May 19, 2009

Installing Windows 7 x64 on a Mac Pro (Late 2006)

If you’re trying to install the 64-bit version of Windows 7 on a first generation Mac Pro, you’re probably getting the following error when booting from the install DVD:

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Select CD-ROM Boot Type :

I spent two days trying to get around this error before finally coming up with a solution. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what’s causing the problem. Windows 7 x86 boots just fine, so it has to be something in the x64 version’s boot loader. Nearest I can figure, it’s a conflict with Apple’s legacy BIOS module and Microsoft’s EFI fallback code.

People had the same problem with Windows Vista x64 as well. The Windows 7 installer is basically just a renamed Vista installer, so hopefully they’ll fix this before release.

◊ Required Items

◊ Conventions

  • C:\ ‣ Primary drive in the VM.
  • D:\ ‣ Optical drive in the VM.
  • Installation ISO ‣ Windows 7 x64 ISO (7100.0.090421-1700_x64fre_client_en-us_retail_ultimate-grc1culxfrer_en_dvd.ISO)
  • WAIK ISO ‣ Windows AIK for Windows 7 ISO (KB3AIK_EN.ISO)
  • <Username> ‣ The name you gave Windows 7 during the installation. In my case, I picked Timothy, since that’s my name. Just use your first name, as we’ll have to type this in a command prompt later and it’s easier to do without spaces.

◊ Instructions

  1. Create a new VM in VMWare or Parallels. Choose Vista 64-bit as the type. Deselect Easy Install. The rest of the defaults are fine. When prompted for installation media, select the installation ISO.
  2. Proceed with the Windows 7 installation as normal. Don’t worry about any settings as we’ll only be using this VM to create a new, bootable ISO.
  3. Once Windows 7 has installed, proceed with the installation of the VMWare or Parallels Tools. Reboot when prompted.
  4. At this point, Windows 7 should be up and running. Select the WAIK ISO as your new CD/DVD media. If AutoRun doesn’t prompt you, go ahead and run setup from that disc. Install the Windows Automated Installer Kit Tools.
  5. Once the installation is complete, go ahead and choose the installation ISO as your CD/DVD media again. Ignore any AutoRun prompts.
  6. Open up a command prompt and type the following:
    cd "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\amd64"
  7. Now we’ll create a new ISO! Type the following:
    oscdimg -n -m -h -e -bd:\boot\etfsboot.com d: "c:\Users\<Username>\Desktop\Windows_7.iso"
  8. If everything went smoothly, it should now be writing a new ISO to the Windows 7 desktop.
    Writing the ISO...
  9. Once that’s complete, go ahead and drag the new ISO from the Windows 7 Desktop to the Mac OS X Desktop.
    Copy the ISO...
  10. That’s it! Go ahead and use Disc Utility under Mac OS X to burn this new ISO and procede to install Windows via Boot Camp like normal.
    Booting the DVD!

◊ Drivers

  • Windows 7 came with drivers for everything except my Apple Bluetooth Module. That said—somehow—my bluetooth keyboard still worked straight away, even without true Bluetooth drivers installed.

    I’d hold off from installing the Boot Camp drivers at this point, if you can help it.