How to Set up Drupal Acquia Dev Desktop

Setting up Your Drupal Acquia Dev Desktop

Acquia Dev Desktop is a free app that allows you to run and develop Drupal sites locally on your computer.

You can use Acquia Dev Desktop to evaluate Drupal, test modules, and develop sites while on a plane or away from an internet connection.

Dev Desktip provides a fully functional test area with minimal set-up required. While setting up your own server configuration isn’t overly hard on Linux, it can be on Windows and Mac. Acquia Dev Desktop is available for Windows and Mac.

  • Visit and download Dev Desktop.
  • Click through the installation process.
  • Choose the installation location for your local server, and also the location for your Drupal sites.
Acquia Dev Desktop Installation Process
  • Port settings. Unless you consider yourself a Pro level user with development sites leave this page unchanged and proceed to the next page.
  • Review the setup and proceed with the installation.
Acquia Dev Desktop Installation location

The final steps to install will only take a few minutes.

Now that installation is complete, you will be greeted with a new screen to choose an existing site or start from scratch. In this instance, I will be choosing to start a new site.

Acquia Dev Desktop - install a new site

Now you can choose from a list of pre-configured Drupal site build options.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will be working with Drupal 7. To install your choice, click “Install on the right-hand side”. The image below shows the choices for Drupal 8 (top) and Drupal 7 (bottom).


You will also notice that below you have some status lights for Apache and MySQL. These should be green. If they are red, try the starting either Apache or MySQL.

Install Drupal with Acquia Dev Desktop

Now you can choose the folder, site and database names. I would recommend choosing custom names, because if you always use the default names for new sites, it will become increasingly confusing. Also on this page, you will see the local URL to access your new site.

Install a Drupal distribution with Acquia Dev Desktop

You can toggle HTTPS on and of with tick of a box on the main display.

You can also access the Drush console to issue commands.

Acquia Dev Desktop development options

If you are having problems at this stage it is because the installation process is not being triggered or the port you are using is blocked on your computer.

We can workaround these problems.

If you think the port is being blocked, to the Preferences tab and change the port for apache from 8083 to 80. 80 is the standard web port for connections.

Now you can visit your site and put /install.php to trigger the Drupal installation process.

the Drupal installation process with Acquia Dev Desktop

Congratulations you have set up your Drupal development area and you can start work on your new test site.


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Erik Lee
Erik Lee
7 years ago

on the desktop – how do we change the settings to point to a new mysql table?

Erik Lee
Erik Lee
7 years ago

I think Acquia desktop has the config at some other location..??
i went to look at my acquia desktop installed folder for:

checked out for any db connection strings within this file & none found.
i m lost..

Erik Lee
Erik Lee
7 years ago

windows 7
could it be in the file? never seen this type of file on linux host servers.

this is what it contained (why is it warning us not to change the file??) :


//D7 DB config

if (!isset($databases))

$databases = array();
$databases[‘default’][‘default’] = array(

‘driver’ => ‘mysql’,

‘database’ => ‘Dee818_db’,

‘username’ => ‘drupaluser’,

‘password’ => ”,

‘host’ => ‘’,

‘port’ => 33067 );
if (empty($config_directories[‘active’]))

$config_directories[‘active’] = “sites/default/files/config_acqTmp-2016-08-23T02.09.54-2345/active”;

if (empty($config_directories[‘staging’]))

$config_directories[‘staging’] = “sites/default/files/config_acqTmp-2016-08-23T02.09.54-2345/staging”;
if (empty($settings[‘hash_salt’]))

$settings[‘hash_salt’] = ‘ZGVmYXVsdAAKlU4irLc=’;


Erik Lee
Erik Lee
7 years ago

Your right – damn confusing. Mine is located at:
C:\Documents and settings\administrator\.acquia\devdesktop\DrupalSettings\ u said – makes it hard to mirror. Do you think setings.php is irrelevant to my desktop now?

Erik Lee
Erik Lee
7 years ago

if this file is not used – why do i get an error in the admin status report:-
Configuration directories: Not present

Your sites/drupal81.dd/settings.php file must define the $config_directories variable as an array containing the names of directories in which configuration files can be found. It must contain a sync key.

i tried adding all sorts of different folders/subfolders – this “error” just won’t go away. Am i adding it in the wrong place (settings.php) ?
$config_directories = array(

CONFIG_SYNC_DIRECTORY => ‘sites/default/files/config_acqTmp-2016-09-08T09.29.36-6798/sync’,

that config_acqT######### random-no folder was created by drupal install.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x