Resolving crashing and graphics issues

This article details how to fix the following issues:

  • An 'Unknown Graphics Card' error
  • A 'Missing .dll' error
  • A white globe in Google Earth
  • Patches, green squares, flashing lines, flickering, or blacked out areas in the 3D view
  • Any other graphical or display errors
  • Any crashes

Google Earth requires the use of a graphics card or an integrated graphics processor (IGP) with 3d capabilities to run. These devices enable a computer to process and deliver graphics, animation, and videos.

If you don't have an installed compatible graphics card or IGP, the following solutions won't address your issue. You can add or upgrade both, but we can't give recommendations for specific hardware.

For many rendering issues, you may need to switch to DirectX or OpenGL.

Set DirectX as your default renderer

To switch to DirectX, please follow these steps:

  1. Click Start > All Programs.
  2. Point the mouse to your version of Google Earth and select Start Google Earth in DirectX mode.

Set OpenGL as your default renderer

To switch to OpenGL, please follow these steps:

  1. Click Start > All Programs.
  2. Point the mouse to your version of Google Earth and select Start Google Earth in OpenGL mode..

If switching to DirectX or OpenGL didn't resolve the issue, please try turning off Atmosphere.

Turn off Atmosphere

To turn off Atmosphere, please follow these steps:

  1. Go to the View menu.
  2. Deselect the option labeled 'Atmosphere.'

If you're still experiencing issues after turning off Atmosphere, you may need to update your graphics card driver. Here's what you need to do, depending on your computer:

Laptop computers: visit the laptop manufacturer's website (Dell, Toshiba, Sony, etc.) to get the most recent driver for your graphics card or IGP.

Desktop computers: visit the graphics card or motherboard (for IGPs) manufacturer's website to download the latest driver for your system.

Note: we strongly advise against installing graphics card or motherboard chipset drivers in beta release.

Click these links to read about possible solutions to problems related to graphics cards:

Determine what graphics card you have

If you don't know what kind of graphics card is installed in your computer, you can use a program to determine your computer's hardware, operating system, and graphics card:

  1. Go to Start > Run.
  2. Type dxdiag in the box.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Click Yes to the prompt, and the program will begin running.
  5. Click the Display tab, and you'll find the name of your graphics card listed under the 'Device' section.

Download drivers for most common graphics cards

Listed below are a few common graphics card and IGP manufacturers along with links to download appropriate drivers:

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