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Refreshing a Direct Lake Power BI Dataset in Microsoft Fabric

Chris Webb refreshes our memories:

If you’ve heard about the new Direct Lake mode for Power BI datasets in Fabric you’ll know that it gives you the query performance of Import mode (well, almost) without the need to actually import any data. Direct Lake datasets can be refreshed though – in fact, they refresh automatically by default – and if you look at the dataset’s Refresh History you’ll see there’s a Direct Lake section which sometimes shows errors:

Chris goes on to ask and answer the question, what does it mean to refresh a Direct Lake dataset if you’re not actually importing the data into Power BI?