2008 Mac Pro + Windows 7 + XP Mode = VT-x disabled???

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DualShock, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. DualShock macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #1
    Hi,

    Was wondering if anyone with a 2008 Mac Pro is running Windows 7 and is using XP Mode. On my system, XP Mode refuses to run, saying that virtualization is shut off in the BIOS.

    What's weird is that this only happens if i cold boot into W7 by holding down the Option key. If I boot into OS X, virtualization (with VirtualBox) works fine. If I boot into OS X, then reboot into W7, XP Mode suddenly works again.

    Anyone else seeing this? Could this be a problem with my Mac Pro?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Infrared macrumors 68000

    Infrared

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #2
    It's a longstanding issue:

    http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/Enable_VT-X_on_Mac_Pro_(Early_2008)
     
  3. DualShock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #3
    Interesting. I guess this implies that OS X turns on VT-x when it boots by setting the appropriate flags in that CPU register. This could explain why it works in W7 after a warm reboot.

    Odd though, I used to run XP on my Mac Pro, and VT-x worked perfectly. Strange...

    Maybe there's something in the Boot Camp drivers/utilities that also sets these flags when XP (and possibly Vista) boots, but hasn't been updated for W7?
     
  4. Infrared macrumors 68000

    Infrared

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #4
    Some virtualization software is capable of enabling VT-x after the OS
    has booted. For example, there's a VMWare setting 'hv.enableIfUnlocked':

    http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-8978

    I wonder if what you were using before (which couldn't have been XP
    Mode as that's a Windows 7 only thing) enabled VT-x.
     
  5. DualShock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #5
    I was running Windows XP previously on my Mac Pro with Boot Camp. Within Windows XP, I ran VirtualBox. VT-x worked perfectly with no issues. Since then I have gotten rid of XP and installed Windows 7 and XP Mode.

    I don't think VirtualBox was turning on VT-x previously though. If I boot Windows 7 first, and try to run XP Mode, it fails. But if I then warm reboot into OS X, VirtualBox complains about VT-x being turned off also. It only works if I boot the OS's in the other order (OS X first, then reboot into Windows 7), or if I put OS X to sleep and wake it up, which somehow enables VT-x.
     
  6. vance09 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    #6
    mc pro and windows 7

    it just so happened while i was talking to a senior apple tech that he said the mac will not run windows 7 until near jan or so as the bootcamp has to be modified something about drivers.
    I use vista 64 on the mac and its fine and i run win7 on a pc and its fine ,just a re-fined copy of vista 64
     
  7. ariprotheroe macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2008
    #7
    This model of MacPro has this issue with the VT extension when running anything other than MacOS. I recovered this issue when I installed Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 for running HyperV. VMWare ESX and ESXi also have this issue.

    I have managed to find a workaround by cold boot the MacPro off the MacOS Install DVD (into MacOS) and then reboot (warm boot) into Windows and you'll find VT is then on and hardware virtualisation i.e. HyperV or VirtualPC /XP Mode will work fine. However if you power off, VT will switch off again and you will have boot off the DVD again.

    I've got a USB key in the back of my MacOS permanently which has the MacOS DVD image on it.

    Hopefully Apple will fix this when they introduce Windows 7 support into bootcamp. However I have been running with the workaround for about 12 months ago, but its a pain.

    HTH
     
  8. DualShock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #8
    As I mentioned earlier, what's weird is that everything worked fine when I used to be running VirtualBox under Windows XP. I don't know if it's because of the XP Boot Camp drivers, or VirtualBox, or both. I need to install VirtualBox under Windows 7 to test that out.

    Assuming it's a Boot Camp thing, of course.
     
  9. Infrared macrumors 68000

    Infrared

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    Mar 28, 2007
    #9
    VirtualBox doesn't require VT-x. Are you sure it was enabled?
     
  10. DualShock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #10
    Yup it was enabled.
     
  11. ariprotheroe macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2008
    #11
    VirtualBox and VMware Workstation running on Windows can software control the VT-x after the OS as booted, however ESXi, Hyper-V and Virtual PC all require the VT-x to be enabled at boot-time. VMWare workstation requires a config file change. I'm sure there is a checkbox in VirtualBox to enable VT-x on a VM. However I was more concerned with Hyper-V and ESXi.

    I have read it is possible to permanently enable the VT-x via an EFI change via Linux, however I haven't had much luck, but I'm no Linux geek.

