should create a shortcut on your Desktop and in your ‘Start Menu’, but just in case you need to create a shortcut here’s how to do it;
Right-click the relevant executable and click ‘Copy’. Then right-click anywhere you want the shortcut to be placed and click ‘Paste as Shortcut’. The new shortcut now be used to launch the game instead of having to navigate to the Sims 4 installation directory.
Game Content Directory
This is where content related to a specific game will be saved to including game save files, configuration files, custom content, screenshots, recordings, saved Sims and more. This directory is generated the first time The Sims 4 is executed and will be added to as you play.
The game content directory is located at C:\Users\USERNAME\Documents and Settings\Electronic Arts\The Sims 4.
Note: In the case that you ever need to back up your game this is the folder you will need to save. The folder can be quite large depending on your game.
Custom Content is saved in the ‘Mods’ folder. This folder can also be structured for organization i.e. Mods/Female/Hair for example.
You should be aware that there are two type of mods;
- Content Mods; the standard mods such as hair, clothing and items.
- Script Mods; more complicated mods that actually introduce some sort of code in to the game. These cannot be organized in a folder structure i.e. they must be in the ‘Mods’ folder and must be in a .zip file.
For the purposes of this article I will focus solely on standard mods.
Note: script mods can seriously harm your game and I do not recommend them. However, for some more complex mods to work they may come with a script file which they need. Usually the creator will provide detailed instructions.
There is a special file in the Mods folder that you will need in order to use mods; “Resource.cfg“. If this file is not in your Mods folder then no mods or custom content will work.
If for any reason this file is missing then perform the following procedure;
Using Notepad create a new text file and copy the following text into the file:
Save the file as “Resource.cfg”.
If the Resource.cfg file still doesn’t work then it is possible that you have a corrupt game save. Don’t worry, this happens and is easily fixed;
- Delete Resource.cfg.
- Make a backup of your Sims 4 game content directory in Documents.
- Delete the Sims 4 game content folder in Documents.
- Start The Sims 4. This will generate a new Sims 4 content folder (including Resource.cfg).
- Exit The Sims 4 and check that the new Sims 4 content directory has been created. Then copy your backed up content data into the new Sims 4 content directory and replace any file when asked.
Installing and Enabling Mods
Now that you know where the relevant folders are and what should be present you will now need to know how to install mods and custom content correctly.
As I mentioned, mods and custom content can be organized into a hierarchical directory structure and for the sake of making your life easier down the line I highly recommend getting into the practice of organizing your mods into categories. The reason for this is that downloading Sims 4 custom content can get addictive and you may end up with a lot of mods and when the game is updated some of them may stop working. These mods might need to be updated themselves or simply removed as they can effect the Sims 4 negatively.
Usually a content creator will create an updated version of a mod to work with a Sims 4 update.
Organizing mods also helps to find an offending mod which might be causing bugs in your game. When this occurs it is necessary to remove and then re-add mods systematically to find the offender.
I recommend using categories for different type of custom content and organizing them in a folder directory such as;
- Mods/Make Up/Female/Eye Liner
… and so on.
Sims 4 mods come with the file extension ‘.package’. So a top might be “Red_and_Blue_Sweater.package” for example.
Download, Extract and Install
To install the mods, simply download a mod from your favourite sites. They usually come compressed in a .zip or .rar file and will need to be extracted but some sites also have them as bare .package files.
To extract a mod or custom content use the preferred method relative to your compression program. I highly recommend WinRAR. It’s free, easy to use and opens almost every type of compression file.
Get it here for free: WinRAR
Note: There is a free trial expiry date however you can continue to use it even after the expiry date. The program will just ask you buy it each time but you do not have to in order to continue to use it.
Place your mods in their relative folders such as hair, make-up or whatever you designate. You do not have to organize mods but like I said earlier it will definitely help you later on when you need to find something, remove an item or update some CC.
Now, just placing mods in the folders doesn’t work straight off the bat. The Sims 4 needs to be told to use the custom content as it is turned off by default in the game’s options.
Enable Custom Content
Start The Sims 4 game and wait for the game to load to the Main Menu.
Enter the Options Menu by clicking the ellipsis (…) at the top right of the screen. This opens the menu for game management such as options, loading, saving, world management etc.
Next, click Game Options. This opens the dialog for setting game specific options such as graphics settings, audio, play features etc.
From the Game Options dialog click ‘Other’ button.’ This has miscellaneous options related to the game. From here check the check box that states ‘Enable Custom Content and Mods‘ and the click the ‘Apply‘ button.
You Sims 4 game is now configured to load mods and custom content when the game starts.
Note: The Sims 4 needs to be restarted for the changes to take effect.
Go Forth and Mod Your Game
Now you know the directory structure of The Sims 4, how to organize and install mods, resetting your game should it become corrupted and how to enable/disable mods in The Sims 4.
It is important to know the directory structures of The Sims 4 and games in general especially the game content directory. A lot of games now use this separation of program files and game files when installing games and it is becoming more common. Should you encounter any problems with The Sims 4 then you can now systematically scrutinize your mods folder or reset the game.
Keeping your game mods organized will become of paramount importance as you accrue and install more and more mods. It just makes sense to keep them tidy and in relevant locations in order to add/remove and find corrupted mods.
In the case you find that you suspect a mod of corrupting your game then you now know how to disable mods. Disable the mods from the options menu and restart. In the case you are still having problems with mods disabled then you know that it your game that is corrupted and not a mod.
Finally, I will leave you with some utilities that will aid you in organizing mods. These utilities will become vital as you install mods and need to keep an eye on them. I will also leave some links to some of my favourite and trusted Sims 4 custom content sites.
- The Sims 4 Mod Conflictor Detector from Mod The Sims: https://modthesims.info/d/561550
- The Sims 4 Mod Manager from Mod The Sims: https://modthesims.info/d/534991
Custom Content Sites:
- The Sims Resource: https://thesimsresource.com
- Mod the Sims: https://modthesims.info
- Sims Catalog: https://thesimscatalog.com
- Around The Sims: https://sims4.aroundthesims3.com/
- Sims 4 Updates: https://sims4updates.net
There are many more good sites out there with Sims 4 custom content however just please be aware that you use mods at your own risk.
For news and information on The Sims 4 please visit the official Sims 4 news site: The Sims 4 News.
See below for some ChartX Games articles related to The Sims 4:
- Sims 4 Seasons Brings Weather, Botanists and Holidays
- The Sims 4 Custom Content – Sims 4 Seasons Part 1: Clothing and Accessories
- The Sims 4: Jungle Adventure Review
Thanks for reading this guide and I really hope it helps you with your game.
In the case you feel I have missed anything, could improve anything, want to ask a question or you feel you need to comment on anything at all then please use the comments section below.
Dag, dag, Michael.
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Michael is the sole writer and owner at chartxgames.com.
Many thought that his youth (and adulthood) playing video games was a waste of time but here he is writing about them for a living.
Michael has a background in IT and enjoys (apart from video games) building and repairing PC’s, digital artwork (Photoshop, 3DS Max) and has interests in too many subjects to mention.