Google Earth not Working in Windows 8.1, 10: How to Fix it


The infamous Windows 8.1 updates seems to be causing issues for Google Earth users
google earth windows 8.1

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

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.

Fix Google Earth Issues in Windows 10

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.

Case 1 – Unable to Run Google Earth Due to a Wrong Resolution

If you receive the following message: “Your desktop resolution is set to smaller than 1024×768. Google earth requres a resolutionn 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
  3. Uncheck Disable display scaling on high DPI settings
  4. Click OK

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

Case 2 – Unable to Install Google Earth Due to an Error 1603

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.

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.

Read Also: Fix: Apps Freeze in Windows 10

  • margaretbartley

    It would be nice to link to a page that told users how to get to the Nvidia control panel, or how to tell if they have nVidia at all.

  • Tim Junghahn

    worthless and useless and MOST BS is on net when it comes to help?? just fix damn problem and make Google Earth and Windows work?? why so much crap??????????????????????????????

  • Tim Junghahn

    nothing posted here on how to solve issue when attempting to download Google Earth