[SOLVED]Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

[SOLVED]Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Postby t4thfavor » 2019-01-15 00:54

Hello all,

I have a weird one. I am currently running a Mac Pro 3,1 with a debian 9 minimal install. All was well for days (maybe 45 intentional reboots while testing hardware).

Today I got 32GB of ram (yay for free old hardware), installed it all, and 2 of the sticks would not register. So I got the bright idea to reset the PRAM (nVRAM). After doing so, the system shows me the famous "question mark folder" until I plug in a Refit USB thumb drive, upon which it immediatly boots.

I've tried the reinstall-grub stuff, and all appears to be correct, except the main drive is not detected as a boot drive (which previously worked fine).

I don;t have any copies of OSX laying around as this is a fairly old mac pro, so aside from that what else could I try so that I do not have to have the USB stick permanently plugged in?

I have not yet tried booting the same drive via an external drive tray, but I will be doing that shortly.

Thanks,
Chance
Last edited by t4thfavor on 2019-01-15 13:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Postby llivv » 2019-01-15 01:05

https://wiki.debian.org/DebianOnIntelMacPro

not many questions here dealing with mac
maybe someone will show up and surprise us... :wink:
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Re: Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Postby t4thfavor » 2019-01-15 01:16

Well, I'm "Bandwidth challenged" so downloading a fresh copy of a decade old OS is going to be difficult. When I got it, it had a working install of some version of OSX, but that's long since been deleted. I'll probably end up having to boot OSX install, click one button, then reboot remove the OSX drive, and all will be right in the world...

That, or I'll have to move this to one of the newer ones. It's just running OpenMediaVault and Plex, but it's darn good at it, and I want to use the better hardware for other stuff.


I tried it with another HDD that is known good for booting (I DD'd an IDE drive with debian on it to a SATA drive which I'm trying to boot now, so the IDE drive was used), and it does the same thing.


I have little hope that someone will happen upon this post, but stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile I'll be downloading OSX 10.2 (Some cat name) off ThePirateBay... Should take about a month.

Thanks,
Chance
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Re: Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Postby llivv » 2019-01-15 01:22

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3095886
scroll down to the third post:
Jun 3, 2011 4:19 AM in response to gomaccrazy

Try holding down the option key. You should get a screen that allows you to pick from bootable drives.

If your startup disk appears, select it. After it boots, go into the System Preferences, Startup Disk, and set it.


If that doesn't work, try booting while holding down the shift key.


If that doesn't work, you may have to reinstall.


Unless you are often editing files larger than 20 MB, there's not much need to defrag Mac OS X.
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Re: Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Postby llivv » 2019-01-15 01:33

you could also try pulling the memory you just installed
reboot once or twice
and another once or twice using the Option key

if Grub or boot camp or whatever your bootloader is
still doesn't show up try resetting pram again...

edit: https://www.macworld.com/article/2018853/when-good-macs-go-bad-steps-to-take-when-your-mac-wont-start-up.html
scroll to
Step 2 Safe Boot
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Re: Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-01-15 05:40

t4thfavor wrote:I've tried the reinstall-grub stuff

Did you add the --removable flag to the `grub-install` command? That should let GRUB boot without NVRAM entries.
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Re: Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Postby t4thfavor » 2019-01-15 11:21

So I have already tried the old ram, etc. it booted many times with the new ram, so that is why I did not suspect it.


HERE IS WHAT FIXED IT...

https://apple.stackexchange.com/questio ... out-refind

Specifically step #6
Code: Select all
cp /Volumes/EFI/EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi /Volumes/EFI/EFI/Boot/bootx64.efi


Except replace the OSX style paths with /boot/efi/EFI/Boot/grubx64.efi

No idea, but it seems the older Mac is incapable of finding the bootloader in the debian folder under EFI.

Will try it more later as the system is headless too (I know, great...), and difficult to mess with when remote.

Thanks for all the replies.

-Chance
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Re: Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Postby p.H » 2019-01-15 11:39

t4thfavor wrote:I've tried the reinstall-grub stuff

What have you tried exactly ? Which commands ?

t4thfavor wrote:cp /Volumes/EFI/EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi /Volumes/EFI/EFI/Boot/bootx64.efi

As suggested by Head_on_a_Stick, "grub-install --removable" would have done this automatically.

t4thfavor wrote:No idea, but it seems the older Mac is incapable of finding the bootloader in the debian folder under EFI.

The UEFI firmware needs to register a boot entry for anything outside EFI/Boot/bootx64.efi. EFI boot entries are stored in the NVRAM. grub-install (without arguments) should have re-created a boot entry.
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Re: Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Postby t4thfavor » 2019-01-15 13:18

I just did the regular grub-install, and possibly grub-install /dev/sde

efibootmgr shows an entry for "debian" and that's it, it's just no longer capable of finding that entry without the --removeable flag (I guess).

Bottom line is now it works. I stumbled upon the entry early this AM, and before coming back here and reading anything posted after last night.

I never tried the shift key, but holding down left alt did not allow me to see other bootable media until I put the rEFIt flash drive in.

Thanks for everyone's help!

-Chance
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Re: Mac Pro cannot boot after NVRAM reset

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-01-15 18:07

t4thfavor wrote:efibootmgr shows an entry for "debian" and that's it

Liar! :mrgreen:

The `efibootmgr` output should also show the boot order and that is probably what the problem was if you can see a "debian" entry.
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