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Catalina on 2009 Mac Pro


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 5, 2019
I’m wondering if anybody can provide some insight into getting Catalina working on my early-2009 Mac Pro. My machine has two internal SSD drives. One has Mojave installed, and that works fine. I flashed the firmware to 5,1 some time ago. I have a metal compatible Radeon RX 580 video card.

I have tried multiple versions of dosdude’s catalina patcher, including the latest 1.0.2 version. The installation all seems to go fine, it installs onto the second SSD drive, and the post install patches seem to work fine. I’ve tried both with and without the APFS patch. The problem is that I cannot get it to boot.

If I boot into Mojave, and open the startup disk under settings, it shows the Catalina disk as an option. If I choose that and restart, it just boots back into Mojave.

If I remove the Radeon video card and put the original gt120 back in, and boot into the boot drive selection screen (hold opt key down during boot), the Catalina disk is not shown as an option.

If I boot into Mojave and use the bless command to check the disks, it shows the Mojave disk as bootable, but gives an error about the Catalina disk being an APFS partition. Seems like the Catalina install forces the disk to APFS even if I initially format it as Mac OS journaled.

Anybody have any ideas what is going wrong? Thanks!

Maybe this is helpful as well, from the machine's system report:

Hardware Overview:
Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro5,1
Processor Name: 6-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 3.33 GHz
Number of Processors: 2
Total Number of Cores: 12
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache (per Processor): 12 MB
Hyper-Threading Technology: Enabled
Memory: 32 GB
Boot ROM Version: MP51.007F.B03
SMC Version (system): 1.39f5
SMC Version (processor tray): 1.39f5
Last edited:


macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2014
Silicon Valley, CA
Please follow the Catalina on Unsupported Mac thread.
DosDude1 has a patcher as long as you have a compatible video card.
ONLY INSTALL as a secondary boot.


macrumors regular
May 3, 2011
@42towels keep us posted on your success here. I have a few 2009 and 2010 models that I'm going to be installing on, but have been hanging tight due to our project schedules. It may be important to note as well that Apple is refusing to fix some problems that are happening on 2009 and 2010 Mac Pros, but yet they're saying they're fixed on Catalina... They're not making the old Mac support connection since this problem also affects newer Macs, but nonetheless they're being major buttholes not fixing Mojave.


macrumors 6502
Aug 3, 2017
I always just install to a firewire hdd from a Mac Mini then copy the hard drive over.

If you don't have access to another mac you should use the VMWare method described in the Mac Pro forums.
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