Get Power BI Desktop

Power BI Desktop lets you build advanced queries, models, and reports that visualize data. With Power BI Desktop, you can build data models, create reports, and share your work by publishing to the Power BI service. Power BI Desktop is a free download.

You can get Power BI Desktop in two ways, each of which is described in the following sections:

Either approach gets the latest version of Power BI Desktop onto your computer, but there are some differences worth noting, as described in the following sections.

Install as an app from the Microsoft Store

There are a few ways to access the most recent version of Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store.

  1. Use one of the following options to open the Power BI Desktop page of the Microsoft Store:

  2. After you've landed on the Power BI Desktop page of the Microsoft Store, select Install.

    Get Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store

There are a few advantages to getting Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store:

  • Automatic updates: Windows downloads the latest version automatically in the background as soon as it's available, so your version will always be up to date.

  • Smaller downloads: Microsoft Store ensures only components that have changed in each update are downloaded to your machine, resulting in smaller downloads for each update.

  • Admin privilege isn't required: When you download the package directly and install it, you must be an administrator for the installation to complete successfully. If you get Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store, admin privilege is not required.

  • IT roll-out enabled: Through the Microsoft Store for Business, you can more easily deploy, or roll out, Power BI Desktop to everyone in your organization

  • Language detection: The Microsoft Store version includes all supported languages, and checks the language used on your computer each time it's launched. This language support also affects the localization of models created in Power BI Desktop. For example, built-in date hierarchies match the language that Power BI Desktop is using when the .pbix file is created.

The following consideration and limitations apply when you install Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store:

  • If you use the SAP connector, you may need to move your SAP driver files to the Windows\System32 folder.
  • Installing Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store doesn't copy user settings from the .exe version. You might have to reconnect to your recent datasources and reenter your data source credentials.

Note

The Power BI Report Server version of Power BI Desktop is a separate and different installation from the versions discussed in this article. For information about the Report Server version of Power BI Desktop, see Create a Power BI report for Power BI Report Server.

Download Power BI Desktop directly

To download the Power BI Desktop executable from the Download Center, select Download from the Download Center page. Then, specify a 32-bit or 64-bit installation file to download.

Specify the Power BI Desktop installation file

Install Power BI Desktop after downloading it

You're prompted to run the installation file after you've finished downloading it.

Beginning with the July 2019 release, Power BI Desktop ships as a single .exe installation package that contains all supported languages, with a separate .exe file for the 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The .msi packages are discontinued beginning with the September 2019 release, requiring the .exe executable for installation. This approach makes distribution, updates, and installation (especially for administrators) much easier and more convenient. You can also use command-line parameters to customize the installation process, as described in Using command-line options during installation.

After you launch the installation package, Power BI Desktop installs as an application and runs on your desktop.

Run Power BI Desktop setup

Note

Installing the downloaded (MSI) version (deprecated), and the Microsoft Store version of Power BI Desktop on the same computer (sometimes referred to as a side-by-side installation) is not supported. Manually uninstall Power BI Desktop before you download it from the Microsoft Store.

Using Power BI Desktop

When you launch Power BI Desktop, a welcome screen is displayed.

Power BI Desktop Welcome screen

If you're using Power BI Desktop for the first time (that is, the installation isn't an upgrade), you're prompted to fill out a form or sign in to the Power BI service before you can continue.

From there, you can begin creating data models or reports, then share them with others on the Power BI service. Check out the Next steps section for links to guides to help you get started using Power BI Desktop.

Minimum requirements

The following list provides the minimum requirements to run Power BI Desktop:

  • Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 R2, or later
  • .NET 4.5
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later
  • Memory (RAM): At least 1 GB available, 1.5 GB or more recommended.
  • Display: At least 1440x900 or 1600x900 (16:9) recommended. Lower resolutions such as 1024x768 or 1280x800 aren't recommended, as certain controls (such as closing the startup screen) display beyond those resolutions.
  • Windows display settings: If you set your display settings to change the size of text, apps, and other items to more than 100%, you may not be able to see certain dialogs that you must interact with to continue using Power BI Desktop. If you encounter this issue, check your display settings in Windows by going to Settings > System > Display, and use the slider to return display settings to 100%.
  • CPU: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit or 64-bit x86 processor recommended.

