How to set up Power BI desktop in an Azure Virtual Machine.

On my quest to get some Azure certifications, I learned how to do this.


  • You don’t have a Windows machine to install PowerBI (You are on a Mac or Linux)
  • Or your computer is too slow to build your reports


  • Run PowerBI from an Azure VM
  • Increase the VM power based on your needs
  • Shutdown the VM when you are done using it

Create a Virtual Machine in Azure

Follow this post Create a Windows 10 Virtual Machine in Azure to create a Virtual Machine in Azure.

Install PowerBI on the VM

On the VM, open Edge.

Go to If you click the default Download option, it will open the Microsoft store and it asks you to login. Instead, select download options.

Select the language. Then select the _x64.exe file.

Open the file and follow the default prompts to install. Then start PowerBI.

Test PowerBI with a dataset

Go to Edge and search for stack overflow survey. Go to the current year and download the full dataset.

In the Downloads folder, extract the zip file. The directory has a size of ~ 100MB.

Go to PowerBI. Get Data.

Select File then Text/CSV then Connect. Open the schema file, then the dataset file.

Click the Clustered Barchart

Add fields to X and Y axis to see the data.

Use choco to install other programs with Powershell

See Use Chocolatey in Windows Powershell to Install Programs

Optionally install:

  • SSMS
  • Notepad++
  • Azure Data Studio
  • DAX Studio

Shut down the VM

When done working on PowerBI.

  • Shut down the machine in Windows
    • Go to the bottom bar, shut down.
    • The RDP connection should close.
  • Go to Azure
    • Find the VM and click Stop.
    • The status MUST appear as Stopped (deallocated) (it takes a few seconds)

As seen in this article, it is recommended to auto shutdown the VM in case you forget to do it.

  • Go to Azure
  • Find the VM
  • Left menu Operations
  • Enter a time to shutdown, then Save.

Connecting Again

When you shut down the machine:

  1. Start the VM again
  2. Connect using RDP connection
  3. Windows starts
  4. Work on PBI
  5. Repeat shutdown process