#23 Boot Vista natively (in EFI)

rEFIt 2.0 (Future)

According to Microsoft, recent Vista builds (RC1, RC2) support booting
on a x64 machine with EFI firmware, such as a MacPro. Looking inside
the ISO images of Vista x64 RC1 provides evidence for this (presence of
an EFI folder, of a bootmgr.efi file at the root level, etc.).

According to http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/
firmware/efibrief.mspx, the Vista ISO uses a second El Torito boot
catalog entry to point to a FAT32 filesystem with the Vista bootloader
on it, which then boots the Vista installer (itself on an UDF filesystem).

However, it seems that Apple's firmware (and rEFIt) does not see this
entry and boots using the first boot entry (which is the legacy one).
Assuming it is operating under a BIOS, the DVD installs the legacy, non
EFI-supporting version of Vista.

Would it be possible for rEFIt to support the EFI boot entry on the Vista
DVD, making a native Vista installation possible ?



  • Logged In: YES

    Well, as far as rEFIt is concerned, it already does support Vista. There is code
    to check for bootmgr.efi and some other paths/file names that may be used
    on the Vista DVD. But rEFIt needs the cooperation of both Apple (as the
    firmware vendor) and Microsoft to make Vista boots happen, and it looks like
    both aren't there yet.

    First, Microsoft says that it will support UEFI 2.0 on x64 in a future service
    pack of Vista, and nothing else. If they stay true to this statement, all EFI
    support should disappear from the final release of Vista.

    Next point is 32-bit vs. 64-bit. Apple's firmware is still EFI 1.10 and 32-bit
    x86, even on the Mac Pro. (If it wasn't 32-bit, the current rEFIt binaries
    wouldn't run on it. There is no such thing as a mixed 32/64-bit EFI.) So even
    if Vista's EFI loader would up in the rEFIt boot menu, chances are that it
    simply wouldn't run because it's x64, not x86.

    And finally, it appears that Apple has changed the El Torito detection in
    recent versions of the firmware, possibly to the point of simply ripping the
    EFI-relevant part of it out. The Mactel-Linux Live CD used a hybrid approach
    with two El Torito entries like the Vista DVD, and the second entry is no
    longer picked up. This needs more investigation.

    • status: open --> open-postponed
  • Logged In: YES

    Minor update: I checked out the Vista RC1 DVD images for x86 and x64. Both of
    them only have one ElTorito entry. The x64 image has two EFI executables on it
    which I copied to my hard disk, but both refuse to load with an "Unsupported"
    error, very likely because they are compiled for x64, not x86. So there is no way
    this will work until Apple comes up with a x64-native EFI firmware.

    • priority: 5 --> 3
    • labels: --> rEFIt Functional
    • milestone: --> rEFIt 2.0 (Future)
    • priority: 3 --> 1
  • Logged In: NO

    Consider revisiting the bug for Windows Server 2008, which will support EFI on x64 platforms.

  • Logged In: NO

    Consider revisiting the bug for Windows Server 2008, which will support
    EFI on x64 platforms.

    Yuhong Bao