EFI/Vista X64/Mac Pro 2008

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Infrared, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Infrared macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    I'm really keen to do an EFI install of x64 Vista. So far I've
    had no success. Until yesterday I'd not heard of anyone else
    having success either. Now I've exchanged emails with someone
    who may know someone who _has_ possibly succeeded!

    A few molecules of possibility drift through the aether.

    As you can see, I'm not being too committal at this point. I
    want to see proof first. And if any of you lot have done it,
    that's terrific, please tell us about it!

    A description of what I've tried so far follows. This is quite
    lengthy and probably very boring, and I don't expect you all
    to read it. Still, I'll throw it out there in case (small
    probability) it is of interest to someone.

    First off, the configuration:

    2008 Mac Pro
    Firmware: MP31.006C.B05 (the latest)
    2 x WD3200AAJS Western Digital Sata drives.
    Vista x64 SP1 DVD

    Disk 0 in bay 1 is the my GPT OS X disk.
    Disk 1 in bay 2 is to be the Vista disk.

    Note: disk numbers start from 0, disk bays from 1.

    Attempt 1.

    First I format disk 1 at the command line:

    diskutil eraseDisk MS-DOS Windows MBRFormat disk1

    Then I reboot, hold down ALT, and select the EFI DVD boot
    image. The Windows installer loads, but I get this message
    when I select disk 1 as the target volume:

    "Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its
    criteria for installation"

    I have no luck reformatting it, adding or deleting partitions,
    or doing anything else to convince Windows to install there.

    Attempt 2.

    I format disk 1 in Disk Utility. I select the disk itself
    (not any partition thereof), and make these choices:

    Volume Format: MS-DOS (FAT)
    Name: Windows

    Then I hit "Erase...", then "Erase" and I reboot and hold down
    ALT as before. Once more I select the EFI option and hit
    return. This time the screen switches to low resolution mode,
    goes black, a flashing cursor appears in the top left corner
    but the Windows Installer does not load. Silence.

    I reboot and choose the BIOS installation option and that does
    succeed, but I'm not totally happy with that. Give me my EFI

    Attempt 3.

    Windows has already been installed to disk 1, but I think I'll
    have another go at an EFI install. Maybe it will be easier to
    install over a previous install?

    So I boot and hold down the ALT key. I select once again the
    EFI DVD image and hit RETURN. The screen flickers, changes
    resolution and goes black. And then the Windows progress bar
    appears. Blast it! It's not booting off the DVD, even though I
    selected that. It is booting of the already installed version
    of Windows on disk 1.

    Attempt 4.

    Ok, so maybe the ALT thing is causing trouble. Perhaps if I
    reboot holding down C this time, it will force the DVD
    installer to load. I do this. The DVD can be heard spinning -
    good sign. But the screen is absolutely black. After a while
    nothing, not a whisper. Hmm.. what to do?

    It occurs to me that maybe the options are there, it's just
    that they're not visible. Maybe I should be seeing the
    infamous screen that looks like this:

    Select CD-ROM Boot Type :
    On a hunch I click 2 and the DVD spins up again, and keeps
    spinning for a good while. Something's happening obviously,
    but I still can't see a thing on the screen.

    My suspicion is that the Windows installer has loaded, and is
    ready to install Windows, but the graphics stuff is messed
    up. Proceeding any further and doing a blind installation is
    not something a sane person would do. Or is it? :)

    I could go through the BIOS installation - a dry run if you
    like - and hope that the EFI installer works the same way.
    Then I would hit the exact same keys at the exact same
    sequence in the hope that it all works out. It's a bit mad,
    though, to do it that way. Anything could go wrong. I could
    end up installing over my OS X volume.
  2. Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    Don't believe that Boot Camp supports 64 bit. I have Vista 64 bit installed and running in Fusion.
  3. Infrared thread starter macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    Boot Camp does support 64-bit Windows on some hardware.

    It's uncertain whether that support extends to EFI booting
    of Windows (i.e., not in BIOS compatability mode).
  4. cokersa macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2007
    Kansas City
    I have different hardware (original Mac Pro, not the 2008 version), but did a direct installation from the Vista Ultimate x64 DVD onto a second hard drive without using Bootcamp (which was still beta at the time). This was nearly a year before Bootcamp supported 64 bit Vista. I just put the DVD in the drive, rebooted and held the Option key, then selected the DVD to boot from. Then I just let the installer format the drive during the installation process. I've been running the same load for over a year now (and have subsequently added Bootcamp now that they have the drivers for it - I had to do without my bluetooth mouse/keyboard for about nine months).
  5. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    Bootcamp has nothing to do with Windows. It is just an easy partitioner under OSX. Now Bootcamp drivers is another story and YES there are x64 bit drivers for Vista. I am running Vista Ultimate x64 SP1 right now, works perfectly. I have a '08 Mac Pro
  6. Infrared thread starter macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    And it was a BIOS install?
  7. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    Yes? Macs emulate BIOS...no big deal.
  8. sebhag macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2009
    @ Infrared

    would you be so kind and post a link to where you found confirmation that someone has been successful with native EFI boot for Windows?

    I guess you would have posted an update if you had gotten any further but i still would like to follow this up further.


    @ SDAVE (Macs emulate BIOS...no big deal.)

    Maybe not for you, but bios emulation is not perfect.
  9. Infrared thread starter macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    I emailed the author of this blog:


    I was intrigued by these words:

    "I had to force an EFI boot from DVD after each restart".

    The replay I received indicated the M.K. was successful,
    but it didn't contain enough detail for me to assure myself
    that this was the case. Hence my use use of the word
    "possibly" above.
  10. sebhag macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2009
    @ Infrared

    Sorry, only just picked this up. Had a look at the link and it does sound promising, however this comment would indicate that he's using bios emulation:

    'Boot Camp somehow disables it for no obvious reason, but if you boot into OSX, go into System Preferences, and tell it to boot from your Windows 2008 partition (and hit restart) VT is enabled.'

    From my research best bet seems to be grub2, but haven't spent any time on it yet.
  11. Infrared thread starter macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    Yes, well spotted!

    I wonder if the new Mac Pros have UEFI 2.1 compliant firmware.
  12. kittiyut macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2007
    Are you using Vista 64 bit with SP1 disk to install? If so, you might want to try installing without SP1 (do SP1 update later). I have no problems on mine. Oh, and you don't need bootcamp either.
  13. tdar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2003
    On the Space Coast
    I think his problem is that he is trying to install to a MBR disk type....as far as I know windows requires GPT for an EFI boot.

    Here's a doc from Microsoft on this:

  14. NYCubby macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2006
  15. sebhag macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2009
    @ kittiyut, tdar and NYCubby

    I think you guys are missing the point, we're talking about native EFI boot, i.e. no bios emulation. Currently there's no solution to booting Vista or W7 without bios emulation. Bios emulation makes booting very slow and adds other limitations not noticable to most users.

    I recently read somewhere that Windows 2008 Server x64 boots much quicker, but the post was very vague and i doubt it was relating to EFI booting.
  16. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Any progress?

    Has anyone got any more insights into installing Windows 7 using native EFI?

    I want to try this but don't want to reinvent any recent wheels on this subject.


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