Installing Mac OS-X El Capitan 10.11.1 in a 2006 MacPro 1,1

Here is a little write-up on how I installed El Capitan on my 2006 MacPro 1,1.

Before reading any further, please keep in mind that all my attempts to create a bootable USB stick, with the El Capitan installer, failed miserably. So I had to follow a different path to do it, which requires access to a Mac computer, which natively supports El Capitan. In my particular case, I used my early 2009 iMac. If you do not have access to a Mac which can natively support El Capitan, this method is NOT for you.

With this disclaimer out of the way, a quick description of the issue of installing El Capitan on those old Macs.

The 2006 and 2007 MacPros were extremely powerful computers for their time. They were the top of the line, professional machines from Apple and they still are quite capable. Unfortunately, even though most of their hardware is 64-bit, their firmware is only 32 bit. At some point in time Apple decided to no longer provide their OS-X with 32-bit firmware support (I do not exactly remember what was the OS-X version that broke it). As a result, those MacPros couldn’t use the latest releases of OS-X. Thank to some enterprising souls on the Internet, patches were developed, which allowed the use of later OS-X versions on those Macs. And those patches were easy to implement, my 2006 MacPro 1,1 was running Yosemite, before I decided to upgrade it to El Capitan. While some people are quite happy running OS-X 10.6 on their MacPros, I wanted to run the latest and greatest (or so they say) of OS-X, which is El Capitan or 10.11.1.

The following paragraphs describe how I managed to install El Capitan on my MacPro 1,1 and give you some troubleshooting guide on issues you may face after the installation. Please keep in mind that I can not be blamed if something breaks in your computer, by following the instructions below. Always have a backup of your data before doing anything dangerous to your system, and the instructions below are definitely not for those who do not know their way around the Mac OS-X.

OK, let’s start, here is a description of my systems:

1. MacPro 1,1 already running Yosemite (MP for short, from now on).
2. iMac early 2009, also running Yosemite and

All lines starting with a – are commands you should enter in a terminal window. Do not enter the “- “, only what follows it.

My MP boot disk is an SSD which is twice a day backed up to an external SSD disk, for security reasons. So I got this second SSD disk, let’s call it SSD_Ext, and move it to the iMac. I run App Store on the iMac and downloaded El Capitan installer. However, I didn’t allow it to install on the iMac internal disk. Instead I asked it to install the new software to the SSD_Ext disk, which was now connected to the iMac.

The installer went through it process and ended up by upgrading the SSD_Ext disk to El Capitan. I verified that by allowing the iMac to boot from SSD_Ext. I then changed the System Properties, instructing the iMac to boot from its internal disk (which I remind you has Yosemite installed) and removed the SSD_Ext from it.

I took the SDD_Ext disk to my MP (still running Yosemite). I opened a terminal window and issued the following commands.

– su

The system will ask you for your root password, enter it.

– cd /Volumes/SSD_Ext/System/Library/CoreServices

This will take you to the first place where the boot.efi needs to be replaced.

– chflags nouchg boot.efi

The above command will remove the protection from boot.efi

At this moment, I visited the following URL and downloaded the patched boot.efi needed to have the MacPro run El Capitan:

Scroll down until you find the “Download” paragraph and download either of the two boot.efi’s mentioned there. One is for a black background with a white apple and the other is for a white background with a black apple. Pick your choice, both work. I saved the boot.efi on my Desktop folder. I then went back to terminal and issued the following commands:

– cp /Users/john/Desktop/boot.efi .

That will copy the new boot.efi to CoreServices, overwriting the standard one. I then issued:

– chflags uchg boot.efi

This will protect boot.efi again.

While in the CoreServices directory, I then used Property List Editor to edit the file called PlatformSupport.plist . Since not all of the readers have this program, you can also edit the file with your favorite editor. I use vi, so here are the instructions on how to do it. Enter the following command:

– vi PlatformSupport.plist

Move your cursor down, until it is on the line saying “<array>”. Then press the letter “o”. A new empty line will open below the line your cursor was on. In the new line, enter the following:


Press Esc (the Esc button) and then enter:


This will save the file and take you back to the prompt. Now enter:

– cd ../../../usr/standalone/i386

This will take you to the second location, where you need to copy the boot.efi file. Just enter the following command:

– cp /Users/john/Desktop/boot.efi .

You are all done now. All that remains is to reboot your system from the SSD_Ext disk, to have El Capitan running. To do that, go to your System Preferences, Startup Disk and select the SSD_Ext as your boot disk. You may need to enter your administrator password two or three times, but that’s OK. Then click on the small apple sign, on the top left corner of your screen and your computer will restart.

There is an alternative way to select what disk to boot from. You simply restart your computer and when the boot sound is heard, press and hold the Option key on your keyboard, until a gray screen appears with all your bootable drives. Select the SSD_Ext (or whatever your external disk is called) using your mouse or your arrow keys and press Enter. The system will boot from that disk, in El Capitan.

Some remarks regarding El Capitan on your MacPro 1,1.

1. It is possible that some of your Internet Accounts are not copied correctly. So please check them out in your System Preferences. In my case, a CardDav account didn’t survive the upgrade, but that was easily fixable.

2. Most probably, you will not be able to boot from your Recovery Partition, which the installer has created on your SSD_Ext drive. The reason is that the boot.efi file installed in it, is the standard one, not the patched one. You can change that (and gain access to the Recovery Partition) by following these instructions.