    The issue isn't bootcamp related by rather firmware related with some Mac models. For the most part all the recent Intel CPU's barring the early Intel Core Solo's are VT capable, however this assume Apple are getting stock Intel CPU's rather than modified ones (i.e. without VT-x/VT-d)

    Assuming Apple introduce Windows 7 compatible before the end of the year and also the ability to run XP Mode than I would imagine the Early 2008 MacPro will get a EFI firmware update.

    I might raise a support case with Apple for my MacPro and see how far I get, my workaround is OK, but a pain.
     
  12. DualShock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #12
    That must be why it worked under XP for me previously. That behavior does not seem to be available in the OS X version of VirtualBox, though, as I described in my post above. Will definitely need to test VirtualBox out in Windows 7 this time around.

    Rarely does Apple release firmware updates for relatively old machines, except for serious performance or stability bugs. But you never know I guess.

    I think it would be rather tough, since Apple doesn't support Windows. From past experience, they will only support the installation of Windows via Boot Camp, not the actual operation of it. And even then it's pretty limited. I think I was one of the lucky ones to get a free MBP out of it, but that's another story.
     
  13. ariprotheroe macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2008
    #13
    Yeah, Apple support said official Windows 7 support is due before the end of the year, couldn't be bother to argue. I will argue the case of VT-x for XPM when Bootcamp support is official.
     
  14. ariprotheroe macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2008
    #14
    Windows 7 XP Mode still doesn't work on my Mac Pro (Early 2008) after BC 3.1, no surprise there. Still need an EFI firmware update to permanently enable to VT-D (hardware assisted virtualisation) extension on the CPU's.

    The Early 2009 model got an EFI update on Monday to fix VT-D issues.

    I logged an Apple support call, gonna chase every week till this is fixed now
     
  15. DualShock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #15
    Cool, keep us posted. Interested to hear what Apple says about this.

    I still haven't tried VirtualBox in Windows 7 yet to see if the VT-x behavior is the same that I previously saw in XP.

    With that in mind, I think I'm gonna switch back to VirtualBox in Windows 7. XP Mode is slow, even on the Mac Pro. The only reason I use it is for the integration features when running Visual Studio 6 and 2003, which I still use ocassionally. But the slowness pretty much negates the positives of XP Mode.
     
  16. ariprotheroe macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2008
    #16
    I will chase Apple in a day or two to make sure my case is still open and with engineering, I personally am not really interested in XP Mode, I just want to be able to boot my MacPro into Windows Server 2008 R2 and run Hyper-V, but since this isn't supported, there was no way I could get Apple is accept there is an issue.
     
  17. Nadav35 macrumors member

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    May 18, 2008
    #17
    Answer yet?

    Hi, I also have a 2008 Mac Pro - love it to death, but it seems there are some limitations such as the VT-X or VT-D. Did you get an answer back yet from engineering about a fix for this??

    It appears bootcamp 3.1 didn't fix this either.. I really wish Apple would issue a firmware update to allow AHCI for those odd_sata ports though.



     
  18. DualShock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #18
    It's highly unlikely that Apple would update the firmware for any (relatively) old system, except in cases of severe instability or bugs, like the MacBook Pro firmware update to help alleviate problems with those bad Nvidia graphics chips.

    It all depends on how "severe" Apple feels the VT-x issue is. Clearly it was important, since the 2009 ones were updated to fix issues related to exactly that. But given the age of the 2008 model, they may not feel it necessary to use up engineering resources to fix it.
     
  19. gelid macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    #19
    Couldn't someone just write a small assembly routine to enable VT-x since it is not specifically disabled, just not enabled? If this has to be done before booting Windows, couldn't someone modify either GRUB, LILO, or the Windows boot loader to to enable VT-x, then load Windows, or can it be done with a kernel driver after Windows has already booted? It's well beyond my current programming abilities, but it should be able to be done, correct?
     
  20. usbflash8 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2010
    #20
    It all depends on how "severe" Apple feels the VT-x issue is. Clearly it was important, since the 2009 ones were updated to fix issues related to exactly that. But given the age of the 2008 model, they may not feel it necessary to use up engineering resources to fix it.
     
  21. DualShock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2008
  22. ariprotheroe macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2008
    #22
    Rang AppleCare, my case is still open and with engineering. However they weren't overly helpful. Will ring again in a couple weeks.
     
  23. ariprotheroe macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2008
    #23
    Oh they recommended I complete the product feedback and describe the problem, which I'd done. http://www.apple.com/feedback/

    I would recommend anyone read this and has the issue to also do so to get some traction.
     
  24. DualShock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #24
    Done, thanks!
     
  25. abulygin macrumors newbie

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