Uninstalling Google Earth using SCCM

google earth 12 700x406

Most users in organisations believe that Google Earth is a great tool for their work and freely install it on their work machines and think nothing of it. Well, Google Earth is NOT free for commercial use and if business users want to use Google Earth for work purposes on work machines, then a licence for Google Earth Pro must be purchased.

This is where, as a Configuration Manager Administrator, the problem starts. The scenario is this, your software inventory reports are telling you that there are a large amount of Google Earth installs on user machines but how do you remove it on a large scale?
Removing Google Earth is pretty simple right? Go into Control Panel, highlight Google Earth and click Uninstall. That’s great for one machine, maybe even ten, but what about if you have 100’s or even 1000’s? This is the situation we have currently found ourselves in!
So, after much Googling and testing, the only real way that we have found that this can be done successfully is detailed below. We must stress though that we have only tested this on the more recent versions of Google Earth (6 & 7) so if you try this with older versions we would like to hear your feedback.
Firstly, you need to gather the Google Earth installer file from Google, this can be found here:
 http://www.google.com/earth/download/ge/agree.html

This will be a small exe file, so on a test machine, you need to run it and install Google Earth. Once you have completed that, you should browse to the following location on the test machine:

 %temp%._msige61

This is the full Google Earth install package, so copy the ._msige61 folder to your standard source location server and rename the folder to Google Earth Installer.

Then you can create a new application using the MSI installer as you would normally create any other application. You should enter the following for the install and uninstall parts of the application creation:

INSTALL

 msiexec /i "Google Earth.msi" /q /norestart

UNINSTALL

 msiexec /x "Google Earth.msi" /q /norestart

You can also use the MSI for the detection method. So, you should end up with a program install like this:

Once you have completed this, you can distribute the application to your required distribution points.

You should then create a device collection for all Google Earth installations, this is what we will then use to deploy the uninstall application to.

Click here to see how to create a Google Earth device collection.

Once you have created your device collection for machines with Google Earth installed on them, then you should deploy your newly created application, but remember to select the Uninstall option from the drop-down like below:

When the end users machines next poll back to their management point, they should pickup this request to run the deployment and remove the Google Earth software.

Although this is not a 100% solution, we have noted about 85% of machines that this has been distributed to have had the software successfully removed – so its a damn good starting point!


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