Boot from your internal disk again, not from SSD_Ext. Open a terminal window and enter:

– diskutil list

This will show you all the partitions on all your disks. Find a partition called “Apple_Boot Recovery HD” which is on the SSD_Ext disk. Notice the last word in that line, something like “disk1s3”. Now issue the following command:

– diskutil mount /dev/disk1s3

The program will tell you that the disk is mounted. Enter this command to verify that:

– ls -l /Volumes

You should see a “Recovery HD” disk there. Issue the following commands:

– cd /Volumes/Recovery\ HD

This will take you into the Recovery HD disk. Issue:

– cd
– ls -l

In the directory, you will see a boot.efi file. You need to replace it with the patched one, so issue the following commands:

– chflags nouchg boot.efi
– cp /Users/john/Desktop/boot.efi .
– chflags uchg boot.efi

These will unprotect the boot.efi from the directory you are in, replace it with the patched one and protect the file again (just like we did above).

Then edit the PlatformSupport.plist file found in that same directory, following the instructions above.

You can now restart your computer and try booting from the Recovery HD.

3. El Capitan comes with a strange protection scheme called SIP, which is supposed to prevent overwrite of critical system files. That protection however, may prevent you from running certain programs, which may be crucial for you. In my case, the program XtraFinder which I use, couldn’t run due to that protection. To make it work, you need to disable the protection scheme. To do that, you have to boot from your Recovery HD partition, and from the menu on the top, select Utilities and then Terminal. When you are in the terminal window, enter the following command:

– csrutil disable

For the XtraFinder, it is not necessary to disable SIP completely, so you can enter the following command, instead:

– csrutil enable –without debug

4. An interesting side-effect of El Capitan, for those using two monitors connected to your MP, is the fact that now, the log in screen appears on your primary display, instead of the secondary one. For me, that’s a good thing.

5. Something strange I discovered yesterday night, is that the upgrade to El Capitan erased my trusty Airport Utility 5.6.1, which was inside a directory in /Applications/Utilities. So it seems that Apple doesn’t like us using the old but powerful 5.6.1 version. Thank God, it is easily available on the net, together with the Loader required for it to run on recent Mac OS-X versions.

6. I’ve been using the MP with El Capitan for three or four days now, and I haven’t noticed any significant issues. My Chronosynch scheduler has been disabled, after the El Capitan installation, but that was easily fixed. Also, a strange error message appears, from time to time, which is due to SuperDuper!, again nothing serious, google that issues, easily fixable.

I hope you’ll find these guidelines interesting and useful.

Addendum for problems with my second MacPro (December 25th, 2016)

A few days ago, I got my hands on a second MacPro 1,1. Same computer as the MacPro I’ve been using with El Capitan for some months now. The new computer came with OS-X 10.7.5 installed. The initial plan was to just make a copy of the boot disk from my old MacPro (let’s call it MacPro1 from now on) and install it in the new MacPro (let’s call it MacPro2 from now on) and have two similar MacPros.

Unfortunatelly, this didn’t work out as planned. The disk booted MacPro2 fine, but after a while, the computer hanged up. I tried to figure out what the problem was, but no luck. So I tried the next best thing. I had a copy of El Capitan install file saved, so I used that to create a bootable disk. The version of that install file was 10.11.4. Tried that, but that didn’t work either. So I downloaded El Capitan from the App Store again, and created a boot disk. That download was also 10.11.4, so I updated it to 10.11.6. But I asked the program to import all my settings from my MacBook. Well, that disk didn’t work either, so right now, I am in the process of redownloading and reinstalling 10.11.4 again. I’ll update it to 10.11.6 but won’t import the user settings from any computer. I’ll set it up from scratch. Wish me luck! I’ve had better ways to spend Christmas and next day, than playing with a crazy El Capitan!

Addendum of the addendum

Well, am I stupid or not? The MacPro2 came with only 4GB of RAM. Upgrading that to 8GB solved all my problems!

127 thoughts on “Installing Mac OS-X El Capitan 10.11.1 in a 2006 MacPro 1,1

      • Hi! |I have EC 10.11.4 running without a problem on my MP1.1
        I recently tried to upgrade to 10.11.6,but can’t boot.
        I suspect this has to do with the boot.efi files, but I can’t get it to work.
        In the meantime, I’m booting from an old 10.11.4 HDD.
        Any help would be appreciated.

        • Sure thing. You just have to follow my post on how to upgrade the El Capitan, it is basically the same thing with first installing it. You need to copy over the boot.efi files in the two locations mentioned and edit the .plist file. After upgrading (on a computer that natively supports El Capitan, just copy boot.efi and edit PlatformSupport.plist. Then take the drive and use it to boot the MacPro.

          Happy New Year.

      • Hi John,

        Following the description of Piker Alpha El Capitan is now running on my quad core Mac Pro 1.1 – 2.66 ghz.

        Disabling the System Integrity Protection and exchanging the Boot Efi’s – it worked well!
        El Capitan starts very well and runs perfectly for about 7 minutes.
        Then suddenly the system crashed and starts again. With the message – the computer is restarted due to an error.

        After about 7 minutes again the same procedure, and always the same.

        The detailed report shows the following kernel panic:

        [Long crash report deleted]

        What does this mean?
        Perhaps someone in this community, who has the same problem knows a solution.

        Thanks in advance for your help.

        • How much memory do you have in that machine? If I am correct, you have only 4 GB, El Capitan will not run in so little memory. Try making that 16 GB and see what happens. I had these instability issues with my 2nd MacPro, until I added more memory. It’s been perfectly stable ever since.

          • Hi John,
            thanks for your quick respond.

            That`s a good hint . I will try it with more memory.

            And I let you know, if that is the solution.


    • I haave a 2006 MacPro2,1 3GHz dual quads, 16GB ram, ATI Radeon 5770 w 1024MB. Followed your method but still won’t boot to the ext drive. I used Xcode to edit the plist, very simple. I noticed on booting that it goes a little further than before but it defaults to the 10.7.5 system. You had a string to add for the board, how can I check to see that my board is on the list? I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Thanks for your help. I hope I can get this done and functioning. Recap: Updated both boot.efi files, added MacPro2,1 to Supported Machines and your string for the board. Thanks.

