Setting up Power BI Preview for MSDN developers when own email address does not work

Update- our IT department have now got this working internally, so we no longer need the workaround below.

Power BI is currently in preview, and has just been made available worldwide. Many developers have been champing at the bit to get their hands on it. If you’re anything like me, with an MSDN subscription and things on the go in Azure, you might have experienced a couple of problems getting up and running. Here are the problems I had, and a workaround that has allowed me to continue my Power BI journey!

Note: Power BI is moving very quickly, so I fully expect these tips to be out of date very soon.

Problem: When I went to http://www.powerbi.com and typed in my work email address, it said that it couldn’t sign me up, as my IT department had disabled access to Power BI. Now, I know that our IT department wouldn’t do this. I asked them, and they confirmed this- and couldn’t find anything wrong at their end. Perhaps we have an odd mix of Office 365 and Azure- and with me as a developer who has an allocated MSDN license, I have my own subscription area plus access to other Azure directories. So perhaps this is causing the issue I was seeing.

Lots of ‘trying stuff out’ ensued- and finally I hit on something that has seemed to work.

Short version:

  • Use MSDN Azure subscription to create Azure Active Directory
  • Create new user in new Azure Active Directory
  • Log in with new user and change password
  • Use new user to sign up/sign in to powerbi.com

Longer, waffly version:

In my own MSDN Azure subscription, I created a new Azure Active Directory, and created a new user, something like name@yourAD.onmicrosoft.com

Using the admin email that was sent relating to the creation of the new user, I followed the link and signed in as that new user.

This didn’t work at first- It remembered my main azure login and wouldn’t let me log in as the new user. To fix this, I had to click the … next to my main login and ‘forget’ the login. I closed the page, followed the link from the email again and it worked.

It made me change my password as a first time login, then took me to my Azure page.  It correctly said there was no Azure subscription for this login. Fine… So now for Power BI. Signing in for Power BI for this new user worked, and I could finally access the new Power BI goodness.

To summarise, this workaround has allowed me to create a user login that works for Power BI, that I can use to try out the Preview. Your results may vary!

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