How to Install Power BI – Guide to Getting Started

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22nd Dec, 2022
How to Install Power BI – Guide to Getting Started

Analysis has become a key part of any company’s ability to stay in business. It informs you what to do and what not to do. Business intelligence ensures that all the processes run smoothly toward sustainable development. Power BI has become one of the most widely used Business Intelligence and Visualization Online solutions in the modern era. Power BI is a data visualization and business intelligence application that helps extract, transform, and analyze data in dashboards and reports. This blog will talk about Power BI, how to install it, and how to get started with it. 


Power BI is developed so that even a beginner with no prior experience can start using it. With Power BI, even non-technical users have access to all the functionality necessary to extract, transform, and analyze data, allowing them to turn that data into insights that can be put into action. Having said that, M-query and DAX language will undoubtedly help your modeling and analyzing skills. 

An Overview of Power BI 

If we want to know "What is Power BI?" Microsoft itself provides a pretty good explanation. They define Power BI as  “...a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Your data may be an Excel spreadsheet, or a collection of cloud-based and on-premises hybrid data warehouses. Power BI lets you easily connect to your data sources, visualize and discover what's important, and share that with anyone or everyone you want.” 

In July 2015, Microsoft offered Power BI as a standalone solution. The goal of Power BI is to provide any user with easy access to business insights. Power BI is a data visualization and business intelligence tool that combines different data sources into an interactive report. Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools to analyze data and share insights. Although Power BI is commonly regarded as a data visualization tool, it also provides a wide range of services such as data extraction, modeling, analysis, and visualization. 

Power BI was once a straightforward analytical tool, but it has since grown into an overwhelming offering. There are various features inside Power BI that all work together to provide a shared and collaborative working experience. 

The following are the primary components of Power BI: 

1. Power BI Desktop

Power BI Desktop is the window application. It is Power BI's most popular mode. Power BI Desktop is software that you can install on your laptop to connect to and visualize data. The desktop version is most often used for data modeling, transformation, and analysis, while Power BI services are used to share the report with others. 

These are the most common uses for Power BI Desktop: 

  • Connect to data from multiple sources. 
  • Data modeling includes transforming and cleaning the data. 
  • Data visualization includes creating charts to represent the data. 
  • Interactivity involves adding bookmarks, actions, and filters to the report. 
  • Dashboard development includes visual report pages. 
  • Publish the report to Power BI services for sharing. 

On the Power BI desktop, there are 3 views: 

  1. Report: This is the canvas page where people spend the majority of their time creating visuals and running analyses. Its interface allows you to add visuals and other page elements. 
  2. Data: From this view, you may control and manage all of the datasets in the report. It shows data in tabular form, which is easier to read. The majority of the modifications and formatting take place here. 
  3. Model: This is the view where you manage dataset relationships and design the appropriate schema. This page allows you to organize the fact and dimension tables,  establish relationships hand group multiple fields 

2. Power BI Service

The Power BI service is a cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) platform. The user can now modify, create, share, contribute, and see the report. Power BI Service is also known as Power BI online. The dashboards are the major offering of Power BI services. Dashboards allow you to display only the selected tiles from your report. The Dashboard is like a sneak peek at the story. Power BI Apps is another popular offering by Power BI services. It is used for sharing and storing multiple reports in one place. It is different from Power BI Mobile Application. 

3. Power BI Mobile Application

The Power BI mobile app is free to download for Windows, iOS, and Android devices. It allows you to view and interact with the published report. It puts all of the reports that the user needs right at their fingertips. 

Aside from these three, there are two more Power BI components. 

4. Power BI Report Builder

The Power BI report builder is used to create the paginated reports that are shared through the Power BI services. Paginated reports are designed to fit on a single page. This is used for operational reports that need printing, such as reports, invoicing, and financial statements. Power BI Report Builder is a stand-alone application for creating paginated reports. 

5. Power BI Report Server

Power BI report server is an on-premise report server that lets you publish reports to the web once they've been prepared on the Power BI desktop. It includes options like paginated reports, mobile reports, and KPIs. Users can access these reports via the web, mobile devices, and email.