  1. I very much like the style of your guide, thank you for sharing it!
    I was wondering why or wether it is necessary to apply the modifications of the newly installed OS while the disk containing it is connected to the MP. Would it not be just as well possible to do these modifications while the disk is still connected to the “second Mac” (in your case the iMac ’09)? Or is there a special reason why it must happen already connected to the MP??

    I am very curious concerning this questrion 🙂

  2. Hello.
    Maybe the best write-up on this subject : my MP1,1 is now running fine with 10.11.1 ; Anyway, two or three comments :
    – many people don’t know their root past : so use ‘sudo …’ commands instead of ‘su’
    – If everything looks correct, my MP doesn’t want to shutdown, I have to switch it off manually…
    – It seems that 10.11.2 upgrade from AppStore doesn’t work (wait indefinitely on ‘restarting’) : do you have any idea ?
    But … great job !

    • You are correct of course, but I seriously don’t believe a MacPro user won’t know the root password.

      Shutting down is some times an issue for me too. I think it has to do with the machine writing things to its disk, but I can’t prove that.

      As for 10.11.2, did you read my post on the upgrade?

  3. Hi John,
    I’ve been reading your blog, and hope to follow your advice to install El Capitan on to my 2006 MP1.1. Before I start, could you please confirm three things:
    1. That, after installing all the boot.efi patches etc, and when the MP has been rebooted from your SSD_Ext for the first time, all future boots will be from the internal disk, and not SSD_Ext.
    2. That your method will work with the recent El Capitan upgrade to 10.11.2.
    3. How much RAM do you have in your MP 1.1
    Many thanks

    • Sorry for the late replies folks, but I wasn’t aware of the comments, until today! LoRL

      Re boot disk, you can always set up the disk from which you want to boot from, in the System Preferences.
      As far as 10.11.2, if you are installing 10.11.2 for the first time (no previous installation of 10.11 or 10.11.1) yes this article should work. If you are upgrading, read my post about how to upgrade.

      When I did the upgrade, my MacPro had 16 GB of RAM.

  4. Pingback: El Capitan on Mac Pro 1,1 – lillerant wiki

  5. This worked perfectly on my May 2007 MP. I took my current SL Server boot disk, cloned it, with dual bay docking statio, then updated to EC on my MBP and did the necessary updated to files there.

  6. First: thank you! I’m in a very similar situation and would like to run El Cap.

    Second: you usually give a brief description of what each step is for either before or after you describe what to do. One exception is where you start: “While in the CoreServices Directory” and end with copying the boot.efi again. What does this part of the process do exactly?

    • Sorry for the late reply, I still am not used to visit this blog to approve comments/replies.

      As for your question, you need to copy the patched boot.efi to both places, in order for the MacPro to work.

  7. The method described here is the only method that worked for me – OS X El Capitan on early MacPro 1,1 with Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT/S graphics card, and special thanks to Piker’s boot.efi.

  8. Thanks for sharing your blog.
    Very Useful, but since I am from the lazy part of the family, I drag the files to the terminal.

    Works for the upgrade to 10.11.4 also.
    10.11.1 happened to freeze with certain Finder-actions.

    I always have a rescue disk available with 10.6.
    On a 1.1 this one becomes the default startup disk in case of trouble. And the terminal actions above work from there too.

  9. Hi! I just installed El Capitan in my Macpro 1,1 but my sub Mac keyboard isn’t working, if I connect the mouse alone to the Mac it works properly, but if I connect the keyboard to the Mac and the mouse to the keyboard it won’t work, is anybody having this problem? Do you now a fix? Thanks.

    • By the way, I know that the keyboard is in working order because I don’t have any problems when I boot into OS X Lion.

  10. Hello, thanks so much for taking time to share a method that worked for you. It looks like you started with a MacPro 1,1 already running Yosemite. Can you tell me what prerequisite steps would be needed for someone starting with a MacPro 1,1 running 10.6.8? Also, for the 2nd drive, is it possible to use a drive added to an available bay inside the MacPro?

    • The installation (or the upgrade of a previous OS) has to be done on a machine that supports El Capitan. If you try downloading the El Capitan installer on your MacPro, it won’t download, since it is not supported on it.

  11. Hi,

    Interesting blog/write-up. I’m trying to get a Macbook Pro 1.1 2006 to work with El Capitan.

    A few questions (sorry if I’m missing something obvious here):

    Can you get it to work with a blank disc on the “old” machine? Or you must have a OS on it?

    The OS is now 10.5.8, does that work?

    You mention that you back up a external disc, how? I just assume that it isn’t TimeMachine.

    Grateful for all tips and trix. Thanks

  12. Well, installing El Capitan on a disk (new disk or a copy of your current system disk) has to be done on a machine that natively supports El Capitan. I am not sure it is supported on your MacBook Pro.

    To backuup my existing disk to the new disk, I use SuperDuper!

  13. Quick question… Im running a Mac Pro 2007 with 10.6.8 installed.
    I have 2 hardrives… 1 is running 10.11 that I download from a mac that natively supports it, My 2015 Macbook Pro.

    I check that it was installed correctly by booting the Macbook Pro from the drive with 10.11 and everything worked fine.

    Now, on my Mac Pro running 10.6, How do I tell the computer to use the hard drive with 10.11 on it, and use the new boot loader, boot_grey.efi ?

    the name of my drive is OSX1011 if that helps in the command line.

    Basically I deleted the normal 10.11 boot.efi but how do i tell it to use the new one I added in?


