I obtained a free Vista key from UCI through the "msdn academic alliance" program available to ICS students. The Vista installer from msdn-aa was a downloader that required a previous version of windows. I didn't want to install XP first, so I got a Vista installer dvd disk image from a friend and burned it onto a DVD + R.
Following are some instructions for installing Vista on a MacPro, problems I had and a bit on iTunes library parsing I had to do to rebuild my collection.
Specs: 2.66Ghz, ATI X1900, 2GB RAM (OEM), 20" Cinima Display
Simple steps/instructions for installing onto a 2ndary drive:
- Install Boot Camp (on top of a Mac OS X install of course)
- Insert the Vista Install DVD
- Reboot (either hold 'c' to boot directly from the dvd or hold 'alt/option' and then select the dvd from the drive selection images)
- Install Vista (make sure you select the right empty drive to install onto)
- Vista will reboot your machine. You probably wont be able to hold down 'alt/option' to select a drive to boot from. So after it boots back into Mac OS X you're going to want to change your boot disk so that you wont boot back to Mac OS X for the rest of the install.
- System Preferences > Startup Disk > Windows (on Untitled)
(Once you're done in Vista you can change this back. To boot into Mac OS X you'll have to reboot holding 'alt/option' and select your Mac Hard Drive.)
- Reboot (it should launch Vista and continue the installation)
- Vista might restart once more.
- Vista will automatically download updates (if you chose the default update settings)
- Download & Install ATI Catalyst Vista drivers
- Reboot to finalize updates and driver installation
- My biggest problem was with hard drives. I have 3 installed, two had mac data on them. For some reason one of the currently in use disks had an "unallocated" part according to the Vista installer and I ended up reformatting my media drive on accident. While this majority sucks it was more my fault than Vistas. Just beware that the drive selection page is pretty confusing with all the small (200mb+) partitions created on each Mac OS Extended (Journaled) drive. What finally worked for me was to install onto an unformatted/unallocated drive. Also note that I was unable to get Vista to work on the drive that came with my Mac Pro (I'm using another drive for OS X booting). For some reason it would say "Drive Error" when I tried to reboot the first time after the installation, but the same steps worked fine on my other 3rd party drive.
- The Mac XP drivers don't work on Vista so don't bother installing them. For the time being the extra keyboard buttons wont do anything.
- Also I've heard that the Mighty Mouse doesn't work during install but works afterwards. I was using a Logitech laser mouse the whole time so I can't verify. (I also downloaded mouse drivers after the install, but only for additional mouse button features.)
- I downloaded and installed the C&C3 demo and maxed the settings. It looks and plays pretty fantastically.
- Vista auto detected my home router network. So getting on the internet was fully transparent.
- I still had the iTunes Library files, so I was able to reconstruct a list of all my music that was lost on my media drive. Re-ripping/downloading has been a pain tho.
List of iTunes Library Music by Album/Artist:
- Opened iTunes normally > File > Export Library...
- I found an iTunes XML parser online from http://www.lazycat.org/software.html
- I wrote a lib2list.py script that uses the iTunes.py parser to make a list of all albums with more than 1 track and print them to the console. (put both files in the same folder on your hard drive)
- Terminal > "python '[path]/lib2list.py' '[path]/iTunes Music Library.xml'"
- Copy from the Terminal into a text file if you'd like and save it.