Running Windows on an Xserve

Discussion in 'macOS' started by asql2580, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. asql2580 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #1
    I've got an early 2008 Xserve (2x 2.8ghz xeon quad cores) that is up and running with High Sierra 10.13.3. I'm now trying to install Windows (10 or 7, doesn't matter) on a separate hdd but for the life of me can't get it to work... Whenever I try to boot from a USB drive to install, it either doesn't show up (win7) in the boot menu or only shows up as an EFI boot disk (win10). I've also tried burning the iso to a DVD, but it won't boot from that either.

    My next attempt involved hooking the hdd up to an old machine and installing win10 directly on it. When I put it back in the xserve, I still can't boot from it (and get the bless tool error when I try to select it as the boot disk). BUT, I am able to start and run it as a virtual machine with VMware fusion.

    So needless to say, I'm thoroughly confused. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd appreciate the help.
    Oh, I almost forgot... bootcamp is a no-go despite trying to add my machine to info.plist
     
  2. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 68000

    Darmok N Jalad

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Location:
    Tanagra
    #2
    Have you made the USB with the Bootcamp drivers, have it inserted, and are you using Bootcamp to get started? Also, make sure you remove all other hard drives on the first reboot when attempting to install Windows.
     
  3. asql2580 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2018
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    Charlotte, NC
    #3
    No, since the Xserve is unsupported, I can’t use bootcamp. But even if I could, bootable disks don’t show up when I option-boot
     
  4. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Post Falls, ID
    #4
    The xserve does not have the bios emulation layer apple uses to boot windows. I'm not sure what EFI implementation apple used in the 2008 xserve, but I assume the same as the 2008 mac pro. I have windows on it but it's in bios mode. I do however have a 2009 MacBook running Windows 10 in full EFI with AHCI. That is what you will have to do in order for Windows to run natively on that. The problem is that those earlier EFI implementations apple used are not always compatible with Windows. But people have the most luck with Windows 10.

    And don't worry about boot camp software at all using EFI mode, Windows will find the drivers on its own and if it doesn't find a certain device, just install download and install it manually. Windows doesn't know or care that it's a mac, it's just another PC with Windows installed.
     
  5. asql2580 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2018
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    Charlotte, NC
    #5
    Ok that’s what I thought. What do I need to do to boot the BIOS installer for windows 10? I’ve tried several boot disk making programs (with usb drives and dvds) but they always only show up as the efi installer. I’ve tried rEFIt with no luck either
     
  6. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Post Falls, ID
    #6
    Windows 10 should support EFI, you need to make sure the image you're using has EFI. In option it'll be called "EFI Boot".
     
  7. asql2580 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #7
    Update: I set up the flash drive for EFI only and it shows up in the boot menu, but when I choose it, the screen goes black for ~45 seconds, then it reboots (windows installer never shows up). Could the issue be the SAS interface the main bays use? All 3 drives I have are SATA but in the system profiler, they come up as SAS.
     
  8. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Post Falls, ID
    #8
    I would say the issue is EFI compatibility. I have a 2008 macpro, with the dual 2.8s. Basicially the same system as yours only in desktop form. I ended up installing windows 10 in bios mode, as the windows installer was having too many issues with EFI on the thing. If you had a 2009 xserve, it would almost certainly work. But the EFI version on 2008s and below seem to be buggy for every OS other than Mac OS X.

    Though I wouldn't completely rule out the SAS controller either. The drives are SATA yes, but the drawers the drives sit in are SAS. as far as the computer is concerned theyre SAS. Like an external USB hard drive might be a SATA drive, but the computer sees it as a USB drive.

    I was never able to successfully install windows on my xserve, but it is a 2006 model xserve 1,1 with even worse EFI thats 32bit. Ran it in vmware pretty quickly though.
     

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7 March 12, 2018