Upgrading My 2009 MacPro 5,1 to macOS Catalina
The other day I finally had a chance to look back into updating my 2009 MacPro to macOS Catalina. When I had done some research previously it appeared that it wouldn't be possible. To my excitement it seems they have figured out how to get it working though!
I would highly recommend this guide if you're looking to get your 2009 MacPro running macOS Catalina.
Of note, I had an older BootROM firmware (184.108.40.206.0) so I did have to get my MacPro updated to 220.127.116.11.0 before I could proceed. Thankfully it was super easy. I just had to snag the macOS Mojave installer which allowed me to update my system. You simply download it and open it to which it should advise you that a firmware update is needed.
Once I had my firmware updated, I went back to the OpenCore on the Mac Pro guide. One thing that frustrated me a little bit was that this required two disks which meant I would be starting fresh which I really didn't want to. It also meant that I would be moving to a spinning disk as I didn't have any spare SSDs. However, in Part I, Step 4 of the guide, instead of selecting the blank drive, I selected my SSD instead. I figured it would give me an error if it wouldn't work there. Thankfully, no errors popped up or warnings that said macOS Catalina couldn't be installed in the selected location. About 15-20 minutes later it finished and proceeded to reboot off my SSD where macOS Mojave had been installed and where all my files and stuff was to macOS Catalina!
Once that was done I went back to Steps 2 and 3 and performed those actions on my SSD. This effectively installed OpenCore to my SSD instead and reset my SSD as the main boot device. I stupidly followed the 'Toggle the VMM flag' instructions on Step 5 which I shouldn't have done until after I updated at 10.15.7 (it looks like the base install of macOS Catalina started me off at 10.15.6), so I did have to go back and untoggle the VMM flag again.
Under Part II of the guide, I did not do 'Making External Drives Internal', or 'Enabling the Graphical Boot Picker' steps. I figured they weren't that important (for now).
One other side note is that my CPU shows up as an Intel Core i3 in the About This Mac window. This may be due the 'Hybridization' step in the guide, but I am not 100% positive. I believe at one point my CPU did show properly in macOS Catalina. It's not a big issue, just cosmetic.
I'm quite excited that I have the latest version of macOS running on my 2009 MacPro, it's brought and expanded more life into the system. I am planning a CPU upgrade (Intel Xeon X5690) as well as I'd like to get 64GBs of RAM in it. Perhaps at that point it could even become my daily driver!
I'll be back with another post once I get some new hardware!