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Ways to Install Power BI Desktop with Pros and Cons

If you are using Power BI. You require to install Power BI Desktop. For the end user typically there are two ways you can install it. For organizations, there is an additional way.

Power BI Desktop is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. One should prefer to use 64 bit Power BI. As the Power BI in-memory database engine, which might not work well with a 32-bit system.


In an organization, you need to make sure that all users are on the same version of the Power BI Desktop. Otherwise, you may face compatibility issues
1) User can not open pbix shared by another user on higher version
2) You may not be able to open the download pbix from the power bi service, if you are on the latest version
3) You might not be able to merge files using external tools if versions are different 


Organizations need to ensure the end-users are on the same version of Power BI Desktop as far as possible 


Power BI Desktop can be installed in three ways:


1. Using Installer EXE

Download exe from the link in the Power BI service(in download menu) or from the link
1. User can control the installation and upgrade
2. Supported on most of the versions of windows
3. No need for Microsoft Store.
4. User can easily choose the version to install from -


1. Installer requires admin privileges on the system to install Power BI Desktop 
2. Power BI Desktop releases a new version almost every month, and users not upgrading might be working on an older version that can lead to Compatibility issues
3. Sometimes users can be as behind as 1-2 years, the version which not even supported
4. User need to manually kick off the installation

2. Using Microsoft Store

1. It upgrade automatically
2. Installation is in the background.
3. No need for Administrative privileges
4. PC will Sync automatically when the new version is released
5. Small download size as only changed components are included
6. Integration can be done using the organization’s policies using Microsoft Store for Business
7. Users are up to date with latest version of Power Bi Desktop 


1. Only work with Windows 10 and onward
2. Only available for Power BI Desktop , Not available for Power BI Desktop Optimized for Report Server and Power BI Report Builder
3. Not all companies allow the use of the Microsoft Store
4. Going back to an older version
5. Lesser control available and not the same as System Center Configuration Manager

3. Organizational IT deployment tools- Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)


1. Best suited for the organizations
2. It can install Power Bi desktop automatically in the background
3. No need of user's intervention
4. All users will be in Sync.
5. No Compatibility issues within the organization
6. Can easily deploy Power BI Desktop in multiple languages


1. It is a bit complex method so can be controlled by IT only or need IT expertise
2. If the system requires .msi file, that needs to be created from .exe
3. If the release is not tested before upgrade to all, all users may end up facing the same issue
4. User has to wait for IT rollout plan before they can use the new version


Hope this can help you to decide what way is most suited for your organization to install Power BI Desktop.