Power BI Free vs Pro vs Premium

This section concludes with Power BI licensing. By now, you know about the different components of Power BI. The next question is what is free and what is not. There are currently three scopes to use Power BI. 

  • Power BI Free

Power BI Free is exactly what it sounds like. The free edition is Power BI Desktop. It allows you to connect data from multiple sources, build models, and publish reports on the web. 

Free version provides an introduction to Power BI and its capabilities. The drawback of free services is that you cannot share or create apps in workspace. 

If you want to upgrade from the free edition of Power BI, you can go with the Power BI Pro version. 

  • Power BI Pro

The Pro edition includes all of the free version's functionality as well as sharing and collaboration options. You can also link to on-premise datasets and have them automatically refreshed. 

The highlights of the Pro version: 

  1. On-premise data getaways. 
  2. Improved data refreshes. 
  3. Sharing and collaboration. 
  • Power BI Premium  

If Power BI Pro has all the features a user might need, why do we need a premium? When you wish to switch from a single user to a multi-user environment, Premium comes into play. Power BI Premium improves performance and boosts service storage capacity. 

The highlights of the Premium version: 

  • Larger storage. 
  • Bigger datasets size limit up to 50GB. 
  • Free user sharing access. 

Visit the Power BI Pricing Page to find out more about the latest prices.

Complete Guide to Install Power BI

This section will walk you through the process of installing the Power BI desktop, Power BI service, and Power BI report server.  

How to Install Power BI Desktop?

Technical Requirements for Power BI Desktop: 

  • Windows8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, or a later version is required 
  • .NET 4.6.2 or later 
  • Internet Explorer 11 or later 
  • Memory (RAM): 2 GB (Minimum) 
  • Display: 1440x900 resolution (Minimum) 
  • 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 using the slider to return display settings to 100% 
  • CPU: 1 gigahertz (GHz) 64-bit (x64) processor or better recommended 

Steps to Install Power BI Desktop

Power BI Desktop is a free application. There are 2 ways to download the Power BI desktop application. 

1. From the Microsoft Store 

  • Step 1: Go to the Power BI Desktop download page. There are two options.  
  • Open Microsoft store and Browse Power BI Desktop 

Steps to Install Power BI Desktop

  • Open Power BI Services, and click on the download icon to find the Power BI desktop option.

 Install Power BI Desktop

  • Step 2: Select one of the methods listed above to access the Power BI desktop page. Select “Install”. 
  • Step 3: Once you select the install, you will ask for permission. Allow them to complete the process. 
  • Step 4: Once the installation is finished, look for the Power BI program on your desktop. Double-click the icon to launch the application.  

2. From the Executable File 

Steps to Install Power BI Desktop from the executable file

  • Step 2: After downloading the file, you will either be prompted to install the package, or you will need to navigate to the downloaded file and begin the installation setup.  
  • Step 3: Once launched, the Power BI desktop will ask for a few permission. Allow them to complete the process. 

Microsoft Power BI Desktop setup

  • Step 4: Once the installation is finished, look for the Power BI program on your desktop. Double-click the icon to launch the application. 

How to Install Power BI Service

Technical Requirements for Power BI Services: 

  • Stable internet connection 
  • Microsoft 365 or Power BI account 

Steps to Install Power BI Services h3 

  • Step 1: In order to use Power BI services, the user must first create an account. You can log in with your Microsoft 365 account. If you don't have an account, here's what you can do: 
    • Sign up for Power BI online account. To use Power BI services, you must have a Power BI pro or premium license. You can also get started by getting the free trial. Click on the “free trial” button on the website, and the form will direct you to the next steps. 
    • If you have an account but are unable to access the Power BI services. Contact your administrator to purchase the pro license for you. 
  • Step 2: Go to Power BI services using the Office app launcher or by searching the Power BI page on the web. 
  • Step 3: Log in to Power BI to see your Power BI services, workspace, and files. 

Note: Whenever you Publish your Power BI Desktop report, it will take you to the Power BI services. 

