Mac Pro 5,1 - convert to Windows Server

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Riquende, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. Riquende macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2019

    I'm experimenting with a Mac Pro 5,1 (mid 2010) that has long been a server for a small Mac OS network. I've successfully installed Windows 10 (build 1803) on it and it seems to work fine like that, but given the hardware involved I'd like to have it running as a server in my new Windows environment. I've tried installs of both Server 2019 and 2016 but they come back missing a couple of key drivers that bootcamp 6 doesn't deal with - namely anything to do with networking (and also the RAID card, but apparently that's not great anyway so I was going to remove/replace it).

    I had thought that drivers should be fairly cross-compatible between W10 and its server versions, but apparently not. Google doesn't throw up a lot of help. Has anyone successfully done anything like this?

  2. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    Server versions of Windows frankly aren't great at retaining support for older hardware. You might have better luck running a GNU/Linux distribution on it (though I have no experience with Mac Pro compatibility specifically).

    An alternative, if you really want to run a Windows server, could be to install a hypervisor and run Windows as a guest operating system. VMware ESXi is supported up to version 6.0 U3 on the Mac Pro 5,1 ( You can run the actual hypervisor for free, with some limitations when it comes to maximum RAM, etc, as far as I know.
  3. Riquende, Apr 11, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019

    Riquende thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2019
    I'm not sure I want to go the virtual route but it's something I'll bear in mind as a last resort.

    This afternoon I've found a USB>Ethernet adaptor in the office which was picked up by Windows straight away so I've got a (slow) connection at the moment, but it gives me hope that maybe a PCI-E product exists that could give me a decent connection - it will be annoying to lose a slot (though I'm planning to scrap the RAID card) and to not be able to use the inherent hardware but it's mainly about the cores/ram rather so I could live with it.

    Failing that, I could use older copies of Server, but I'm loathe to go too old just for compatibility's sake as the rest of the network has recently been brought up to W10/Server2016 exclusively.

    In fact, I think I'm going to leave it installing a copy of 2012 overnight and see where we are in the morning.
  4. JJPhalanx macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2019
    these network drivers should work:

    Integrated network card is Intel Pro/1000 EB (this is in MacPro 4,1, but I think that in 5,1, its the same)

    Im just running flawlessly Windows Server 2016 on MacPro 4,1 (flashed to 5,1), but Im planing to upgrade it to 2019 soon, so I will see if something changed ...


  5. Riquende thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2019
    Thank you for the info!

    My 2012 install had the exact same issue as 2016 and I had to put the Mac back into the live environment so stopped being able to test, I probably won't be able to give it a go for a couple of months now.
  6. Riquende thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2019
    I've now given this a go, and it works!

    It was a little bit more complicated than run the Intel package (which told me it couldn't find an Intel device), I had to extract the files somewhere and point the Device manager to the folder with the 'Have disk' option. I picked a random folder for some .inf files (well, not random, it had a 64 on the end) and it loaded a bunch of Intel options, the 1000EB didn't work but on my 4th guess (Intel I218LM) it installed the driver with no code 10 error and when I plugged the cable in it identified the network.

    So yeah, time to build a big silver Windows Server 2016 box!

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5 April 11, 2019