  14. First of all, I hope you didn’t copy boot_grey.efi in the directories where boot.efi was. You need to copy boot_grey.efi to boot.efi in those directories. Go in them and verify that you have the proper boot.efi, it should be about 300KB.

    Second, to tell your computer that you want to boot from your OSX1011 drive, click on the small apple, at the top left corner of your screen, select System Preferences and then Startup Disk. Or restart your computer and when you hear the bong sound, press the Option key and hold it down until a screen appears with all your boot drives. Select OSX1011 and you should be good to go.

    • No I mean, How do I copy into the boot.efi directories…? Cause i copied boot_grey.efi into the directory where boot.efi was…

      Selecting the drive to boot from wasn’t the issue, except that 10.6 doesn’t recognize the drive with 10.11 on it as a possible option under system preferences to use as startup, but it appears under the option tab after the bong sound.


      • It’s described in the message I posted, in details. You just have to :

        cp /whereveritis/boot_grey.efi /Volumes/SSD_Ext/System/Library/CoreServices/boot.efi

        Where SSD_Ext is the disk you want to install El Capitan on.

        But first, you should change the permissions of the old boot.efi, using:

        chflags nouchg boot.efi

        Read the instructions, it should be clear.

        • Thanks for all your help, I was able to get a fully functioning version of 10.11

          Although I ended up downloading the update from a MacBook Pro running 10.10 then installing the update on a external SSD. My Mac Pro is technically now dual op as one drive is still running 10.6.8 and the other being used as he boot is running 10.11

  15. Hi there. I followed the above instructions to the letter, and for some while had been enjoying El Capitan on my Pac Pro 1.1. All the updates worked fine until 10.11.5, from which point the Mac no longer sees the HD during the boot process. Just nothing happens. Booting into Safe Mode doesn’t happen either. Fortunately I’d saved (cloned) the drive at 10.11.4, which still boots fine. I’ve tried cloning that, and doing an update to .5 but it still fails to boot. I even started from scratch with a fresh download of El C and tried the process again, but it seems to fail at 10.11.5. Any ideas which might solve the problem or am I a ‘one-off’?

    • If I remember correctly, the .5 upgrade needs the same patch as the original one. So I would suggest:

      Start the MacPro from your backup disk.
      Clone it to your normal disk.
      Boot from your normal disk.
      Update from it to .5.
      When the computer restarts, ask it to restart from the backup disk.
      Copy boot.efi and the plist file from your backup disk to your normal disk.
      Boot from your normal disk.

      Let me know how it works.

    • I do not think so. The 2,1 boardid is Mac-F4208DA9, but you can check it yourself, by entering the folllowing command in Terminal.

      ioreg -lp IOService | grep board-id

  16. Hi john, great blog, i followed your instructions and succeed to install EC on my MP, but, trying to solve low vram (only 7MB) of a ati x1900xt card, i erased some files and now i don¨t have video output, do you know how to reinstall video drivers?????
    Kindest Regards

  17. Hi John,
    I am a newbie in working with Apple Servers and I followed it today and managed to upgrade a MacPro 1,1 (OS 10.6.8) to El Capitan and it worked like a charm. A couple of things, though:
    – Server Preferences, Server Admin, Workgroup Manager, Server and System Image Utility are not found on the machine

    I haven’t checked the Terminal yet to see if they are still there, but then I realized El Capitan may not be the right OS to upgrade to.

    I have duplicated the original config (in two restorable instances just in case).

    I wanted to upgrade the server capabilities to allow 64-bit development, but this may not be the path.

    Any suggestions?

    • I think that all those things you mentioned (not sure about System Image Utility, but the rest I am sure) are now part of the You need to download Server from the app store.

  18. Hi John, here’s a relative newbie with a 1,1.
    I installed 10.11.6 and although it starts up and seems to work OK, after a few minutes it forces a restart.
    I installed from a laptop onto an SSD, and copied the boot.efi over by simply dragging and thus replacing the originals. Your method described above is more intricate. Am I leaving something vital out?

    • Frank, the boot.efi file is protected, so you need to follow the steps I describe for the installation of El Capitan. You can’t just drag and drop the file in its proper positions. A simple check is to go in the two directories I mention, and check the file size. It should be around 316 or 319 KB, if it is larger, then you do not have the proper boot.efi in place. I am nto sure what happens, this is weird, I do not understand how the MacPro can boot with the wrong boot.efi and stop afterwards. But please check the file size and get back to me.

  19. Hey great info here, love the layout. I have a question about an alternate method and wanted to get your input. I’d like to use a new MacBook running Yosemite to upgrade the SSD in my Mac Pro 1,1 to El Cap. I plan to connect via target disk mode and perform the upgrade instead of buying another drive.

    I would then boot from a USB on the 1,1 with 10.6.8 installed to perform the terminal commands. Do you see any problem with this?

    • Don’t know, I have never tried the target disk mode. Why don’t you just remove the disk from the MacPro and connect it via USB to your MacBook and do the upgrade and the terminal commands? All in one easy step.

        • You can always remove it! Don’t you have one of those kits which allow you to put a disk in a small box and connect the box to a USB port? Or the ones which do not have a box, just a power supply and an interface, which allow you to connect any SATA disk to a USB port?

          • Hey, sorry I’m just now writing back. Everything worked perfectly thanks to you! I do have one question though. When you boot does the mac pro 1,1 hang a little bit on the white screen before going into the black and white startup for El Cap? Mine is doing some of that and It’s not a terrible issue because it starts up after that but just wondering if maybe I did something wrong in the installation to make it slower. Let me know if you can!

          • Pretty … vague question. Can you post a video somewhere? Also, that can depend on your video card, so give some details.

