Fully working Filevault, Boot Screens, Mojave, Firmware and 2010 Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by seek3r, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. seek3r macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2010
    Figured I'd post my experience of caveats, trials, and tribulations in getting an upgraded 2010 Mac Pro from blank drive to Mojave for anyone else who this might help. The machine had been running El Capitan for a while, and I hadnt been using it much.

    I had updated the CPU a long time ago (I needed virtualization extensions for Docker, also got an extra 2 cores out of the upgrade :) ) and added RAM, neither of which had any impact on this so I'm going to leave those off.

    I started with a newer, larger SSD than I had before (250GB Samsung 850 I had lying around) and a PCI-E --> SATA 3 (6gbs) card to mount it on instead of in one of the bays.

    I picked up an NVIDIA GTX 680 (EVGA ref model I found on ebay), flashed properly (there's about 50 threads on that process here so I'm not going to delve into it). The GTX 680, when flashed, unlike a lot of the metal capable cards that you can use with Mojave has boot screens, which I'll come back to in a sec.

    I tried installing High Sierra directly first, found out that the machine needed a firmware update and for some reason the shutdown button to do it remained grayed out. I installed El Capitan first on the (it turns out correct) assumption that using the installer inside a booted OS instead of booting into the installer might help. I suspect Sierra would be fine too, but I had an El Capitan installer handy but not a Sierra one. Because of the firmware req using an install from another machine or target disk mode wasnt an option.

    Installing El Capitan went fine, but when attempting to install High Sierra ran into the snag that the card the SSD was sitting on shows as an "external" drive to the OS and HS claims it cant install without an EFI partition. If you go to a faster pcie SATA option as I did you may run into this or not depending on the card. Temporarily moved the SSD into a drive bay, ran the installer, firmware updated, HS installed.

    Repeated the process with Mojave, another firmware update and the full install later and mojave was running.

    Now I tried to enable Filevault (because hey, I have boot screens) and discovered that Apple has a check that stops you from enabling it on a 5,1 in Mojave, even if you have a card that has boot screens.

    Rather than directly work around that check I shut the machine down, booted it in target disk mode, booted my laptop off that, enabled filevault, rebooted the mac pro. Viola, filevault!

    Moved the SSD back to its 6gbs card, enabled trim via trimforce: fully working Mojave install, faster SSD, filevault and all, on a 5,1.

    Dont know if this will help anyone else, but I hope so.
  2. bsbeamer macrumors 68000

    Sep 19, 2012
    If basically working around to enable FileVault, be sure to frequently backup your data. Also keep an eye on updates and firmware in the future. You may have trouble installing them without first disabling FileVault.
  3. seek3r thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2010
    Absolutely, though you should always back up your data this workaround or not :)
  4. macsforme macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Great to hear about this super simple workaround for the FileVault limitation.
  5. bookemdano macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2011
    Agreed. I suspected this was possible but hadn't seen anyone confirm it until seek3r's post. Great work!
  6. seek3r thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2010
    It seems like they erred on the side of caution because it allowed them to have a larger list of supported graphics cards for mojave and didnt want people to accidentally lock themselves out of their machines - so they tossed in a check on *enabling* filevault, but didnt go deeper than that (I guess either on the assumption that if you work around their check it's on you if you cant boot into your install or because they simply dont care to put in a lot of work into supporting 9 year old workstations, just the min to let people clinging to them work until the real replacement is ready :) )
  7. bookemdano macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2011
    Yeah, they had a dilemma after deciding to put the cMP on the Mojave compatibility list. None of the OEM GPUs supported Metal, and neither of the "Mac Edition" Metal GPUs (Sapphire ATI 7950 and EVGA Nvidia GTX 680) were still in production. And well, there weren't enough resources (read: $$) to completely re-write the cMP's firmware to display boot screens on modern UEFI GPUs. So their solution was a kludge: recommend two off-the-shelf cards that already had driver support in the OS but no ability to show boot screens, and then put checks in the OS to gimp the macOS features that require them. In addition to FileVault, Bootcamp Assistant is another app they blocked from running on the cMP under Mojave.

    But as you've found out, there are still ways around it. Windows can just be installed manually, and FileVault can still be enabled via the method you used, or by using DosDude1's Mojave Patcher to remove the platform checks from the Mojave installer. That allows you to set up FileVault (well, more accurately APFS Encryption) on your macOS partition prior to installing Mojave.

    That method results in a different experience than true FileVault though--namely that at boot you have to enter a disk password (that you chose at the time you formatted the volume). Then once macOS boots you have to log in with your user account. The method you used is superior IMHO because it gets you the intended FV experience, where at boot time you enter your account password and then after boot it auto-logs you in.

    Both methods end up with an encrypted disk though, so in that regard they are equivalent.

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