File associations and a Google Earth / Google Earth Pro dual installation

Today’s post is a tip for people that have both Google Earth and Google Earth Pro installed on Windows.

Today, our Google Earth installation updated automatically to the latest version. The problem is that we have both Google Earth and Google Earth Pro installed. We had previously manually updated Google Earth Pro when the latest version was released a couple of weeks ago. The result is that this latest update has reset all the file associations back to Google Earth even though we prefer to use Google Earth Pro. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if you could just use the standard Windows method for changing file associations via the ‘Open With’ dialog box. However, due to a quirk in the way Google has set up the file associations in the Windows Registry, this method doesn’t work for Google Earth.

One solution we have used in the past is actually quite simple, but easily overlooked. The file associations are tied to whichever application was installed last. So if you want you KML and KMZ files to open in Google Earth Pro by default, you could simply reinstall it, and it would capture the file associations. However, when we tried this technique by installing using Google’s online installer it did not work. The file associations remained tied to Google Earth. So, we installed it using the offline installer found here. That did the trick, but apparently when you use the offline installer, the automatic updates are turned off. We then tried using the online installer for Google Earth Pro and it reset the associations back to Google Earth! Google must have got something wrong with the latest online installer.

If you are adventurous and wish to change the associations via the Windows Registry, find the following two keys:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\GoogleEarth.kmlfile\shell\open\command
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\GoogleEarth.kmzfile\shell\open\command

And change thier values to the following to associate files with Google Earth Pro
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Google Earth Pro\client\googleearth.exe" "%1"

Warning: Incorrectly modifying the Windows registry can have disastrous consequences. Please only try it if you are comfortable with making registry changes.

For the majority of people, however, once you have Google Earth Pro, you no-longer need Google Earth so you can simply uninstall it.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.

Comments

  1. I’m still using Google Earth 6.1.0.5001 because it working with great Google Earth HotKey application, and science then there in no important improvements in GE.

  2. Another solution is to change the computer’s “file associations” for KML and KMZ files.

    1) Open the control panel. Then
    a) If in “Category” view, select the green heading “Programs”, then “Set Your Default Programs”.
    b) If in “Large Icons” view, select “Default Programs”
    2) Wait for the screen to load. The first column is the list of file extensions the computer knows about. The third column is the program used to open each extension.
    3) Scroll all the way down to .kml (it is a bit tedious, use the mouse wheel).
    4) Look at the third column. If it does not say Google Earth, then double click.
    5) If you are lucky, Google Earth is listed. If not, then scroll down, select the option to browse on the PC.
    6) Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Google Earth\client (regular Google Earth) or
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Google Earth Pro\client (pro version)
    7) Double click “googleearth.exe”
    8) Click OK, etc.
    9) Wait a moment for the list to reload.
    10) Repeat for the .kmz entry.

    As an aside, we have noticed that Google Earth Pro frequently sets the kml and kmz default programs to Adobe Acrobat Reader or to Internet Explorer. We have no idea why this is, but the above fix seems to be permanent.

  3. Thanks for that! Here’s a related question. I stopped updating either of these, as it broke my ability to geo-tag in Picasa. Can I simply update Pro, and leave the other alone? I haven’t tried… any input you have would be great.



PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.