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Install windows on MacPro 5,1 without cd nor usb drive

Install Windows on MacPro 5,1 on physical drive through Virtualbox


  • SIP disabled. I don't have a native GPU so no boot screen, but I just hold CMD+R 10s after chime sound and wait until I see the recovery screen.
  • A drive where windows will be written (avoid partitioning to keep things clean). Mine is plugged into the optical drive bay.
  • Bootchamp 1.7. Bootchamp is discontinued but works fine for me. Let me know if you have something better.
  • Virtual box
  • A Windows 10 iso img. I got a 10 pro edition but the home should be fine too

1 Prepare VM

1-1. Create a new VM for windows (8Gb RAM is enough). Do not add a storage to the vm yet. We will link the drive directly.

1-2. Quit virtualbox

2 Prepare disk

2-1. Erase your disk in disk util (i set mine in exFat but you will reset it during the windows installation)

2-2. Find the disk number. Start a terminal and type

diskutil list

Locate your disk and note its number. Mine was disk0.

During the next steps ALWAYS replace disk0 with your disk. Be extra careful here not to use an incorrect drive as it will be wiped out.

2-3 Change owner and permission. Replace user with your mac user and disk0 with your disk.

sudo chown user /dev/disk0

2-4 Unmount your disk in diskutil. This is important for concurrency issues between macOS system and virtualbox.

3 Virtualbox

3-1. Create the raw vm disk linked to your physical disk. (replace disk0 with your disk)

VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename "</path/to/file>.vmdk" -rawdisk /dev/disk0

I set my vmdk next to the vm files but feel free to put yours anywhere you want.

3-2 Launch virtualbox. Attach the new created raw disk. Attach also the iso to the optical drive

4 Windows vm installation

4-1 Start the vm and install Windows. When partioning, I prefer to remove all exisiting partitions and create only one

The next steps must be run inside the vm.

4-2 Download brigadier.exe.

4-3 Open a command prompt in admin mode. Cd to brigadier folder and run

brigadier.exe --model MacPro5,1 --install

Let it do its magic (installing bootcamp drivers).

4-4 Shutdown the VM and quit virtualbox

5 Rebooting to windows

5-1 Launch Bootchamp, click on the icon in the menu bar and click on Restart into windows.

5-2 When you are in Windows, go to update center and make the updates (like the drivers for your GPU).

5-3 You will need to reboot during the update installation. The mac will reboot to macOS, and then you can reboot to windows with bootchamp to finish the updates

Enjoy !

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Im stuck on step 3 don't know the path part to edit can anyone help?

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I keep getting this error:

VD: error VERR_NOT_SUPPORTED opening image file '/Volumes/SATA/windows10.vmdk' (VERR_NOT_SUPPORTED).
VD: error VERR_ACCESS_DENIED opening image file '/Volumes/SATA/windows10.vmdk' (VERR_ACCESS_DENIED).
Failed to open image '/Volumes/SATA/windows10.vmdk' in read-write mode (VERR_ACCESS_DENIED).
AHCI: Failed to attach drive to Port0 (VERR_ACCESS_DENIED).

Result Code:
NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)
IConsole {872da645-4a9b-1727-bee2-5585105b9eed}

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bryan-kinney commented Dec 5, 2019

@mika1124, The path is where you want to save the vmdk file that Virtualbox will create. You could try: ~/Desktop/windows10.vmdk
And then it would appear on your desktop. Virtualbox just uses it to link to the physical disk.
Note: All your files are under /Users/<your username> or use the tilda forward slash as a shortcut.

It may not be clear how to disable SIP. See this lifehacker page to disable it in the recovery mode.
Disable SIP to Get Your System-Level Utilities Working Again

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GortDroog commented May 13, 2020

EDIT: this didnt work for me, I did not do the step where you install mac1,1 --> this is necessary.
Now i am doing this

This tutorial got me in a lot of trouble since the steps are extremely minimal explained.

How to disable SIP:

  1. restart mac
  2. while booting keep pressing cmd+r
  3. go in the top of the screen to the menu and find the terminal (i think it is the 3rd menu)
  4. in the terminal type: csrutil disable
  5. (I read in a lot of forums you should enable it again, I am a mac noob don't know what this is doing)

1.Prepare VM
This works

  1. Prepare Disk
    a. In the terminal the disk needs to be sudo chown user every time after a reboot . Also if you get errors in VM sudo chown can do the trick.
    b. Unmount your disk. --> The error VERR_ACCESS_DENIED is due to or the not unmounted disk or the sudo chown. So if you get an error, do step 2a sudo chown in the terminal and unmount the disk in the disk utility app.

a. Go to the terminal again. You have checked the disknumber with the diskutil list. (sometimes it changes numbers in my case, (second disk in tray 1))
type the following
VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename "/Users/user/Desktop/W10DISK.vmdk" -rawdisk /dev/disk0

(be AWARE that DISK 0 is the disk where you want the windows installed)
(change the user of your user name, I added the drive to the desktop since it is a temperory file. )

b. Launch the VirtualBoxVM
b1 - go to settings button.
b2 - go to tab storage
b3 - click on the harddisk with the green+ button
b4 - go to desktop and add the file we made (W10DISK)
b5 - mount the iso image (doubble click on mac)
b6 - add the mounted image with the disk + green button
b7 - start the virtual machine
b8 - install windows
b5 - If you get an error do step 2a and 2b again. It only works if the disk is unmounted and sudo chowned

  1. I have windows 10 plus a radeon rx580 installed. This does not work well with the bootcamp software.
    The trick how I did it:

4a - get internet in your windows 10. If this is not working, which I had I went back to the virtual machine menu. In the properties of the machine we made I used the wrong adapter of the LAN cable. The settings that worked:
4a-1 Bridge adapter
4a-2 en1: Ethernet 2 (I think i use the second port)

4b - Windows is installed now the *** started. Since Windows 10 and MacPro5,1 are not compatible the last steps gave errors.
4b1 - Run the CMD as adminstrator
4b2 - I downloaded brigadier.exe and put it in the main folder of C:/
4b3 - To go back type: cd .. --> this command will get you back
4b4 - type it many times till you are at c:
4b5 - now type (where the brigadier.exe is) the following (from this source

brigadier.exe -m MacPro5,1

This will download the software on your C: drive.
Go to the c drive and run the setup.exe as an adminstrator.

I hope this works for the readers! Took me a lot of pain to find out :)

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