Considerations and limitations

We want your experience with Power BI Desktop to be great. Because there may be occasions when you run into an issue with Power BI Desktop, this section contains solutions or suggestions to address these issues.

Using command-line options during installation

When you install Power BI Desktop, you can set properties and options with command-line switches. These settings are especially useful for administrators who manage or facilitate the installation of Power BI Desktop across organizations. These options apply to .msi and .exe installations.

Command-line option Behavior
-q, -quiet, -s, -silent Silent install
-passive Show the progress bar only during installation
-norestart Suppress the computer restart requirement
-forcerestart Restart the computer after installation without a prompt
-promptrestart Prompt the user if computer restart is required (default)
-l<>, -log<> Log the installation to a specific file, with the file specified in <>
-uninstall Uninstall Power BI Desktop
-repair Repair the installation (or install if it's not currently installed)
-package, -update Install Power BI Desktop (default, as long as -uninstall or -repair aren't specified)

You can also use the following syntax parameters, which you specified with a property = value syntax:

Parameter Meaning
ACCEPT_EULA Requires a value of 1 to automatically accept the EULA
ENABLECXP A value of 1 enrolls in the customer experience program that captures telemetry on usage of the product
INSTALLDESKTOPSHORTCUT A value of 1 adds a shortcut to the Desktop
INSTALLLOCATION File path to where you want it installed
LANGUAGE The locale code (for example, en-US, de-DE, pr-BR) to force the default language of the application. If you don't specify the language, Power BI Desktop displays the Windows OS language. You can change this setting in the Options dialog.
REG_SHOWLEADGENDIALOG A value of 0 disables showing the dialog that appears before you've signed in to Power BI Desktop.

For example, you can run Power BI Desktop with the following options and parameters to install without any user interface, using the German language:

-quiet LANG=de-DE ACCEPT_EULA=1

Installing Power BI Desktop on remote machines

If you’re deploying Power BI Desktop to your users with a tool that requires a Windows installer file (.msi file), you can extract the .msi file from the Power BI Desktop installer .exe file. Use a third-party tool, such as WiX Toolset.

Note

As a third-party product, WiX Toolset options might change without notice. Check their documentation for the most up-to-date information, and contact their user mailing list for help.

  1. On the computer where you downloaded the Power BI Desktop installer, install the latest version of the WiX Toolset.

  2. Open a command-line window as an administrator and navigate to the folder where you installed WiX Toolset.

  3. Run the following command:

    Dark.exe <path to Power BI Desktop installer> -x <output folder>

    For example:

    Dark.exe C:\PBIDesktop_x64.exe -x C:\output

    The output folder contains a folder named AttachedContainer, which includes the .msi files.

Issues when using previous releases of Power BI Desktop

Some users may encounter an error message similar to the following message when they use an outdated version of Power BI Desktop:

We weren't able to restore the saved database to the model

Updating to the current version of Power BI Desktop usually solves this issue.

Disabling notifications

We recommend updating to the most recent version of Power BI Desktop to take advantage of advances in features, performance, stability, and other improvements. Some organizations may not want users to update to each new version. You can disable notifications by modifying the registry with the following steps:

  1. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft Power BI Desktop key.
  2. Create a new REG_DWORD entry in the key with the following name: DisableUpdateNotification.
  3. Set the value of that new entry to 1.
  4. Restart your computer for the change to take effect.

Power BI Desktop loads with a partial screen

In certain circumstances, including certain screen resolution configurations, some users may see Power BI Desktop render content with large black areas. This issue is generally a result of recent operating system updates that affect how items are rendered, rather than a direct result of how Power BI Desktop presents content. Follow these steps to address this issue:

  1. Press the Start key and enter blurry into the search bar that appears.
  2. In the dialog that appears, select the option: Let Windows fix apps that are blurry.
  3. Restart Power BI Desktop.

This issue may resolve after later Windows updates are released.

Next steps

After you've installed Power BI Desktop, see the following content to help you get up and running quickly: