Prophet96ix

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 27, 2019
18
4
Germany
Hello, i have some major issues with my 2008 Mac Pro 3,1.
I‘m struggeling for days but i can‘t get it to boot.

Issues:

  • doesn‘t boot macOS
  • doesn‘t play the chime
  • doesn‘t accept startup shortcuts (selecting boot device with option key or NVRAM reset, F12 to eject cd works though)
  • only boots Windows 7
  • doesn‘t boot rEFInd CD, USB-Stick
  • doesn‘t boot fresh installed Catalina from another Mac
  • shows white blinking cursor when Windows drive is removed


These Issues occurred after i selected Bootcamp as Startup disc from High Sierra.
Before that everything was working absolutely fine.

Can somebody help me? I tried almost everything:

  • removed battery for 35mins to reset NVRAM/PRAM -> nothing changed
  • Fresh Catalina Install from another Mac (not supported but should bring back chime and boot selector) -> nothing
  • rEFInd CD, USB-Stick -> didn‘t boot from that and i can‘t select it manually
  • pulled several drives to test side effects -> didn‘t help

I can imagine somehow windows overtook my machine and installed a windows bootloader over my mac bootloader. But that sounds a bit crazy, is that even possible?

How can i restore my machine? I really need the Mac for business and private use.

Thanks for ever hint that you can give me ...
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,606
6,864
It sounds like you need to do an NVRAM reset, but are unable to. In my experience, and others on the forum, some keyboards seem to be really spotty or completely unable to do NVRAM reset.

Wireless keyboards are problematic, and so is the wired slim aluminum Apple keyboard. So use a wired keyboard that isn't the Apple aluminum one. In my case I had to literally drive to Best Buy and grab a cheap $15 PC keyboard, which solved my problem.

Make sure the keyboard is plugged directly in the MP--no USB hub, no KVM switch, etc.

Reset NVRAM at least 3 times in a row. That's like 3-4 times you should hear the chimes. If you are not hearing the chime, you are not resetting NVRAM.
 
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Prophet96ix

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 27, 2019
18
4
Germany
@rpmurray I didn't made changes to the hardware before the issue occurs.

@ActionableMango i have a corsair keyboard directly plugged in to the internal usb ports on the back of the mp. Sometimes F12 works to open the dvd-drive, so i assume that keyboard must work. Before the issue i could select the startup-selector with the option (alt) key.
What other options exist to reset the NVRAM? Do i have to take out the battery for more than 35mins or even startup without it?

I also tried the smc reset with unplugging the machine.

A generel question: Where does the chime come from? Is it in the Mac Pro Firmware or on the SSD on which the OS is installed on?
Because if it is in the firmware, and it is not possible to overwrite the firmware with windows stuff like i assumed, then the NVRAM reset should restore it.
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
9,144
9,789
@rpmurray I didn't made changes to the hardware before the issue occurs.

@ActionableMango i have a corsair keyboard directly plugged in to the internal usb ports on the back of the mp. Sometimes F12 works to open the dvd-drive, so i assume that keyboard must work. Before the issue i could select the startup-selector with the option (alt) key.
What other options exist to reset the NVRAM? Do i have to take out the battery for more than 35mins or even startup without it?

I also tried the smc reset with unplugging the machine.

A generel question: Where does the chime come from? Is it in the Mac Pro Firmware or on the SSD on which the OS is installed on?
Because if it is in the firmware, and it is not possible to overwrite the firmware with windows stuff like i assumed, then the NVRAM reset should restore it.
Removing the battery does nothing at all for the NVRAM, just for the system clock.

MP3,1 NVRAM is stored within a SPI flash memory, 93Cxx, that don't need power to keep the setting like earlier Macs that used a SRAM for the PRAM.

Chime is a setting inside the NVRAM, you can disable it. The default config is enabled.
 
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ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,606
6,864
What other options exist to reset the NVRAM? Do i have to take out the battery for more than 35mins or even startup without it?

The only other method I know for resetting NVRAM is at MacOS command line, which isn't going to help you.

The whole point of non-volatile RAM is that it keeps information even when power is removed, so I don't think the battery affects that. I assume the battery is there for system clock.

I'm not sure what to say now. I had the exact problem as you: Only booting Windows. Removing Windows drive resulted in black screen with white cursor. Couldn't do an NVRAM reset with my keyboard.

But in my case I used an alternate keyboard to successfully reset the NVRAM and everything was fixed. I guess I'd say to try a different keyboard anyway.
 
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thisisnotmyname

macrumors 68020
Oct 22, 2014
2,420
5,155
known but velocity indeterminate
@rpmurray I didn't made changes to the hardware before the issue occurs.

@ActionableMango i have a corsair keyboard directly plugged in to the internal usb ports on the back of the mp. Sometimes F12 works to open the dvd-drive, so i assume that keyboard must work. Before the issue i could select the startup-selector with the option (alt) key.
What other options exist to reset the NVRAM? Do i have to take out the battery for more than 35mins or even startup without it?

I also tried the smc reset with unplugging the machine.

A generel question: Where does the chime come from? Is it in the Mac Pro Firmware or on the SSD on which the OS is installed on?
Because if it is in the firmware, and it is not possible to overwrite the firmware with windows stuff like i assumed, then the NVRAM reset should restore it.

NVRAM is "Non-Volatile RAM." In other words it doesn't need power in order to maintain its state. Battery doesn't affect it.

edit: I see others already explained this, never mind :)
 
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ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,606
6,864
Can i buy you a coffee or something like that?

I'm just glad that it worked and that you came back to confirm. Doing so increases the knowledge of the forum and helps people in the future with the same problem to find the resolution.

So many "macrumors newbies" we never hear from again. So we don't know what happened, and if a suggestion worked (or made things worse), we don't know.
 
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