Mac Pro + RAID card + Windows XP on an external drive...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mac666er, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. mac666er macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    San Francisco, CA
    Hello all,

    I have skimmed through several threads and posts over this site and I don't think anyone has anything to say about this, other than the RAID card thread...

    So I decided to post this to see if anybody else had attempted this at all...

    I have a mac pro (2007) and a RAID card and wanted to install windows on it. Since all internal drives are out of the question, because the card overrides the internal sata controller, I was left with the option to either use the infamous 'unused' sata connectors on the left hand side of the motherboard, attempting to install windows on an external usb/firewire drive or as mission75 suggested, buy an e-sata controller and boot windows from there, since he had already done it (without a RAID card installed though).

    So I took this last route and guess what.. it did work! but I am still having some problems, namely that I can't boot if all the RAID hard drives are connected :-(

    I have been using rEFIt to try to see if it will boot off the card, but even though the card can be seen using the pci command, I can't see the device using the devices command.

    I am starting to think that I need an EFI driver for the card in order for this to work, but perhaps somebody else reading this has a better idea?

    A more detailed description of what I did can be found here:

    Alternatively if you have a RAID card and have installed windows somehow let me know!

  2. mac666er thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    San Francisco, CA
    ok, I am posting this as a follow-up that maybe someone will find useful.

    It turns out that the restart issue is with the volume mounted on the RAID card rather than the EFI drivers (at least, that is what I suspect). Since I tried another alternative: plugging in an i-pass cable to the motherboard and then connecting an extra sata drive to it.

    Since I don't have space inside my mac pro I bought a sata to e-sata back panel cover and this way I can connect an e-sata (external drive) to my mac and can boot windows like that. This solution works out as well! And this one has the added advantage that I can select the start up device from the control panel AND also select the startup volume at boot time with the option key pressed.

    However I have exactly the same problem, once I try to boot to windows, as long as the RAID drives are connected it won't boot. I have no clue why is this, it seems that the mounted RAID volume somehow interferes with the booting process (even when the windows volume is preselected for booting).

    Maybe it is because the mac is not set up properly in its BIOS emulation mode? I honestly don't know... Any input will be appreciated.

    Otherwise it is great to have a RAID and windows 64-bit booting the mac pro! Highly recommended!

  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
  4. mac666er thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    San Francisco, CA
    The Apple one, bought it Nov last year when it was first offered on its own at the Apple store.

  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Ok, I understand your physical setup.

    I assume you already know, that the Apple RAID Card doesn't boot in Windows. No Drivers have been developed. That would make life easy.

    The thing is, Windows probably has located the card (likely the controller ID), can't locate drivers, and stalls. You will have to discover the listing it is seen as, and enter the Device Manager in Windows and disable it. This should work, sans RAID of course. And yes, it is a PITA.

    I don't have the Apple card since I found out this situation before buying it. (Waiting for CalDigit to ship, and then some reviews).

    Good Luck.
  6. mac666er thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    San Francisco, CA

    Me, along with a couple of folks back in November discovered first hand that the RAID card wasn't supported under any flavor of windows only after we connected the drives to the RAID card :confused: That was rather frustrating.

    Now I am ok with that, I really don't need access to my RAIDed drives from windows. And besides, since I formatted my windows XP64 with FAT32 I can write to it from Leopard, so I am fine from Leopard setup as well. The real problem is that there is no way to boot into windows once the card is into place:

    • All the drives on the RAID card are ruled out since the card is unsupported under windows
    • the two extra sata connectors on the mac pro are not supported under BIOS emulation, hence you can boot to Leopard but can't boot to windows
    • Windows can't boot from a firewire drive
    • Windows can't boot from USB, at least not directly without a hack

    I needed to boot windows XP as I need sometimes to use my quadro pro under windows. I was NOT buying another pc and a quadro to just do this...

    Hence, I was looking for a way to preserve my RAID and boot into windows somehow.