  20. Hi there… Nice post… I have a question: I have a MP 1,1 that I’ve modded to 2,1 for dual Quad Core support (upgraded from dual Dual core). I’ve done you tutorial and managed to make it work, but i have no sound output from the machine… On Windows and Lion, it works flawless, but on EC not a pep is to be heard… Does anyone came across this issue?
    Best regards from Portugal

    • Hmm, I am using external microphone and speakers, so I can’t be sure. You mean you guys do not even hear the boot sound, when the computer starts? ‘Cause I can hear it fine on mine and that doesn’t come through the speakers.

  21. I have followed these steps on a 1.1 Mac Pro with a 7300 GT and it seemed to work, but El Capitan is extremely unstable for whatever reason. after about 1 minute on average the machine crashes and reboots. if i’m lucky. the machine runs for 5 minutes without crashing. in the worst scenarios, it crashes before even booting. strangely it seems to get a little better the more times i boot it, but that could be coincidental. experienced anything like that? it might be worth noting that it only has 2GB of RAM, but that shouldn’t cause it to crash randomly. lion runs just fine on it so i have no idea what’s up with el capitan.

    and its not the gpu, i tried to use a gt 610 which is natively supported in el capitan, the graphics run smoother but the instability remains unchanged

  22. Hi, Great post!
    I have problems restarting from the el capitan partition. It always restarts back from the lion one any thoughts?


    • Two things:

      1. Either you are not doing everything correctly, so it can’t boot from the disk, or
      2. The disk is OK, but you are not selecting it as your boot disk. Either go to your System Preferences, Startup Disk and ask to boot from the El Capitan disk, or when the system boots up, and you hear the boot sound, press the Alt key and hold it down until the system shows you all the bootable disks. Select the El Capitan one and see.

  23. Almost everything works fine here on 2006/1.1
    With the original video card, though, it happens that it doesn’t show screen.
    Sometimes it does, sometimes not.

    Connecting via ARD doesn’t work when no screen is shown – so should be something wrong.
    Otherwise, booted perfectly from first time.
    Maybe problems related to Little Snitch …

  24. Hi. I followed your guide to install El Capitan when it first came out, on my Mac Pro 1.1. I recently (30 minutes ago) updated to the latest version using the apple updater, it seemed to install fine but then rebooted into windows during the installation. Since then, I have been unable to boot OSX.

    I have another partition with windows 7 that still works fine, but I am no longer able to boot from either my main El Capitan drive, or the OSX recovery partition. I can select both in the booting screen, it goes black and stays that way for 5 seconds, then boots right back into Windows 7.

    Please help. I will check this daily to see if you respond if I can’t figure it out.

  25. Great guide! Everything booted up just fine. As soon as I run the App Store, the PowerMac crashes and reboots. Any idea as to what could be causing this? (Running 10.11.6)

  26. Ok. I’ve done a clean install and tried again with the updates applied (via MacBook Pro 15 early 2011) to the SSD before transferring to the MacPro. I was able to get both Chrome and iTunes open, running the SSD on the MacPro. In Chrome I was able to go to Netflix, sign in, load a movie and start it…then the MacPro crashed. I rebooted and this time tried iTunes. The application loaded, let me say “no thanks” to Apple Music, let me sign in to my apple account…then the MacPro crashed. Now it won’t boot to the SSD. Am I running into problems because I’m loading the SSD up from a MacBook Pro, or that it’s 10.11.6 and not 10.11.1/10.11.2? Thanks!

  27. I am not sure what to tell you. I never had such a problem. Are you sure MacPro’s memory is OK? Since the computer boots up from the El Capiten disk and the OS loads OK, it’s not an issue with the operating system. Or at least that’s what I think. Some questions:

    1. Is the MacBook running the same OS as the one you installed on the SSD?
    2. Did you download Chrome from scratch?

  28. It’s weird right? The memory seems to be fine on the MacPro since it will still boot Snow Leopard from the internal HD. It has 4GB 667MHz RAM.

    1. The MacBook Pro is running 10.10.5
    2. Yes

    • It is indeed weird. I haven’t the faintest idea why it does that. Have you re-downloaded the El Capitan installation file, the boot.efi file and have you make all the changes I suggest? If you have, I am terribly sorry, but I do not know what to tell you.

    • Well, darn it! I am in the same boat as you are!!! I got myself a new (used) MacPro 1,1, hoping to duplicate my original setup. So I took my backup system disk out of my MacPro No1 and put it in my MacPro No2. Guess what? Same problem you are facing, the system starts, but hangs up after a while, on opening or using some programs. So I thought hell, I’ll redownload El Capitan file and start from scratch. Did that, I updated to 10.11.6 (the download was 10.11.4), imported my settings from my MacBook and then moved the disk to MacPro No1, patched boot.efi etc and then move the disk to MacPro No2. Still the same, the system hangs up after a while!

      More investigation now!!!!!

    • Jon, I think I know the answer to your problems. El Capitan doesn’t seem very happy with only 4GB of RAM. Upgrade that to at least 6GB, or even better to 8GB and I believe your problems will be solved. Read the last few lines of the original article to understand how I reached that conclusion.

  29. Thanks for the clear guide. Actually we were still running Leopard on our Mac Pro 1.1 with Radeon HD 4870 and 20G ram (I upgraded the Ram from 4G after reading some comments prior to installing El Capitan). It started 10.11.4 without problem. Have not tried it a lot as yet though, but internet, mouse, keypad, hp printer C410 all work as they should. Now our Macbook Pro and Mac Pro have the same OS running. We donated to Pike as we were so pleased to keep the “big” computer going.

