An interesting dilemma

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ProMeUpStevey, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. ProMeUpStevey macrumors newbie


    Dec 21, 2016
    Hooked on Fone-ix, AZ
    To cut to the chase, I was shopping around for a Mac Pro 3,1 to do the basic upgrade path with. You know, the whole memory, pop in some new storage, maybe swap the CPUs, the basics. Unfortunately, when I paid for the blasted thing, I didn't check the serial number.... turns out I have 1,1/2,1 tower on my hands. The thing that sucks the most is that the drives were wiped (it was originally a surplus computer). I should also mention that the computer will POST, so I'm not worried much about the hardware.

    I stopped over at The Orchard today, and I asked if I could use a USB docking station with the HDD to install OSX onto the primary hard drive, then pop it into the tower and get things running that way. He said as long as I had a way to partition the drive, I should be okay. Since I have a background with GParted, and Linux distros in general, I asked him if I could partition the drive with Linux, and then install OSX via a separate computer (installing onto the drive in the dock) would work. He said he believed it would work.

    Now, for the most interesting part: when I initially attempted an OS install (thinking it was the 3,1 tower, mind you), I attempted to pull up the boot menu by holding my Alt+R keys after the startup chime. All I could manage was a blank white screen with a cursor; nothing else happened, regardless of whether I kept holding the keys or let go at about any length of time. At the time, I was using a bootable USB to install either Windows 10 or OSX 10.11.6 El Capitan. To me, it looks like this might be a UEFI issue, as I couldn't even select a drive to even boot from; but this is where my knowledge comes to a grinding halt, and I have a feeling I'm wrong. I haven't tried anything else, and would like to figure out where I'm currently standing before trying to progress further.

    As of now, I have an older tower than we intended to purchase, and little chance of recouping my losses with the tower in its current state. Depending on what I can do with it, it might be kept, but I would prefer to sell it with an OS installed. Would anyone have some information on getting this tower into a functional condition? I haven't seen anything with the search, but I also don't know exactly what I'm looking for. Any direction would be greatly appreciated.

    I am currently considering installing Win10 onto the primary drive with a USB docking station, and seeing if I can get it to boot into Windows somehow; but without being able to even select a drive in a boot menu, I'm a bit leery that a simple OS install is all I will need. Again any advice/help is greatly appreciated, and thank you in advance!

    Rear sticker info: MAC PRO/3.0QX/4x1/7300GT/250/500/2xSD/DCFC/APRTR
    Tower SN: G87230PEUPZ
  2. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    There are a lot of problems with your plan.
    • ALT-R isn't the right keyboard command for getting the boot selector. Use ALT or OPTION by itself.
    • Windows 10 is not supported on the 2006 MP. You can do it, but getting it done is challenging and involves a lot of nontrivial steps.
    • The USB installer for Windows 10 will only install Windows 10 EFI, not Windows 10 CSM/BIOS. I doubt you will be able to get this to work at all.
    • Windows 10 will not install onto removable drives. It also won't want to run from a removable drive. There are ways around this too, but you have too many problems as it is.
    • El Capitan is not supported on the 2006 MP either. You can do it too, but its a bit of a hack and I wouldn't recommend it for a computer you just want to sell.
    I think the easiest way out of this is to just get the original installation disc and install Tiger from it, or get the latest OS X it will officially run (Lion) and install that.
  3. aaronhead14 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2009
    I think the real "interesting dilemma" here is the fact that we have to go through this kind of crap in the first place just to get the computer we want.
    It'd make so much more sense if Apple could just make the computers we want to begin with...
  4. ProMeUpStevey thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 21, 2016
    Hooked on Fone-ix, AZ
    I guess I'll clear this up: I wasn't asking how to install El Capitan, or Win10, onto this machine. I only put that in there as that was what I was attempting to do when I thought it was the 3,1 tower. I don't care what OS goes onto it, I was only thinking of installing Win10 to see if it would work. I tried to clear it up by saying, "Would anyone have some information on getting this tower into a functional condition?" I don't care what the end product is, as long as I can attempt to sell this tower, or worst case maybe use it for a cluster. Resale is my preferred route, though.

