Mac Pro 2,1 + Mountain Lion + Windows 7 = Nightmare

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Pe88er, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Pe88er macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2008
    Hey everyone,

    I have an old Mac Pro and I've been trying to set up dual booting with Mountain Lion and Windows 7. So far, it's been a bit of a disaster. I hope you can help me stop rendering my Mac Pro unbootable every twenty minutes… :mad:

    The situation:
    1. The machine: Mac Pro 2,1 with ATI 6870.
    2. I have installed Mountain Lion using guide. Simple and brilliant.
    3. My disks setup looks like this:

       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *120.0 GB   disk0
       1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk0s1
       2:                  Apple_HFS Mountain Lion           99.5 GB    disk0s2
       3:                  Apple_HFS Scratch                 19.5 GB    disk0s3
       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *500.1 GB   disk1
       1:                  Apple_HFS Chameleon               1.1 GB     disk1s1
       2:                  Apple_HFS Install Mountain Lion   8.1 GB     disk1s2
       3:                 DOS_FAT_32 AVAILABLE               490.9 GB   disk1s3
       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *500.1 GB   disk2
       1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk2s1
       2:                 DOS_FAT_32 AVAILABLE               499.8 GB   disk2s2

    Facts and questions:
    1. As you can see, I have two disks available: disk1s3 and disk2s2. Which should I install to? I tried with disk1s3 and failed miserably.
    2. I know that Chameleon won't boot off of a USB stick, so I probably should restore Windows 7 DVD onto disk1s2 partition. Is that right?
    3. ATI 6870 = no Bootcamp boot screen.
    4. Bootcamp Assistant doesn't work on this machine at all (throws "You must update your computer's Boot ROM firmware before using this setup assistant.")
    5. I tried installing Win7 via Parallels and didn't manage to make the partition appear in Chameleon bootloader.

    Can anyone give me any pointers on how to achieve dual booting in this setup please? I am kind of tired of trial and error method…like I said, I've rendered my computer unbootable a number of times over the past few days, I want this nightmare to stop :)

    Thanks in advance!

    TL;DR — Mac Pro 2,1 with Mountain Lion, I can't figure out how to dual boot Windows 7. Please help, I'm at my wit's end!
  2. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    That's vague. I don't see how you're going to get help without saying precisely how it failed.

    Have you read the Boot Camp Installation & Setup Guide? Did you read the part about removing additional hard drives, except the one drive you want to install Windows to? This is just for installation.

    This is almost certainly the result of having more the one drive in the computer while you're trying to run BCA. It's a bogus error message, totally unintuitive, but that's my vague recollection of the problem.

    The video problems I'm not sure about, but if this is a computer that can boot the Windows 7 installer off a USB stick, it might be that BCA adds supporting video drivers when creating the USB stick. So if you haven't tried the USB stick method, you might give that a shot - *shrug*.

    I suggest you read the documentation, and follow it precisely, and then post back exactly what step you're getting a failure at.
  3. Pe88er thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2008
    I'm sorry I wasn't precise enough in OP. I guess I didn't want to make an already lengthy post a total wall of text :) The issues I encountered:

    1. Windows 7 installer refused to format the partition as NTFS.
    2. Windows 7 installer said it formatted it as NTFS but in reality it didn't (still showed up as FAT32)
    3. Formatting caused strange things to happen — partition was showing up as gibberish in diskutil or I wasn't able to mount it in OS X at all.
    4. Parallels was throwing errors about the partition being write protected (Googled that, no definite answers found)
    5. diskpart hung itself when I tried to format the partition with it.

    I finally managed to install Windows 7 to that partition and it rendered my machine unbootable. I guess that Windows simply overwrote Chameleon's boot loader. I had to replace my video card with the old one, boot off the Lion installer USB → reinstall Chameleon → fix MBR → bless the partition and finally managed to boot back to ML. However, afterwards I was not able to make Chameleon notice the Windows partition. This is the point where I hit the wall, there just doesn't seem to be any information about it on the web or I am blind…

    I have read that, yes. However, I can't do that as of now because it would require booting off a USB stick and two things prevent me from doing that: 1) Chameleon doesn't see USB sticks on boot and 2) I can't see the Apple boot screen because of my video card.

    Would the solution be to replace my video card with the old 1900XT just for Windows installation?

    That's a very interesting point of view, thank you. I was under the impression that the cause is running Mountain Lion on an unsupported OS, but I may be wrong.

    It's not going to happen… I did create the Win7 installer USB stick with BCA. Chameleon doesn't see bootable USB sticks at all and Apple's boot menu doesn't appear at all and even trying to select the stick blindly doesn't work.
  4. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    Installing another boot loader is not at all part of the instructions in the official documentation. Until you do this exactly as documented you don't know whether these unsupported additions are the source of the problem.

    I don't understand why you're wasting so much time doing this in a completely undocumented manner, and wondering why it doesn't work. Follow the documentation exactly. Stop using 3rd party tools, subtracted from or adding to the official instructions. And then report back on exactly where the failure occurs, if it still fails.

