I played several hours of Skyrim today until I died and the game greeted me with the message "The save file is corrupt and cannot be loaded." after loading.

This happens whenever I try to load one of the last 7 or 8 of my safe games. Older ones do work, so my character is safe, but I am not very pleased that all my quests from the last day are lost. I took a look at the safe games and they have the same size as the working ones (about 11MB).

I have no idea what could have caused this issue. Since it happened first while I was ingame I am pretty sure that it was no update that broke some safe games. It is also not based on the area I saved in, because safe games of different areas are effected.

When I create a new safe game, I can load it without a problem. Only those 7 or 8 safe games are broken. How should I try to fix this? Is there a recovery tool or is this a known issue? Google didn't bring anything useful up.

1 Answer 1


Edit: I neglected to ask if you are on a PC, or a console. PS3 console suggestion at the bottom (I am not very familiar with Xbox).

PC --

Assuming that you are using Steam on the PC, you can try verifying and repairing the locally installed files.

  • Fire up Steam
  • Locate Skyrim in your games list
  • Right click on the game name and select Properties
  • Click the Local Files tab
  • Click "Verify Integrity of the Game Cache ..."

If this doesn't help you, you could also try checking for errors on your hard disk using Scan Disk, in the event that you have some file corruption. This may or may not recover the damaged files but it's worth a shot.

There are two ways to access Scan Disk. I'm going to assume that you are using Windows 7 and that your save files are on the C: drive, if not, enter the drive letter that the files are on. Steps will vary slightly for Windows XP / Vista.

Via command prompt:

  • Click Start and type: cmd
  • Type: chkdsk c: /r
  • Windows will ask you if you want to run check disk on the next book, type: Y
  • Reboot

Via Windows Explorer:

  • Open Computer
  • Right-click on the C: drive and choose Properties
  • Click the Tools tab
  • Under Error-checking, click "Check now..."
  • Check both boxes and click Start
  • Windows will prompt you to schedule the disk check, click the button already
  • Reboot

PS3 --

Suggestions via Bethesda forums:

Restore File System. Attempts to repair all areas on the hard disk drive where files can be saved. Corrupted data may be erased, which can help performance.

If you choose not to enter Safe Mode, you can manually delete corrupted saves within the XMB menu. Go to Games>Saved Game Utility. Within the menu, delete any corrupted save files. These files can be created from Skyrim and other games when a game doesn’t save properly (shutting down the console before an autosave completes, etc).

Rebuild Database. Will help with memory fragmentation on the PS3 HDD. Note: Using Rebuild Database will erase messages, playlists, changes made on Information screens, trimming information for pictures in Photo, video thumbnails, video playback history and video resume information. The content that is erased will not be recoverable.

  • Both measures didn't work for me. I decided that the easiest approach is accepting the loss and use the last intact safe game. I gave you a +1 though for the detailed explanation of the measures.
    – Demento
    Feb 8, 2012 at 14:25
  • OK, I goes no better solution will come up now. Accepting your answer, thx again.
    – Demento
    Feb 12, 2012 at 18:19
  • This is basic computer troubleshooting. Corrupted Skyrim saves are common, especially with mods and are caused by the game.
    – user598527
    Feb 11, 2017 at 12:33

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