How to fix Google Earth not Working in Windows 10, 8.1 or 7

This seems to be a wider issue than I first suspected – Google Earth is not working for Windows 8.1 users across the world, as I’ve seen reports from United States, France, Germany, Russia and many other countries. Google Earth did have some issues in Windows 8, as well, but it did work for the majority of users. Maybe an official Windows Store app for Google Earth could save us from all these issues.

I remember that when I installed Google Earth on my Windows 8.1 preview laptop, it worked just fine. But there are some users that have been having issues with Google Earth since the Preview version of Windows 8.1 and they haven’t disappeared when they switched to final version. Google Earth hangs or crashes at its startup in Windows 8.1 and the Windows troubleshooter says that it is actually incompatible with Windows 8.1.

How to make Google Earth work in Windows 8.1, 10

There are many problems that can occur with Google Earth, and in this article we’re going to address the following issues:

  • Google Earth not responding, running, updating, found, connected to internet, closing – Users reported various problems with Google Earth, but you can fix most of them using our solutions.
  • Google Earth won’t load, open, focus, install – Several users reported that Google Earth won’t open on their PC, and in some cases users reported that they can’t even install Google Earth.
  • Google Earth crashes on startup – According to users, Google Earth crashes on startup. This is usually caused by a corrupted installation, but it can be easily fixed.
  • Google Earth blurry – Sometimes Google Earth might become blurry and you won’t be able to use it properly. To fix this problem you need to reinstall or update your graphics card drivers.
  • Google Earth not working in DirectX mode – Some users reported this problem while using DirectX mode. However, you can fix the problem simply by changing your graphics card settings.
  • Google Earth plugin not working – According to some users, their Google Earth plugin isn’t working. To fix this problem, reinstall it and check if that solves the issue.
  • Google Earth search, street view not working – Sometimes certain features of Google Earth won’t work. Couple of users reported that search and street view feature isn’t working for them.
  • Google Earth not working has stopped – In some cases Google Earth can suddenly crash and stop working. This is most likely caused by a corrupted installation.
  • Google Earth not working black screen – Many users reported black screen while using Google Earth. To fix the problem, be sure to check and update your graphics card drivers.

Solution 1 – Use OpenGL instead of DirectX

Some users also get reddish maps and view when using Google Earth. The specific release of Google Earth that doesn’t work in Windows 8.1 is number 7,  so a few users have managed to bypass this issue by getting back to Google Earth 6.2 release. An open thread on the Google Product Forums suggests another workaround:

  1. Go to Tools – Options – 3D View.
  2. On the upper right menu, tick OpenGL instead of DirectX.

It’s been the solution for me – I think it will be for you too.

The culprit for Google Earth hanging and crashing in Windows 8.1 seems to be the stereoscopic 3D that was turned on by the Windows 8.1 update. Updating your graphics card should be able to let you tick that option, according to some users:

When I first came across this problem, I did have a stereoscopic 3D option in the Nvidia control panel.  Since then I have had a new PC with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti which didn’t have the option.  However, I’ve just upgraded the drivers from the Nvidia site and the stereoscopic 3D option is now there, so it might be worth trying that.

I upgraded my nVidia driver to the most current using GeForce Experience software. The stereoscopic 3D option now shows in the nVidia control panel however it was unchecked by default after installation of the upgrade. Now in order for Google Earth to display properly I had the re-enable the DirectX in the options menu of Google Earth. All is fine again.

Users in Windows 8.1 had issues with Google Earth, and I hope we managed to solve them with previous solutions, but some Google Earth issues are present in Windows 10, as well. There are a few reported problems, and we’re offering solutions for them, below.


Solution 2 – Disable display scaling

If you receive the following message: “Your desktop resolution is set to smaller than 1024×768. Google earth requires a resolution of at least 1024×768 to be viewed properly.  the application will run, however the layout may not be optimal,” you’ll have to change a DPI settings, and everything should work just fine. Here’s exactly what you need to do:

  1. Right click on the Google Earth icon on your Desktop.
  2. Go to Compatibility tab.
    Google Earth not working in DirectX mode
  3. Uncheck Disable display scaling on high DPI settings.
    Google Earth plugin not working
  4. Click Apply and OK to save changes.
    Google Earth search not working

This little trick should solve all your problems with wrong resolution when trying to launch Google Earth.


