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I am trying to boot into the Windows 10 Installer (7 or 8 would work as well) on my 2012 Mac Pro using a USB drive. When holding the option key on startup, it recognizes the USB as bootable and lets me select it. When selected, the screen freezes for a minute before the Mac restarts and reverts to its other drive (Windows 7 and 8 fail the same way). Booting into other operating systems such as Ubuntu yield perfect results.

I have also tried reinstalling OS X to use BootCamp, but the keyboard shortcuts for recovery mode and other startup utilities do not work.

What is the best way to get Windows running on my Mac Pro?

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  • Are you EFI booting or BIOS booting from the Windows installer. Have you properly copied any Windows Support Software to the flash drive? If so, which one? Jun 18, 2022 at 22:10
  • The only option I'm prompted with is EFI Boot when I plug in the flash drive. As for Windows Support Software, the only thing I put on the USB was the Windows ISO. Do I need to add other files to the drive? Should I use a DVD instead of a USB?
    – sandy
    Jun 18, 2022 at 22:50
  • If you can BIOS boot from USB, then you should be prompted with the Windows option. The Windows option should appear when using a DVD. You should have the correct compatible Windows Support Software (Boot Camp Support Software) on a MBR FAT32 formatted USB flash drive, regardless if you the have Windows ISO files on a USB flash drive or DVD. Jun 18, 2022 at 23:58
  • Windows 7 SP1 should use Boot Camp Support Software 5.1.5621. For Windows 8.1, use the Boot Camp Assistant to download the Windows Support Software. See step 11 here for instructions to copy files to USB flash drive. If you try the current Window 10, then use the same Windows Support Software as for Windows 8.1, but use the ExFAT format instead. Jun 18, 2022 at 23:59
  • How would I BIOS boot from USB?
    – sandy
    Jun 19, 2022 at 1:46

1 Answer 1

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Before the UEFI standard was adopted, there was EFI. This EFI standard is used by Apple to boot OS X and macOS. Many Linux distributions are also able to EFI boot. Being able to EFI boot a Ubuntu installer or live version does not automatically mean your Mac can UEFI boot a Windows installer.

The model identifier for you Mac is MacPro5,1. Information regarding Apple's requirements to install Windows can be found in the info.plist file contained within the Boot Camp Assistant. The excerpt shown below was taken from this file under macOS Catalina 10.15.7. This indicates your model Mac is not suppose to boot the Windows installer from a USB drive. Instead you are suppose to install Windows by booting from a DVD.

    <key>PreUSBBootSupportedModels</key>
    <array>
        <string>MacBook7,1</string>
        <string>MacBookAir3,2</string>
        <string>MacBookPro8,3</string>
        <string>MacPro5,1</string>
        <string>Macmini4,1</string>
        <string>iMac12,2</string>
    </array>

The next excerpt shows Apple does not support Windows 10 for your model Mac.

    <key>SupporedNonWin10Models</key>
    <array>
        <string>MacBook6,1</string>
        <string>MacBook7,1</string>
        <string>MacBookAir3,1</string>
        <string>MacBookAir3,2</string>
        <string>MacBookAir4,1</string>
        <string>MacBookAir4,2</string>
        <string>MacBookPro6,1</string>
        <string>MacBookPro6,2</string>
        <string>MacBookPro7,1</string>
        <string>MacBookPro8,1</string>
        <string>MacBookPro8,2</string>
        <string>MacBookPro8,3</string>
        <string>Macmini4,1</string>
        <string>Macmini5,1</string>
        <string>Macmini5,2</string>
        <string>Macmini5,3</string>
        <string>iMac10,1</string>
        <string>iMac11,1</string>
        <string>iMac11,2</string>
        <string>iMac11,3</string>
        <string>iMac12,1</string>
        <string>iMac12,2</string>
        <string>MacPro5,1</string>
    </array>

The next excerpt shows Apple does not support UEFI booting of Windows or the Windows installer for your model Mac. This means you should not select EFI Boot from the Mac Startup Manger when booting from the Windows installer.

    <key>PreUEFIModels</key>
    <array>
        <string>MacBook7</string>
        <string>MacBookAir5</string>
        <string>MacBookPro10</string>
        <string>MacPro5</string>
        <string>Macmini6</string>
        <string>iMac13</string>
    </array>

I should also point out that this info.plist file specifies Apple's requirements. You can not change these requirements for your Mac by editing this file.

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