  30. Hi John,

    I could not get the “cp /users/(account name)/desktop/boot.efi” command to work either, same deal it gave me usage info,
    so after I had removed the protection from the “boot.efi” in ” /volumes/(disk name)/system/library/corservices” with the “chflags nouchg boot.efi” command
    I just drag and dropped the boot.efi from my desktop to the MP1,1’s corservices folder on the And told it to “replace” then entered my password,
    Then entered the “chflags uchg boot.efi” command to reinstate the file protection and that worked fine.

    just need the path string for the second file location so I can browse the MP 1,1 disk to the correct folder then drag and drop the boot.efi and I’m good to go
    ( I hope lol )

    I’m using an MP 3,1 running EL Capitan to do the editing.

    • Forgot to mention the Specs of my MP 1,1

      CPU’s= Dual 3Ghz Quad Core Xeons
      ( can’t remember the models number )
      Memory= 32 Gig 667 DDR2 FB dimms with Mac Heat Shields
      Bay 1= TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM Sata drive
      Bay 2= TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM Sata drive
      Bay 3= 500 Gig Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM Sata drive
      DVD Players= Dual super drives
      Vid Card= Radeon HD 4870 756 Meg Memory
      Can’t afford an SSD at the moment.

      I also have an Nvidia Quadro FX 4800 1.8 Gig Which is going in soon as I get the MP 1,1 up and running again, holding off on installing that at the moment not sure if its compatible with MP 1,1’s, hoping it will work under El Capitan.

      I am going to be using the MP 1,1 for running Autodesk AutoCad,
      Hence the Quadro FX.

    • Second path is /usr/standalone/i386

      That’s the second place where you should copy boot.efi.

      I am not sure if that card will work with the MacPro, never tried one. Actually, the only one I’ve ever tried was the 8800GT.

      Lately, when I acquired my second MacPro, I faced a problem with the standard card, that used to come with the machine, but also with an Nvidia Quadro FX4500. Neither of these cards worked OK with the latest version of Apple Aperture I am using, and El Capitan 10.11.6. However, the same program works just fine with the 8800GT. So there are some compatibility issues, for sure.

      I am waiting for another 8800GR to come, to see if that will allow the new Pro to run Aperture, as the old one does.


      • Hi John

        Thanks for the fast response,

        Found the folder, it’s a hidden folder >8( lol,

        Just in case any body else strikes the same problem
        run the following command in terminal to unhide all your hidden files and folders,
        leave out the hyphen “-” just the bit from “defaults” to “Finder ”
        Then hit enter:

        – defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE;killall Finder

        RE hide all your hidden files and Folders:

        – defaults write AppleShowAllFiles false;killall Finder

        Just have to patch the recovery drive now

    • It sure does, .plist files are plain text files. But I used vi, since it comes with OS-X, so everyone has it.

      TextWrangler is my favorite editor too!

  31. Hi John.

    My MP 1,1 is running great with OS X 10.11, Did notice that 10.11 will not boot unless you have an MP 1,1 compatible OS installed, I’m using 10.7 as my backup OS, also installed boot camp windows 7 x64 on it.

    I tried out the Nvidia Quadro FX 4800 in the MP 1,1 they do run in MP 1,1’s however there is no boot screen, tested it in both HDMI and VGA mode,
    At the present I am running an ATI Radeon HD 4870 1 Gig till I can test
    Weather a third party boot loader will give me a boot screen with the Quadro FX.

    Failing that I will try a standard MAC Nvidia FX card as the boot card and tell Autodesk Apps to use the Quadro FX card for rendering and so forth.

    There is a PCIe slot configuration app by Apple that allows you to tell your PCIe slots which speeds to run at, from memory I think you can tell slot 1 to run at 8X & slot 2 to run at 16X and visa versa, Been while since I used it so I will have to get back to you on that one.

    Thanks for the Upgrade info, so easy to do,
    So easy to repair if an OS update trashes the 10.11
    Boot.EFI & PlatformSupport.plist.

    I have made a folder on the desktop of 10.7 and placed a copy of
    The 10.11 compatible Boot.EFI as well as a PRE edited PlatformSupport.plist
    For easy repairs to 10.11, just unlock copy and paste lol.

    I will give you a heads up if the third party boot loader fixes the boot screen
    Issue with the Quadro FX 4800 in MP 1,1’s.

    Cheers Dude

    • That’s strange, I have nothing but El Capitan disks in mine and it boots fine. Maybe the fact that you have boot camp installed is causing the issue? I am using Oracle VirtualBox to run other OSs like Centos and I do not have an issue with booting.

      In my second MacPro, everything was working fine with the stock NVidia card, except I couldn’t see any pictures in Apple Aperture. I could see the previews, but I couldn’t see the large size images. So I ordered a non-Apple NVidia 8800 from eBay. The card doesn’t show any boot screen, but it works fine with Aperture etc, even though it is a 512 MB one. I didn’t have room for another monitor on my desk, so I couldn’t leave both cards in the computer, so I am just using the 8800 and wait for the log-in screen, since it boots from an SSD, it takes only a few seconds for the log-in screen to appear.

      As for repairs after upgrades, I have a similar folder on my 10.11.6 disk. Since this disk gets copied to two more disks on a daily basis, if an upgrade kills the boot.efi and the PlarformSupport.plist, all I have to do, if an upgrade changes these two files, is boot from my backup disk, copy these two files in the proper places on the standard boot disk and reboot from it. I know the drill by heart now, LoRL.

      Do let me know about that PCIe, it would be interested to try it out.


  32. I was having the 10.11 boot issues before I installed bootcamp,
    It just kept going to the Repair HDD, so I install 10.7 on another HDD
    And put that in bay one then put 10.11 in bay two and it started working,
    I’m not bothered with having both 10.7 and 10.11 on my MP1,1
    Just makes it easier to repair 10.11 if an update damages 10.11,
    I installed bootcamp windows after I had bot both copies of OS X working
    And up to date.

