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Deploying Windows 8.1 on Mac Pro's Late 2013 model

    Question

  • Hi!

    I am trying to figure out how to use MDT to deploy Windows 8.1 on the new trashcan Mac Pro's.

    This is what I've done so far.

    Disabled the default Format and partiton step with the property DONOTFORMATANDPARTITION=YES just to get rid of errors at the end, i have alos tried to remove the Volume entries in this step with out the above mentioned property.
    In this step i have also set the Disk type to GPT and checked the Create Extra 'Active' Partition

    Created a custom answer file to diskpart with the following command
    sel dis 0
    sel par 4
    format fs=ntfs quick override
    active
    exit

    Running my custom diskpart step after the default one.

    Changed the default Install Operating System step to install on disk 0 partition 4.

    All seems to work fine until the computer reboots and i should start windows to continue with the deploy.
    Instead of booting windows it boots into OSX.
    I've tried to change the start disk with the OS utility, but it gives the error "The bless tool was unable to set the current boot disk."

    Ive tried the exact same thing on a older Macbook Pro, and this works flawless. It seems that Apple dropped some legacy support in the new EFI firmware on the new Mac Pro.

    If i try to use bless with the --legacy parameter it tells me "Legacy mode is not supported on this system". I used legacy to boot windows on the older Macbook Pro.

    Anyone got this working or have any suggestions?

    Wednesday, July 02, 2014 2:41 PM

Answers

  • Solved it!

    It's not nice, but hey it works.
    Here is how i did it.
    I scrapped the idea of using any form of script (Applescript) or other custom stuff.
    Instead I just fooled Boot Camp Assistant to think inserted a "BootCamped" USB even tough I inserted the LiteTouchPE_x64 based USB. The only files/folders Boot Camp Assistant looks for seems to be.

    $WinPEDriver$
    BootCamp
    BootCamp\BootCamp.xml
    setup.exe
    autorun.inf

    So just create the folders $WinPEDriver$, BootCamp
    Create an empty BootCamp.xml file inside the folder BootCamp
    copy setup.exe from the Windows media. (Might work with an empty txt file renamed, havent tested)
    copy autorun.inf from the Windows media. (Might work with an empty txt file renamed, havent tested)

    Start Boot Camp Assistant, uncheck the first 2 boxes and leave the one about creating a partiton.
    Desiced on the BootCamp partition size.
    And then next next finish :)

    Thursday, July 03, 2014 2:35 PM

All replies

  • I'm facing this exact issue as well. From what I've been able to figure out with the help of MS tech support, it seems that MDT is unable to update the Mac's EFI partition with the Windows boot code, which then obviously makes the partition unbootable. 

    I'd love to know if someone has figure out how to make this work. If it works using the BootCamp Assistant in OS X, then I would venture to guess that there's no reason why it shouldn't work using MDT.

    Wednesday, July 02, 2014 3:36 PM
  • Some progress.

    I managed to get the installation going by fooling Boot camp a bit.
    First i inserted a USB disk that i hade prepped earlier with windows 8.1 and "Bootcamped".
    I started boot camp and let it do it's partitioning, when the computer restarted i replaced the USB with a LiteTouchPE prepped USB and started with that.
    I needed to remove active from the custom diskpart anwser file aswell.
    The computer now installs windows and boots to windows by default.

    I have also noticed that Boot camp places 2 folders on the Mac EFI partition Boot and Microsoft and they ofcourse contain efi files and BCD files.

    It also makes changes to the nvram, the entries efi-boot-device and efi-boot-device-data, maybe more but those 2 are the ones i noticed.

    Now I "only" have to automate this :)

    Anyone with any suggestions?

    Thursday, July 03, 2014 10:16 AM
  • Solved it!

    It's not nice, but hey it works.
    Here is how i did it.
    I scrapped the idea of using any form of script (Applescript) or other custom stuff.
    Instead I just fooled Boot Camp Assistant to think inserted a "BootCamped" USB even tough I inserted the LiteTouchPE_x64 based USB. The only files/folders Boot Camp Assistant looks for seems to be.

    $WinPEDriver$
    BootCamp
    BootCamp\BootCamp.xml
    setup.exe
    autorun.inf

    So just create the folders $WinPEDriver$, BootCamp
    Create an empty BootCamp.xml file inside the folder BootCamp
    copy setup.exe from the Windows media. (Might work with an empty txt file renamed, havent tested)
    copy autorun.inf from the Windows media. (Might work with an empty txt file renamed, havent tested)

    Start Boot Camp Assistant, uncheck the first 2 boxes and leave the one about creating a partiton.
    Desiced on the BootCamp partition size.
    And then next next finish :)

    Thursday, July 03, 2014 2:35 PM