This is how the user interface should look. 

steps to install powerbi services

How to Install Power BI Report Server  

Technical Requirements for Power BI report server:

  • .NET 4.8. 
  • Memory (RAM): 1 GB (Minimum), 4 GB (Recommended). 
  • Processor speed: x64 Processor: 1.4 GHz. 
  • Processor type: x64 Processor: AMD Opteron, AMD Athlon 64, Intel Xeon with Intel EM64T support, Intel Pentium IV with EM64T support. 
  • OS: Windows Server 2019 Datacenter, Windows Server 2019 Standard, Windows Server 2016 Datacenter, Windows Server 2016 Standard, Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Professional, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 11. 
  • Azure SQL Managed Instance, SQL server 2019, 2017, 2016, 2014, and 2012. 

Note: Power BI Report Server installation is only supported on x64 processors. 

Note: Please keep in mind that the Power BI report server can be installed on a Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC). Reed-Write Domain Controller is required for proper functioning. 

Steps to Install Power BI Reporting Server

  • Step 1: Get the product key for the Power BI report server. There are 2 ways to get the product key. 
    • Power BI Premium: If you have a Power BI premium license, the admin portal can access the Power BI report server product key. Choose the key and enter it during the installation. 

steps to install power bi reporting server

microsoft power bi report server

  • Step 5: Select the edition to install, or insert the product key from your Power BI license or SA.  
  • Step 6: Review and accept the terms and conditions page. Next, click the button. 
  • Step 7: A SQL server database engine is required to hold the report server database. Install Power BI Report Server, then proceed by clicking Next. 

microsoft power bi report server installation

  • Step 8: Select a location and continue the installation. 
  • Step 9: After setting up, configure the report server. 

This is how the user interface should look.

 power bi report server installation

Steps to Install Power BI Desktop for the Power BI Report Server

To create Power BI reports for Power BI Report Server, you must first download and install the Power BI Desktop version optimized for Power BI Report Server. This version is different from the native Power BI Desktop that is used with the Power BI service. 

  • Step 1: Navigate to the report server interface and click on the Power BI Desktop Download button. 
  • Step 2: Select either the 32-bit or 64-bit download versions. 
  • Step 3: Launch the Setup wizard to begin the installation.  
  • Step 4: After the installation, launch the Power BI desktop. To verify that you have the correct version. Look at the file name, it should be “Untitled-Power BI Desktop (Month-Year)”. The “Month-Year” part is not there in the native desktop version. 

Steps to Install Power BI Desktop for the Power BI Report Server


We learned about Power BI and how to install Power BI versions in this blog. Microsoft Power BI is a powerful business intelligence application that provides advanced analysis options. We talked about Power BI components and go over the installation process for the Power BI desktop, Power BI services, and Power BI report server. Read the entire blog for a complete installation guide and also have a look at the KnowledgeHut Business Intelligence and Visualization Online  

Let's take a quick look at why you should choose Power BI: 

  • It is the most used data visualization tool. It is a consistent leader in the "Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms 2022." 
  • Power BI offers easy sharing. With the Microsoft 365 service, collaboration is faster and better. 
  • Power BI empowers users. This tool met both beginners and expert needs. 
  • This tool enables you to make informed decisions, control your data, and feel safe sharing sensitive information. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do I install Power BI for free?

Power BI desktop application is free to download. Follow the “How to Install Power BI Desktop?” section. 

2. How do I install the Power BI app? 

Go to the Power BI services and select get apps from the Apps section. You can also install apps through direct links.  

3. Is Power BI free?

Yes, the Power BI desktop version is free to use. But in order to share your report with others, you’ll need access to Power BI services and need to buy a pro or premium license. 

4. What do I need to install Power BI?

You will need a Windows 8.1 version or higher with at least 2GB RAM and 1440*900 resolution. To see the full list read this section Technical Requirements for Power BI Desktop. 

5. Can I run the Power BI desktop on Mac?

As of now, there is no application to run Power BI on Mac. You can still use Power BI services and other web services. In the meantime, you can consider remote share and sites to run the application. Here is a quick video on the topic.  


Kavita Behera


Kavita Behera is a Product Manager at PowerViz and publishes #TheWeeklyChart on LinkedIn. Her specialization is in Power BI and data visualization. She came from a research background. She loves training her dog and creating infographics.

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