Solution 3 – Recreate Google Earth shortcut

Some people have reported that they’re even unable to install Google Earth on their Windows 10 computers. Reportedly, when they try to install the program, an error 1603 appears, and installation process is stopped.

This error tells you that Google Earth is already installed on your computer, so you can’t install it again. This case mostly occurs to Windows 10 users, because there’s a possibility that, during the update process, Google Earth shortcuts from Desktop and Start Menu have been removed, and you actually only have to create a shortcut again.

So, go and check if there’s something in: C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Google Earth Pro\client or C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Google Earth\client (depending on whether you are installing the Pro version or standard version), and just create a shortcut again.


Solution 3 – Install the older version of Google Earth

If Google Earth is not working on your Windows 10 PC, you might want to reinstall it. Reinstalling the application usually fixes any corrupted files, so be sure to try it.

If reinstalling doesn’t help, you might want to try installing the older version. Several users reported that older version of Google Earth works perfectly on their PC, so be sure to install it and check if it works.


Solution 4 – Install the older Nvidia drivers

In most cases it’s always better to use the latest drivers on your PC, but sometimes latest drivers aren’t fully compatible with certain software. If Google Earth is not working in Windows 10, you might want to try rolling back to the older version of Nvidia drivers. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu and select Device Manager from the list.
    Google Earth won't load
  2. When Device Manager opens, locate your graphics card, right click it and choose Uninstall device.
    Google Earth crashes on startup
  3. When the confirmation dialog appears, check Delete the driver software for this device and click on Uninstall.
    Google Earth blurry

After the driver is uninstalled, you need to download the older version of the Nvidia driver. To see how to update your drivers be sure to check our guide on how to update graphics card driver. After you install the older version of the driver, your issue should be resolved.


Solution 5 – Use integrated graphics

If Google Earth is not working on Windows 10, the problem might be your dedicated graphics card. To fix the problem, you need to switch to the integrated graphics while using Google Earth. To do that, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Google Earth’s installation directory.
  2. Locate Google Earth’s .exe file and right click it. Choose the desired graphics card from the menu.

If this solution works for you, you can set your integrated graphics to be a default adapter for Google Earth. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open Nvidia Control Panel.
  2. In the left pane under 3D Settings select Manage 3D settings. In the right pane, select Program Settings tab, select Google Earth from the menu. Now set your integrated graphics as the default adapter by changing the settings below.
    Google Earth crashes on startupNote: If Google Earth isn’t available on the menu, you can always add it by clicking the Add button.

After setting your integrated graphics to be the default adapter when using Google Earth, the issue should be completely resolved. If you don’t have integrated graphics on your PC, this solution doesn’t apply to you.


Solution 6 – Create a new user account

Many users reported that Google Earth is not working on their Windows 10 PC. Apparently, the issue can be your user account. Sometimes your account can become corrupted causing this issue to appear. To fix the problem, you need to create a new account by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app. You can do that quickly by pressing Windows Key + I shortcut.
  2. When the Settings app opens, go to Accounts section.
    Google Earth not working has stopped
  3. In the left pane, navigate to the Family & other people section. Now click on Add someone else to this PC.
    Google Earth not working black screen
  4. Click on I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
    Google Earth not running
  5. Now select Add a user without a Microsoft account.
    Google Earth won't open
  6. Enter the desired user name and click on Next.
    Google Earth not responding

After switching to a new account, check if the problem still appears. If not, you’ll have to use the newly created account to run Google Earth on your PC. Alternatively, you might want to use your new account as your main one.

Windows RT users it seems that still struggle with this, so if you are one of them, let us know of your detailed issue in the comments box and we’ll search together for a workaround.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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