Comedy of Errors: Mac gpu dies, no boot screen, Unifi Controller on unselectable MacOS disk

I’m not sure how all these issues occurred at the same time (or at least close enough together to cause issues), but here’s the story:

My Unifi network Controller app is on my 2008 Mac Pro. It has 2 GPUs, the original ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT that supports the Mac boot screen, and a Nvidia 750ti that is a PC card and so doesn’t support the boot screen. The 750ti is my normal gpu, the 2600XT is connected to a smaller monitor that I only use to access the Mac boot screen to switch between Windows 10 and MacOS.

At some point the 2600 XT just stopped working, it doesn’t have any video output from either of the monitor connectors. I’ve pulled it out and reseated it, but it’s just dead. While I was booted in MacOS a couple of days ago I changed the default boot disk to Windows 10 (mistake #1) to access some files from Windows. At that point I started to realize I’d lost a way of getting back into MacOS without a way to get to the boot screen.

Fast forward a few days, I started up my DL380 rack server which I use on a different IP range to the IP range for the rest of the house. I can get to the HP ILO on 10.0.0.2, but I can’t access ESXi which is normally on 10.0.0.3. I can’t get to the Unifi Controller (because it’s on the MacOS disk that I can’t boot) to see what IP that port on the hub has, and running arp -a or using Angry IP scanner is not showing any new IPs getting allocated via DHCP.

My stack of network hubs is under my desk, so getting underneath my desk I realized I’d plugged the DL380 in to the PoE input port and not a network port. While adding another PC to the hub a few weeks back I had moved that port from my 10.x.x.x network back to 192.168.1.x. So now plugging the DL380 network into any other free port on another hub means ESXI still thinks it’s on 10.0.0.3, but I can’t reach it as there’s no route via the port it’s now plugged into.

I need to switch back one of the ports on my Unifi switch back to the 10.x.x.x network, but:

  • I can’t boot my Mac Pro to MacOS because it’s stuck in Windows 10
  • I need to get a replacement Mac GPU that supports the boot screen
  • I can’t switch a port on the Unifi switch back to 10.x.x.x because I can’t access the Unifi controller app
  • I don’t have remote access enabled to my Unifi network
  • I don’t even know what id/pwd I can use to ssh into the Unifi switch

Next steps:

  • Cheap replacement Nvidia GT 120 ordered on ebay for $30.

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