Tips on Windows 7 and The Mac Pro (READ BEFORE YOU BUY)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by slughead, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    I have *the first* mac pro (2006). Windows 7 64bit, though still windows, is worth upgrading to from vista or XP, especially if you can get it for cheap.

    First off, Windows 7 will apparently install on top of [pirated or not pirated] versions of XP corporate (AKA 'XP Volume'--no activation required). You can therefore install XP corporate, purchase the $30 Win7 upgrade (this is a seriously limited time offer, apparently), format, and you'll be good to go. This is what I did. I ended up paying $30 for windows 7 64.

    I'd Recommend Win7 64bit. You're silly not to if you have a mac pro.

    M$ now lets you download Windows 7 once you buy it. In order to install windows 7 64 bit, however, you must install from a bootable win7 64bit disk.

    In order to get a bootable disk, you need to download the ISO, get a physical copy though the mail ($13 extra), or do what I did and convert the 'setup' folder into an ISO you can burn in Disk Utility (or in windows..

    To do that, you must go through these steps (this takes 5 minutes and must be done from within Windows).:

    Note that the " oscdimg.exe" file is a broken link so you'll have to google the filename. I found it here:,g/oscdimg.html

    Once booted into windows 7, you may want to install the bootcamp 3.0 64bit drivers. This would be a bad idea, and the installer will stop you from doing it. Bootcamp does not currently support windows 7, and until they do you have to hack to install it (like I did).

    My results were bad: I got 2 BSOD because of the AppleHFS.sys driver (allows you to access your HFS+ formatted drives from within windows). Luckily they were spaced far enough apart where I could copy my 13GB backup files from my HFS drives to the NTFS partition (you may not be so lucky). I then went into "add/remove programs" control panel and erased bootcamp. I may have been able to get by with just deleting the AppleHFS.sys driver, but I didn't care to risk it.

    However, if you don't want to listen to reason, you can install the bootcamp 3.0 drivers anyway Simply insert the snow leopard dvd, search for 'command', right click on the command prompt, 'open with administrator privileges', and then type

    cd "Boot Camp\Drivers\Apple"
    msiexec /i BootCamp64.msi​

    This will force the installer to run.

    Note that d: is the letter of your dvd drive. It may be E:, F:, g, depending on how many drives you have hooked up. The "CD" command should throw a "not found" error if you've got the wrong drive.

    After you're done jumping through all these hoops, make sure to MANUALLY run windows update (click 'start' and search for it), and click on the OPTIONAL updates and install those as well. This will probably get your sound and whatnot working. Yes the ethernet driver was included, so I didn't have to mess with that.

    I have an 8800 and had to go to NVidia's site to get the most recent driver. You may have to as well.

    Currently my windows 7 mac pro is running fine. It runs multiple monitors and games better than XP. It's very VERY fast. I'd recommend it if you have important things to do (like, in my case, video games).

    Fanboys aside, this is an excellent OS, and if you can get the $30 upgrade price, it's way more of a step forward than Snow Leopard was over 10.5.
  2. iamcheerful macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2008
    don't think i'll be installing w7 bootcamp anytime soon. but kudos for this detailed tutorial.

    i'm sure there're users who'll appreciate the step-by-step you painstakingly penned.

  3. smacman macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2006
    Nice tutorial. One question though. I saw a thread recently talking about AHCI drivers for Windows 7. Does something have to be done in order to get normal disk performance on a Mac Pro?

  4. slughead thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    I read that yesterday--someone installed the AHCI drivers in win7. I know with windows XP you had to install all that junk (biggest pain ever), but Windows 7 I'm not so sure. Maybe the guy was confused and thought Win7 had the same problem as XP.

    I'm not sure why people are installing those drivers. I was getting 25Mbytes/second transfer speed between drives on a fresh install so if it's "not normal" now, I don't know what is.
  5. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    You mainly need AHCI mode to boot Windows from one of the ODD SATA ports. People use these to save their other ports for more space or mirroring or backup.
  6. slughead thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    Makes sense. Probably not worth it for those of us who don't use those ports within windows though, right?
  7. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    Hey, slughead, thanks for the info. Paid for and downloaded my copy of Win7 (I'm actually a student, though :)) and just got it installed a little bit ago. Looks and feels far nicer (and smoother) than XP ever did. Now to just get the extra power cord for my 4890. *laughs*
  8. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    Can anybody please provide a link to this 30$ upgrade offer?
  9. 21ce macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2009

    I've had 64-bit windows 7 professional on my 2006 mac pro since released (few days after) Via bootcamp. I know I didn't just "get lucky" but I did not have any errors, I burned the image via toast titanium and just popped it in when bootcamp requested. (Snow Leopard)
  10. Infrared macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    You can copy the files in the ISO to a FAT partition and boot off
    that. That's what I do. Much faster than installing from a DVD.
    You just need to make sure you have a valid volume boot record
    for that partition. 'bootsect /nt60 X:' can give you one, where X
    is the so-called drive letter. I never install from DVDs these days
    as it's much faster to install from the hard drive. E.g., I installed
    Snow Leopard in 4 minutes :)

    Yep. Bad idea. One hardly needs any Apple drivers as long as one
    doesn't mind sacrificing the brightness keys (really necessary with
    an external monitor?) and the eject key (eject can be done from
    Explorer). This will turn F13-F15 on an aluminum keyboard into the
    volume up/down/mute keys:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
    "Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,05,00,00,00, 20,e0,66,00, 2e,e0,65,00, 30,e0,64,00, 37,e0,6a,00, 00,00,00,00
    To use save as a file with a '.reg' extension and double-click on it.
    To change the startup volume hold down CTRL when selecting the
    OS to boot from. That's it. Mac Pro aside, nothing Apple needed :)

    AHCI is significantly easier to set up with Windows 7. Windows 7 has
    built-in support for AHCI, which XP didn't have. It is just a matter of
    setting a registry key to make sure the driver is loaded.

    One nice thing about Windows 7 is that you can upgrade the driver
    version without rebooting (as long as the WDDM version is the same).
  11. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    I would caution users on that issue. According to my tests you still need to patch the MBR or your Windows installation may become unusable. I would recommend to set at least a recovery point before activating an AHCI driver in Win7. That way you can recover your installation with legacy driver in case you run into trouble.

    This sounds very plausible. IMO the registry patch is usually done by going from 4 -> 0. This is where the method is probably imperfect. I believe by doing so you still get blue screens. At least I used to get them with Vista. Vista isn't so different to Win7.

    I could imagine that changing the value from 4 -> 3 would do the trick. It needs some experimentation.

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