MacPro 5,1 Firmware Problems

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Recently my MacPro 5,1 (still running High Sierra) starting crashing on an OSX Update of some kind. It started mid-April and I’m not sure which one it was, but the Mac wouldn’t boot as it ended up in the crash screen for the installer with some sort of error on finding a file that wasn’t there.

That let me down a dark path to get the firmware updated on the MacPro so I could continue to use it (it’s my main daily driver and does a find job- till Apple decides to update things for a nine-year-old piece of hardware). 

Making a USB key for 10.13 and booting off it did not work- it cannot install the Firmware update that 10.13 demanded.
A USB key with 10.14 did not work, as it claimed that my GFX card was not METAL compatible, and it also can’t install the firmware update.

To fix this this I had to:

 

Here are the steps:

 

1. Buy a ‘new’ Mac UEFI Boot/METAL compatible GFX card (time to leave Nvidia behind) (about $250 from eBay- I got a Radeon HD 7090)
2. Download and create a USB installer for 10.12 (Sierra- this version won’t check for the firmware update before installing)
3. Install 10.12 on a disk (not your real boot-disk), boot up into the fresh 10.12.
4. Download the 10.13 installer from App Store.
5. Run the 10.13 installer on this fresh 10.12 install.
6. This will download the Firmware update and then re-booting and holding power till beep will finally install the required Firmware Update!
7. Booting back into 10.12 – I didn’t upgrade to 10.13, just ran the Upgrade to force the Firmware Update – Strange – my original boot disk can’t be chosen (blessed) as startup disk (via Preferences App) due to APFS differences… (I think – this is still 10.12)
8. Install 10.13 on another disk. (You may be able to just perform the 10.13 upgrade on the 2nd disk, but I wanted to leave it at 10.12)
9. After 10.13 is installed, choose my original 10.13 boot disk as startup.
10. The Mac finally booted up back where I had left off – back on my original 10.13 disk and working perfectly.

So, I needed to have 3 disks in my system- which luckily I did so that wasn’t an issue.

Disk 1 – my regular 10.13 Boot Disk- crashed w/ installer panic
Disk 2 – target disk to install 10.12 onto
Disk 3 – target disk to install fresh clean 10.13 onto (and do firmware update)

Noodling around this thread gave me the info I needed to solve this: MacRumours

 

After this I downloaded and ran the 10.14 upgrader on my original disk and it ran without issues: Screen Shot 2019 06 06 at 10 53 11 AM

 

And I have the latest Firmware on the Mac:

Screen Shot 2019 06 06 at 11 01 57 AM 

 

Now with Movje running I’m just in time to get ready for Catalina.

 

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