Google Earth – change location of ‘My Places’ / .kml files

Update: this post was made in 2011 (at time of writing it is 2018) and in that time Google Earth has no doubt changed considerably. I haven’t even used it in about 5 years, and I would imagine there is an easier way of doing things now – but perhaps not! Either way, best of luck to you if you are still looking for a current solution, and I’m closing comments on this post now. Cheers!

When you create drop pins on Google Earth, and add them to ‘My Places’, the underlying information is stored in several .kml files. By default, under Windows 7 at least, the location of these files is in:

C:\Users\%userprofile%\AppData\LocalLow\Google\GoogleEarth

In my view, this is a bad place for a number of reasons. The main one for me is that I use redirected folders to keep my app data on a network server, and this server is backed up nightly. With the default Google Earth config, the kml files just sit on the local PC, don’t get backed up, and would be lost if the hard drive ever went down. Also, I like to hot desk between computers, and with the default config my .kml files aren’t going to be following me.

As far as I can see, the solution is simple. open up regedit without elevated persmissions, and drill through until you find the entry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Earth Plus\KMLPath

If you bring up the data entered for KMLPath you will see the aforementioned path location in there. Completely remove this. You can now replace it with another local location, or a network location. The location must be a complete path; I found variables such as %username% do not work. So, for example, I changed mine to:

\\Server1\Redirected Folders\bobby.c\Application Data\Google\Google Earth

You must make sure that Google is long since exited, and that the folder you map to does already exist on the server (just create it using win explorer). You should be able to copy existing kml files across from the old to the new location, and Google should roll with them. I would copy all kml files only (leave the cache et al where it is), and as ever make sure you keep a backup before doing this….

16 thoughts on “Google Earth – change location of ‘My Places’ / .kml files”

  1. THANKYOU!!!!! This is the EXACT solution I need to sync my google earth places via google drive! you sir are a lifesaver

      1. This worked perfectly for me. UNTIL
        I got a new computer and installed the latest version of Google Earth. The newer version does not contain a command string in the registry called “KML Path” so there’s nothing to change. I tried to create the string but to no avail, because the new program apparently isn’t looking for that string.
        I use a dropbox account to keep my files synchronized and love the ability to have access to all my saved locations easily and seamlessly. Any hacks now on how to get this working again?

  2. You’re a star, thanks for doing this. Bit of an oversight on Google’s part I think that you can’t do this through the program.

  3. Thanks for this helpful post.
    I saw so many answers which didn’t help but this was the right.

  4. Not being a computer user, your instructions worked great for me to transfer myplaces to dropbox using PC…do you have any tips for a Mac?

    Also, now my new computer is using Windows 8.1 and I can’t seem to find that bar where I entered regedit to get to the registry editor in the first place (what’s that called? it’s not command prompt…so frustrating)

    If you could shed some light, that would be great..

    Cindy

    1. Sorry…just figured it out…simple search using regedit and then went from there….thanks for the tips!

      1. Excellent – thanks for sharing your experience. I did this so long ago, I can’t even really remember now! :-)

  5. This worked to start with, then suddenly stopped. I started getting messages that GE could not save My Places, with no explanation. I can save My Places manually to the folder that I have specified in the registry but Google Earth doesn’t recognise this as the one that it should open on start up. So I’m stuck with opening this file on starting up GE and overwriting it every time I close GE for the foreseeable future. Unless you have any ideas?

  6. If this really works, this will make my [past 4 years] trying to do just this! :) Finger’s cross!

    ps Google just removed the $399 charge for upgrading GE to GE Pro for free!

    1. Hi Hans – hope it worked for you! I did see the removal of the Google Earth Pro fee – all good! Cheers :-)

  7. Here’s the solution I found for the MAC on how to tell Google Earth to use a different location:
    1) Hold down OPTION key, click Go menu on menu bar
    2) Navigate to the Library > Preferences
    3) Use a text editor (such as TextWrangler) to open this file:
    com.google.GoogleEarthPlus.plist
    4) Search for “KMLPath” as a key
    5) Default path shown is: /Users//Library/Application Support/Google Earth/
    6) Change it to where you have myplace.kml on your OneDrive or other location

  8. Is there any way to get constantly changing data from Google maps to transfer and update on Google Earth. Fingers crossed and thank you.

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