    Leave the ATI 6870 in the Mac Pro. Remove all except one hard drive. Boot directly off a Windows install DVD.

    If you're booting off a Boot Camp Assistant made USB stick, it's inserting graphics drivers for cards Apple's familiar with and that may be why this doesn't work. But you still need to have one drive in the computer, it's a CSM-BIOS limitation.

    Possibly, if booting from a Windows install DVD doesn't work.

    Running Mountain Lion on an unsupported OS? What does that mean? What is unsupported?

    It obviously hasn't occurred to you that Chameleon may be the source of the problem. You seem to think that instructions that say removing all drives is for everyone else but you're exempt for some reason. It's mystifying how people who don't follow instructions and yet are stuck with something not working somehow don't think the problem is that they aren't following directions. It's pretty weird.
  5. Pe88er thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2008
    I think you might have missed one crucial factor, which makes my setup non-standard and forces me to attempt unsupported methods: my machine is a Mac Pro 2,1. It does not support Mountain Lion because it doesn't come with 64-bit EFI. Therefore I have to use Chameleon in order to install and then boot ML. Taking drives out doesn't make sense because of my setup (see OP) And I probably forgot to mention that a DVD installer is out of the question, as my SuperDrive is busted (it's a 5-year old computer after all)

    If you're planning to continue writing in such tone, can I ask you to stop replying in this thread? You are being hardly helpful and I don't appreciate your assumptions and innuendos. Please leave and be negative elsewhere.
  6. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    Mountain Lion has nothing to do with booting Windows. Mountain Lion's boot loader needs 64-bit EFI, but Windows 7 does not. It will use the CSM-BIOS, not EFI. Taking drives out in your setup, or any other setup, is a requirement for installing Windows. I've said this now three times. You read it in the instructions. You continue to resist this. You do not need any instance of OS X, or an OS X boot loader present in order to boot and install Windows, in fact that is likely what's inhibiting the installation. You can find this forum and Apple's forums littered with the same problems you're having by people refusing to follow directions and remove all of the drives as if this is something totally random or superfluous to piss users off.

    You can ask, but your request will be declined. I get condescending with obstinate users begging for help "at wit's end" who then won't f'n follow advice and directions. It's rude, arrogant, and irritating. So if I'm becoming rude, arrogant and irritating it's because I'm following your lead.

    Right. Looks like you have a lot of other people clamoring to help you with your problem.


    Actually, I think you might be screwed. The Mac Pro CSM-BIOS almost certainly does not support USB booting. My Macbook Pro 4,1 which is two years newer than your Mac Pro can EFI boot USB but cannot CSM-BIOS boot USB. This is a firmware limitation.

    You're probably going to need to find an internal optical drive, or move one of the hard drives to another computer or give up and just using Windows in a VM.
  7. Pe88er thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2008
    Thanks for your reply, especially the bit on the bottom. Looks like you were able to figure out the root of my problem, even though I wasn't able to express it properly myself. I didn't enjoy this 'dispute' one bit, so I'm happy we're starting to focus on the topic instead of being rude to each other :)

    Anyway, my current plan is:

    1. Install 1900XT video card, so I can see the Apple's boot menu.
    2. Restore Windows 7 installer onto a partition.
    3. Remove OS X hard drive.
    4. Try to boot from that partition and install Windows 7.

    Is there a chance you can give me advice on how to achieve #2? unetbootbin won't work, as it is able to target USB sticks only. Maybe I should install Windows in a VM and then use Windows 7 USB/DVD Tool?
  8. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    I don't know how this can work. A DVD ISO has a different sector size than a hard drive, so unless the ISO is specifically designed to be written to something with 512 byte sectors, such as a USB stick, I don't see how this works.

    Virtual Box will let you specify a whole disk or partition, and you can directly install Windows 7 that way. I haven't tried this but as long as you give it access to the whole drive, the Windows 7 installer should partition the disk MBR only, write the MBR bootloader, and the resulting disk should be bootable. In fact it should be possible to do this without removing the video card or hard drives.

    I don't believe there is a GUI in VirtualBox for setting this up though. I see in VirtualBox 4.2.4's user manual, section 9.8.1 "Using a raw host hard disk from a guest" is the applicable section. If I read this right, you create a VMDK file (e.g. in your home folder) which contains the metadata to point to the physical disk drive. I think you create the VMDK that points to the physical disk with the command line. And then you can use the GUI to load that VMDK into a virtual machine which will then tell the VM to use the physical disk.

    VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename ~/hitachiblahblahwindows7.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/diskX

    You can find the value for X with 'diskutil list' and making sure you pick the correct drive because whatever you pick here in short order will be obliterated with the Windows installer. Also note that this diskX designation is *NOT* guaranteed to be the same between reboots. Presumably the VMDK contains the disk's UUID so that it always points to the correct disk regardless of what dev designation it gets from the OS at boot time. So just make sure that you use 'diskutil list' to get the diskX designation for the target drive, and then immediately create the VMDK, (there's no good reason to reboot in between these two commands, but if you did you might end up assigning the wrong disk to the VMDK).

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