    To cover some other points you mentioned:
    • I did attempt to use just the ALT key, but I see the exact same screen as using the ALT+R command. Basically, both commands yielded the exact same results. Also, I only have Windows keyboards available right now, so windows keystrokes are my input method.
    • I can likely make a USB installer for any Mac OS, as long as I can find a clean copy. I'll need to either purchase an install disc, or make a bootable USB because...
    • As this was a surplus computer, I only have the tower. There is nothing that came with the tower except all the original internals and a power cable.
    On a side note, I have been wondering how I could open the Superdrives. This is my first time actually using a Pro tower, so I'm completely lost on how to open it lol.

    Thanks for the input, though. Definitely appreciated.

    100% agree! What's worse for me is I'd be happy to upgrade the logic board, and put the effort into upgrading all the internals, as the tower wasn't too terribly priced... but I still overpaid for what I bought. If the 3,1 logic board was a direct swap, I'd be weighing the pros/cons to gutting the whole thing and starting from scratch.

    Saddest part is this is not going to be my computer. It's going to replace my dad's old P4 tower (yes, he's stuck in the past). This is an upgrade, nonetheless, but an unpleasant one, considering our experience so far.
  5. xcodeSyn macrumors 6502a

    Nov 25, 2012
    Your best and easiest option is to get a copy of OS X Snow Leopard DVD disc from either Apple Store or eBay. If you know how to burn an iso file to DVD disc and can't wait for a physical copy, then do a Google search. Apparently you are using a PC keyboard instead of a Mac one, and the F12 key serves as the open/close key for the DVD drive. You can find all your Mac/OS X questions online and you should have done some research before the purchase.
  6. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    On a Windows keyboard, you should be holding the ALT key during power up. If it doesn't work, try a different keyboard. I've seen some instances where it wouldn't work with some keyboards and then work perfectly with a different keyboard.

    To open the optical drive, hold the mouse button down while powering up.
  7. ProMeUpStevey thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 21, 2016
    Hooked on Fone-ix, AZ
    Mouse button during power up to open the drive? I'm surprised I didn't manage to find that one while looking around. Thanks for that. I guess I was searching for the wrong thing.

    For the rest, I don't know if anyone bothered to read half of what I wrote, or I'm not speaking your jargon properly. I'll just give it a shot with a retail disc, write off any loses to the trash, and move on. Doesn't seem like anyone is trying to actually help here.
  8. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    I see plenty of help offered. Just because you messed up with your purchase there is no need to get snotty with those posting here to trying to help you out of the hole of your own making.

    You won't get anywhere with try to boot & installing from a USB thumb drive on a Mac Pro 1,1 or 2,1 or 3,1. To install OS X is very simple you need to boot from a retail DVD & install to an internal drive. Alternatively if you had access to another Mac Pro you could clone the boot disk to another internal SATA disk then plug that disk into your Mac Pro.
  9. ProMeUpStevey thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 21, 2016
    Hooked on Fone-ix, AZ
    I'll ignore your trash talk. I simply have laid out my situation, what I've attempted, and asked the basic questions I need to... with minimal answers pertaining to my actual questions. If you can't help me I understand, and just say "doesn't look like we can help with that info" or anything other than being a dick. I asked for help here because of the research I did here. Did I make a mistake?

    Also, for the final time, this is the ONLY Apple computer I have at my disposal. I'm a Windows guy, family is all Windows, and this was just a failed project. Whatever, I'll find a use for it. If I take it to the desert and shoot it, I'll be sure to post a video for everyone.
  10. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    I'm out of here. Your question has been answered several times over. Don't shoot the messenger if it's not the answer that you wanted.
  11. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

    Mar 1, 2010
    I don't buy a chevy to try to turn it into a Ford, I just buy a Ford to begin with.
  12. Morpheo macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2014
    I'm a Mac guy so I'll left the Windows part for more experienced users. The last supported OS you can install on a 1,1/2,1 Mac Pro is Lion (10.7.x) - subsequent versions are not officially supported, and require a video card upgrade (and possibly RAM as well). Moutain Lion (10.8.x), Mavericks (10.9.x), Yosemite (10.10.x) and El Capitan (10.11.x) will all install and work like a charm but you have to tweak the installer in order to make the installation possible.

    So I would definitely start by installing a supported OS first on this machine, forget anything beyond 10.7.x for now. The only reason the installation failed was because the El Capitan installer detected an unsupported model and stopped the process. You have to get a Leopard, Snow Leopard or Lion installation dvd (or USB) if you want to resuscitate this Mac. Once it's done, I'm sure you could find good use for it, as these Mac Pros, as old as they are, are still solid and very reliable performers.

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