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I have Mac Pro 1,1 (2006 version) running Lion 10.7.5. Bootcamp on this model officially supports up to Windows 7 x86 though people have reported being able to run Windows 10 x64. I downloaded a Windows 7 Pro x86 ISO and checked its integrity by creating a virtual machine and getting it to load the installer. Then, I burned the ISO to DVD on a Windows 10 PC. The DVD is detected on my MacBook (7,1 running a Mojave patch) but not on the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro DVD drive works since it can play movies and load other software install DVDs. Could someone explain why this isn't working and how to get this model to load a Windows installer?

I tried a bootable USB but the default boot loader wouldn't detect it. I tried refit as an alternative boot loader but it still didn't work. I tried creating a bootable USB from within the Mac Pro OS by editing the flags of supported USB boot models to get the "create USB install disk" option to appear in the boot camp installer. It still doesn't work.

I tried enabling access to an external Apple "superdrive" and performing the normal terminal patch to get it to work. The external superdrive spits out discs.

  • Why did you not burn the DVD on the Mac Pro? – David Anderson Dec 26 '18 at 23:40
  • Does your Mac have the latest firmware? – David Anderson Dec 27 '18 at 7:13
  • Can you give a link to the website where you downloaded the ISO file? Also, can you provide the name of the downloaded file? – David Anderson Dec 27 '18 at 7:14
  • The ISO is from a random website. It's kind of difficult to get a genuine one from Microsoft and my license key didn't work for the Microsoft ISO website. As mentioned in the question, I verified the ISO worked by getting it to load in a virtual machine. The image is titled "Windows_7_32-bit_Professional_x86.iso". – www139 Dec 27 '18 at 7:20
  • Are you sure you burned the ISO image to the DVD? In other words, when viewing the contents on the MacBook, you saw files and folders like bootmgr, sources and efi. You did not see a file named Windows_7_32-bit_Professional_x86.iso. – David Anderson Dec 27 '18 at 7:25
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I figured out a workaround that is probably more unconventional and useless to most people.

The things I used:

  • Clean Lion installer
  • A random Windows 7 Pro x86 ISO found online and burned to DVD
  • Doner install machine (MacBook 7,1)
  • Target machine (MacPro1,1)
  • Empty 128GB SSD disk (any disk smaller than target will work)
  • HDD cloning machine

The steps:

  • Swap the disk with all my personal files out of the MacBook and install an empty disk (must be smaller than the target disk).
  • Made a clean installation of Lion on the disk.
  • Ran through bootcamp on the MacBook (the DVD I burned earlier worked perfectly which is further evidence of something really weird interfering with detection of the Windows install DVD on the Mac Pro). I reached the Windows 7 desktop. It's important to not install any drivers as this could make the installation useless when moving to the target machine. Windows will automatically install drivers for a few things which will later need to be disabled.
  • Removed the SSD disk and cloned it to the target 1TB 3.5" HDD with a cloning machine. Installed the 1TB HDD in the Mac Pro.
  • Booted Windows 7 Pro x86 (only worked in safe mode)
  • Disabled drivers for non-critical hardware and unplugged all peripheral devices except mouse and keyboard). This fixed the boot issues with normal Windows and now I could boot normally without needing to use safe mode.
  • I haven't done this yet but I need to resize the Windows and macOS partitions to use the entire disk (right now I have 2x64GB partitions). This is doable but a little harder since Disk Utility will not resize/interact with partitions with a Windows partition on the disk. This is probably because of the different file system. Then, I just run the bootcamp 4 support drivers and everything should be normal.

Hope this helps someone though I doubt it because most people don't have access to the equipment that I used. There are other methods involving what appears to be cloning virtual machine images to HDDs but I haven't attempted. This solution seemed easier to me.

The problem still puzzles me. The Mac Pro DVD drive works fine as it is able to play movies and install software. However, it just gives a finder popup for a "blank DVD" with the Windows install DVD inserted. On the other hand, my MacBook 7,1 recognizes the DVD perfectly. I didn't have a spare IDE DVD drive to try in the Mac Pro but I think the drive is fine. Generally, I've found the Mac Pro to be subject to more issues than other Apple products because of its ability to be customized. I suspect this is just another example. This Mac Pro should have been easily able to perform this bootcamp installation as it is officially supported to run bootcamp with Windows 7 x86.

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