    As for the PCie tool I just read up on it on apple forums,
    its part of OS X,
    “The Configuration Expansion Slot Utility is located on your Mac Pro at: /System/Library/CoreServices/”,
    Just tried to run it on my MP 3,1, it stated that it’s not able to run on that system,
    Could be it’s only for MP 1,1 and 2,1.

    I know my MP 3,1 has the PCie slots one and two both running at X16,
    Due to the fact that it’s running a pair of 1 Gig ATI Radeon HD 5870’s
    with both the cross fire connectors installed,
    And they both report being at X16 in system report.

  33. Hi John

    My MP 1,1 is now running PURE 10.11.6, no 10,7.5 on it at all,
    all i did was take the 2 TB 10.7 drive out to use in my MP 3,1,
    move the 10.11 drive to bay 1 and replace the drive for bay 2
    with a blank 1 TB drive from my 3,1,
    10.11 just starting working as a stand alone,
    with out me having to do anything.

    any ideas as to how to get ReFind working on MP 1,1
    with 10.11.6 installed< just can't seam to get it working,
    I put my 1.8 Gig Quadro FX 4800 in the MP 1,1
    so i could use it as a dedicated CAD box,

    Card works great under 10.11.6 desk top, just no boot screen,
    ReFind can read both EFI and UEFI cards
    so you get its boot screen ( if you can get it to install of course),

    i run reFind in recovery mode as its the best way to do it,
    however although it reports a successful install its not
    showing up at boot, just go's straight to 10.11.6,
    i really need to get the boot screen working
    as i am reinstall WIN 7 Ultimate on the 1 TB drive in bay 2.

    any idea's ?


  34. after I tried this steps, I had to pay to a mac store to restore my mac to the lion, I couldn´t to run the operative system again neither restore this. 🙁 this was after I replaced the efi with the modified for “El Capitan”

    • Well, that makes no sense, if you followed my instructions. The reason being that your old boot disk is still intact (on the MacPro), so you can always boot from it. If the disk you made in the other computer didn’t boot, all you had to do, was boot from your old boot disk. You obviously didn’t follow all instructions.

  35. Hey John,

    Great read … I currently have a MAC 1.1 running Maveriks mainly for music production. I’ve recently run into some issues that require me to upgrade so I can also upgrade certain music wares to the latest versions. Would using this technique keep my existing programs … meaning would they migrate to the new OS ? or do you recommend creating an image and transferring my wares that way ? your expertise is greatly appreciated d(-_-)b

    • Well, your old programs will still be on your old disk. If I were you, I would make a copy of your original system disk to a new one, apply the El Capitan upgrade, then boot from the old disk again and apply the patch. Then you can try and boot from the patched disk. All your programs should remain intact.

  36. thank you for this well written guide.
    can you please indicate if GE7700 needs to be replaced or other VGA is required in parallel for ElCap.

    • If your graphics card is supported by your current OS, I do not see a reason for it not to be supported by El Capitan. But with Apple, you never know, so I can’t be 100% certain, I have never tried your graphics card.

  37. thanks John
    Trying to follow your proc. here, when i get to this step:
    – cd /Volumes/SSD_Ext/System/Library/CoreServices
    my USB-attached SSD has no system folder in it.
    Instead, I only see an installation directory called : OS\ X\ Install \Data\
    When exactly in the proceed does /System/Library/CoreServices is supposed to get created?
    I did boot from it just once the temp hackintosh just enough to get to the install menu then shutdown….

  38. Perhaps you need to clarify in your procedure the following:

    The installer went through it process and ended up by upgrading the SSD_Ext disk to El Capitan. I verified that by allowing the iMac to boot from SSD_Ext.

    Do you mean run the installer , reboot when done , continue the installation while on the none MP system , complete it and only then reboot back to its prior OSX.?

    Because i did not go through the full installation yet..perhaps i should…

  39. Sorry for the late reply, but I just returned from a trip abroad and I was too tired.

    Yes, you have to run the installer, and allow it to finish, on the external disk. In that way, you have a full El Capitan disk that needs only to patch the files described above. Then you take that disk, install it in your MacPro and boot from it.


  40. Thank you very much. My current problem is booting the newSSD, either keyboard combination will not work during chime and even more so when im on 10.6.8 I cannot set it up as startup-disk (not there)
    The drive is seen otherwise in disk-utility and can be mounted fine.
    I am thinking MP-FW related issue ,but am not able to update it so far…

  41. Mount the disk on the other computer. Format it and install El Capitan on it. Then patch it, per the instructions above. Take it to the Mac Pro. It should boot up fine.

  42. I removed the original drive reluctantly and kept the SSD in, that forced it to boot.
    However i got BSD shortly after with

    Kernel Panic on Startup “unable to find driver for this platform: \”ACPI\”…/IOPlatformExpert.cpp

    cant perform kext scan : no kext summary/

  43. I replaced the black boot with the grey boot.efi on the two locations and it booted fine , however stuck on gray screen.
    with verbose log showing repeated error /warning:

    assuming successful wake units 100 sleepunits 0

  44. Please follow the instructions, as they are given. They work, that’s for sure. But you have to do everything exactly as told.

    Boot your second computer (not your Mac Pro) exactly like you do normally. Install your SSD as an external disk on your computer. Install El Capitan on the SSD. Replace boot.efi where instructed and edit the other file I say to edit.

    Now, take the SSD to your Mac Pro and boot from it.