    I am happy with the set-up now. Fiddling several times with opening the mac pro and i-pass cables is a pain but not as much as the oooooold Quadra 950s. But the real problem is that this set-up it is not 100% comfortable. I have to open the mac pro and slide out all the RAIDed drives so that the windows drive is recognized either by a PCI controller or an extra i-PASS cable connected to the empty i-Pass socket left available by the installation of Apple's RAID card.

    As you can see the strange thing is that even though the RAID card is connected with no drives attached to it, it boots fine. The problem is that when there are drives connected it just doesn't start up :(

    Other than that, no complaints really. The mac pro is really a dream machine, under Loepard windows or ubuntu.

  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I think I'm understanding your situation clearly.

    There really is no simple solution. As I see it, you have a few options.

    1. One would be wait for Apple to release drivers for Windows that work in Boot Camp. (Not knowing when or if that will happen). All I can recommend, is call Apple, and ask to speak with one of the engineers. They can likely answer this better than the standard techs that answer the phones. Assuming you even get the opportunity. (Sorry, too many bad experiences with tech support).

    2. Replace the RAID card with one that will work under Boot Camp. Not a simple solution at the moment, since no card can that is currently on the market. The nearest is the CalDigit, due out at the end of June. Priced at $549/$649 w/Batt. MSRP. (I'm sure you're relishing the idea of spending more money to make something work that already should).

    None of the above solve the problem now.

    3. Try the following. (It should work, but may be difficult).
    A. Shut down.
    B. Remove the RAID drives.
    C. Reboot into Windows
    D. Open device manager, and Locate the Apple RAID controller ID. (I don't know it, sorry).
    E. Disable it (If possible, look around to make sure that there isn't a separate Boot Disable. This may have been added to boot devices).

    If this works, and I can't think why it wouldn't, you should now be able to boot into windows without removing the RAID drives.

    Good Luck, and let me know how it turns out. It may be useful for others who bought this card.

  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008

    Did you ever get it straightened out?
  9. rooke macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2008

    I am heading down the exact path, except I am aspiring to tweak LSI's (OEM for Apple's RAID controller) Windows RAID Driver to recognize the Apple controller as its own.

    The reason I think this is going to work is that the actual driver itself megasas.sys appears to be the common driver for all of their similar RAID cards (including the ones they OEM for IBM and Intel).

    My plan is to modify the oemsetup.inf file to include the Apple RAID card, but in order to do this I need the ID or ID's the card is exposing to Windows. The ID should look something like PCI\VEN_1000&DEV_0411&SUBSYS_10011000 and there is likely to be one under RAID and one under SCSI.

    Is there any chance you would be willing to dig around in your Device Manager and see if you can find this value for the Apple RAID card?

    If not, I'll have to go through the same steps you have. I was just hoping to attempt the driver tweak before I had to put a external SATA drive on...


  10. rooke macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2008
    It seems that the APPLE RAID card was made from the MEGARAID SAS 8408e , just reduced from 8 to 4 ports.

    It is a proven card and was introduced 3 1/2 years ago.

    If anyone has the PID signatures that the Apple RAID card displays and would be willing to share them, I will take a swing at this.

    I attempted the other path that mac666er suggested by using the infamous 'unused' sata connectors on the left hand side of the motherboard which didn't work. I may still try this again with an eSATA controller.

  11. Sharky1337 macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2008
    Where did you get your info that LSI is the OEM for the Apple RAID card? If it was made from the MEGARAID (which has windows drivers), you'd think that the Apple RAID card would have them too.
  12. Data-Base macrumors member


    Apr 5, 2009
    any update on this?

    do you still need some info?

    I have Mac Pro with RAID and I can help you with info and test

    I need to run windows on my Mac for a special program and not through VMware or Parallels

  13. sputnikv macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2009
    same. i'm running a nehalem mac pro, so its probably a completely different ball park
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It's an old thread.

    If you start a new one (particularly due to the newer model MP), and give lots of details to the issue, members may be able to help. ;)

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