Quad boot – Octo Mac Pro, Part I

The FEDEX gnomes kindly deposited a shinny new 8-core Mac Pro on my doorstep last week and I have been working through the usual migrations of data from old to new systems. The main reason for this purchase was to get multi-OS capability in native booting. And, like Apple’s quarterly financials – results were better than expected.

The FEDEX gnomes kindly deposited a shinny new 8-core Mac Pro on my doorstep last week and I have been working through the usual migrations of data from old to new systems. The main reason for this purchase was to get multi-OS capability in native booting. And, like Apple’s quarterly financials – results were better than expected.

The machine came installed with 10.3 on the internal 250GB drive. I added two other SATA drives that had been languishing in my file cabinet. A 250 out of my old G5 and a 160 out of my Athlon 64. While the 10.4 version on the G5 drive wouldn’t boot the new machine, the Windows XP on the former PC did (almost) and that is what is really interesting.

A drive that had been running in an AMD x64 system, dropped unprepared into my Mac Pro, did actually manage to boot. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell how far it could get because at the ‘Loading your personal settings’ stage it complained about Windows activation. That is the point I found out the Mouse and Keyboard were non-functional – give that the old machine had PS/2 style input devices not USB.

All was not lost however. With a boot of the Windows XP disk, I went through the steps to a new windows install. At the point where it would normally ask about formatting a drive, the installer states it had found a Windows install and would I like to repair it. – Sure go ahead. And after 20-30 agonizing minutes it finished.

With a basic reboot the machine came back – again almost. It got to the windows desktop, in horible 4-bit 640×480 display settings. However all was not lost, I had made a copy of the Boot Camp device drivers and with a few more install minutes I had a functioning copy of Windows XP awaiting activation. With all the programs and files from my Athlon 64.

Battledfield 2, Flight Simulator, MS Office, all seemed to run as they had before. Settings and user configuration included.

That was somewhat amazing to me because I had not thought of Windows installs as overly portable. And the thought of taking a boot drive out of a old PC and get it to boot a new Intel Mac was not what I expected.