  45. Redone the install now from the hackintosh(optiplex780).
    This time i completed it and logged on to make sure its showing up fine (10.11.4)
    Also showed up in startup-disk .
    Rebooted to original OS and replaced files+etc.. Disconnected drive and relocated to the MP1,1.
    Currently unlike before it is flushing a question mark-folder [?]
    Loading the original MP1,1 10.6.8 does not see the disk in startup disk . But otherwise the SSD is accessible /mounted.

  46. I needed to protect the boot.efi files (and remove the rename ORIG ones)
    Looks like it booted fine after!
    Thanks for being patient John. you’ve helped a whole lot!
    All set here 😉

  47. On to HW issues :
    Not sure why its not able to pick up the secondary Nvidia card on any slot so far.
    The main one is none Nvidia GEforce 7300 GT which from what I gathered unsupported on 10.11.
    The newer one is GF210, brand new , should be fine from what i read..
    What type of gpu do you use?
    thanks again.

  48. Got that resolved as well 😉
    Moved the GE 210 to slot 4 alongside with slot1 original 7300 and the boot took a while , but it came up with full QE/CI. What a joy.
    This pretty much concludes the creation. And its a dandy!

  49. Hey John ,
    I’ve tried a third VGA card on the MP1,1
    Added GT520 (already have the GT210 and the original 7700)
    The boot screen seems to hang on the Apple Logo for too long.
    Removing it boots back up fine…
    Was really hoping to get 4 screen support. (the 7700 is for 10.6.8 boot-backwards compatibility only at this point)
    Any idea on possible root cause for this hang?

  50. Sorry, I’ve never tried more than one video cards in my MacPros. Right now I am running an Apple NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, in order to have 4K output.

  51. I have a 2006 MacPro2,1 3GHz dual quads, 16GB ram, ATI Radeon 5770 w 1024MB. Followed your method but still won’t boot to the ext drive. I used Xcode to edit the plist, very simple. I noticed on booting that it goes a little further than before but it defaults to the 10.7.5 system. You had a string to add for the board, how can I check to see that my board is on the list? I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Thanks for your help. I hope I can get this done and functioning. Recap: Updated both boot.efi files, added MacPro2,1 to Supported Machines and your string for the board. Thanks.

    • Hmmm, wait a sec, the string you should add to the plist file, if I remember correctly, was for the MacPro 1,1. I am not sure if it is the same for MacPro 2,1.

      In any case, my plist still has this line in it and it works fine.


      So I must assume that you are not doing something right. Use a text editor to add this line, or Property List Editor.

      • John, I did add the plist line Mac-F4208DC8 under supported boardlds in Xcode. Under supported model properties I added MacPro2,1 as this is the firmware on my machine and the identifier in the SystemReport under hardware overview. I added MacPro1,1 this morning after your post to see if that makes a difference. It does not, still will not boot to the external drive. That drive does open on my MacBookPro running High Sierra if I option boot to that drive. Again, how can I make sure that the board identifier in my machine matches one in the list?

        • Wait a sec, what you mean by “That drive does open on my MacBookPro running High Sierra if I option boot to that drive”? If you have replaced the boot.efi files correctly, that drive should NOT boot on a MacBook Pro.

  52. John, I retraced all the steps, and verified I had write permissions on everything I changed, and I do. I replaced the boot.efi files again, and verified the plist had the changes I put in. I also found a terminal command that finds and displays the board id, and it is the same as you provided. tried booting into MacPro, nope, defaulted to Lion. I shut down and plugged drive into MacBookPro and what I noticed on the option boot screen was that the drive had a different name: here it is called “EFI boot”, even tho the drive name is LarryS. On the MacPro it is called LarryS. It still boots up fine on MacBookPro, but will not boot to MacPro. I am not sure if it matters that El Cap is 10.11.6.

  53. John, I found a couple things. ! there was an alias Applications folder set up the apparently was created by booting into the MacBookPro. I deleted it. I also found a file called installer.falurerequests, so I opened it in TextEdit, here it is:

    fsck target

    When I google the I am confused, but it seems this is part of the issue, as it says that under Primitive Types the following:
    I am not sure but I think this is saying the OS is 64bit, the question is why?

    • Sorry, I do not have the time to analyze log data. What I would suggest is:

      Mount the external disk on your MacBook. Initialize the disk. Start El Cap installation program and install El Cap on the external disk (whatever version of El Cap you have). Then follow the instructions I gave, to replace the boot.efi and add the entry in the PlatformSupport.plist.

      After you are done, remove the disk from your MacBook and connect the disk to the MacPro. Restart the MacPro and on boot hold down the Option key, until you see the disks you can boot from. Select the disk with El Cap. It should boot fine.

  54. John, This morning I decided to try it again, but first boot into the El Capitan Ext Disk on the MBP. I did that then copied the installer to Applications. I unplugged my network so no connection via internet, then I connected a blank SSD and ran the installer but told it to install to the ext disk ElCap. Installation went fine. It booted into that as a clean disk. I shut down and unplugged the ElCap disk. Next plugged into MacPro. I had to use vi in terminal to edit plist, and replaced both boot.efi files (locked only the one originally locked). I also added the items in the plist to the first line in the array rather than the last. I then selected the ElCap disk as the startup and it booted right in. So it seems that either High Sierra was tagging the first external drive in a way that made it not work on MacPro2,1 or the first disk was marginal and the older machine could not read all the data. Either way I am a happy camper! All I have to do now is figure out how to do this so ElCap is running from primary boot drive. Any suggestions? Thanks for all your help.

  55. I always use SuperDuper! for copying a disk to another. Actually, my whole backup strategy depends on SuperDuper and ChronoSync (when backing up to disks on a remote machine)! But there are several other utilities you can use.

    Glad you sorted this out.

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