Disable Power Query background refresh

This article targets Import data modelers working with Power BI Desktop.

By default, when Power Query imports data, it also caches up to 1000 rows of preview data for each query. Preview data helps to present you with a quick preview of source data, and of transformation results for each step of your queries. It's stored separately on-disk and not inside the Power BI Desktop file.

However, when your Power BI Desktop file contains many queries, retrieving and storing preview data can extend the time it takes to complete a refresh.


You'll achieve a faster refresh by setting the Power BI Desktop file to update the preview cache in the background. In Power BI Desktop, you enable it by selecting File > Options and settings > Options, and then selecting the Data Load page. You can then turn on the Allow data preview to download in the background option. Note this option can only be set for the current file.

Screenshot of Power BI Desktop showing background data options.

Enabling background refresh can result in preview data becoming out of date. If it occurs, the Power Query Editor will notify you with the following warning:

Screenshot of Power BI Desktop showing Power Query Editor warning about old preview data.

It's always possible to update the preview cache. You can update it for a single query, or for all queries by using the Refresh Preview command. You'll find it on the Home ribbon of the Power Query Editor window.

Screenshot of Power BI Desktop showing Power Query Editor commands to refresh preview data.

For more information related to this article, check out the following resources: