What's the difference between this to options to install and manage packages?

And which one is better to use for regular LaTeX typesetting?

  • They both do the same thing, except that the Admin version starts up with admin privileges. They both perform the same functions for your TeX distribution.
    – ChrisS
    Nov 17, 2013 at 9:57
  • @m0nhawk Agree on the dupe: should I remove my answer here?
    – Joseph Wright
    Nov 17, 2013 at 11:29
  • @JosephWright: I don't think so. Let it stay.
    – m0nhawk
    Nov 17, 2013 at 12:16

1 Answer 1


When installed in 'multi-user' mode, MiKTeX maintains two trees for installed packages:

  • The system-wide tree, typically C:\Program Files\MiKTeX <version>\
  • A per-user tree, typically inside %APPDATA% (a user-specific folder)

When you use the 'Admin' mode for maintenance, packages are updated/installed in the system wide tree, and so are available for all users. On the other hand, when you run in 'non-Admin' mode, the user-specific folder is updated and so this applies only for 'you'.

MiKTeX always reads the per-user folder first, so if you install a package in both folders your 'personal' copy is read. That can lead to confusion if you've done an Admin update and are not seeing a change of say version. As such, for a computer only used by one person a 'multi-user' install is probably best avoided, as you then don't have to worry about this.

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