Profiler Trace for Power BI Desktop

Here are the basic steps you can use to run a trace against a Power BI Desktop file.


  • This is necessary to trace the SSAS 2017 instance (1400 compatibility level) running in the latest Power BI Desktop versions.
  • Find the Process ID (PID) of the Power BI Desktop File
    • Open Task Manager and find the PID associated with the msmdsrv process
      • See the Details Tab in Windows 10


  • If you have multiple Power BI Desktop files open or SSAS instances running on your local machine you’ll see additional processes
  • Find the Port being used by the Process ID
    • Open the command prompt and enter netstat -anop tcp


  • The port is under the Local Address column for the SSAS PID
  • Run the Trace from Profiler 17′


  • Server name: localhost: <port>
  • Capture session details from PBI Desktop Queries


  • For example, observe how Report and Page filters are converted into DAX variables and the (relatively) new DAX functions are used such as SUMMARIZECOLUMNS().
  • To go a step further with analysis, copy the DAX query from the Query End Event into DAX Studio.
    • Connect DAX Studio to the PBI Desktop file


  • Which events to include in the trace or trace template and how to use/analyze the data is outside the scope of this blog post but tracing Power BI Desktop is a great way to understand how features and functionality (e.g. new slicers, new functions) are executed.

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