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My friend gave me a spare harddrive he had, a 320GB Hitachi HTS545032B9A302. I was hoping I could use this in place of my 70GB internal drive at home. However it says on the label that it has Apple HDD Firmware 2010. This raised my eyebrow - does this mean my non-Mac PC will be able to read and write from this harddrive (and, ergo, install Windows 8 to it) so long as I format it correctly? Or will my computer not be able to talk to it due to not having the right firmware?

I've tried using google to find an alternate firmware download just in case, but that's failed me.

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A HDD is a HDD. You are going to format it so it doesn't matter whats on there now. –  Ramhound May 8 '13 at 23:05
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@Ramhound - True, but this is -firmware-, not a file system. I've always been informed that firmware was something more permanent and on-the-board than a file-system format. –  Joshua Merriman May 8 '13 at 23:15
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Apple computers use the same standard hardware as any other manufacturer, although they may buy certain batches for different products.

The firmware still must talk to the OS the same as any other. I am not sure if Apple is back to their old game of restricting their OS only on specific hard drives, but that may be more of the reason for the re-label. The hard SN series and firmware might be to control where you buy a replacement drive for your MAC.

Either way, there should be no problem with installing another OS on the drive, or using it as a second drive. The firmware must remain standard otherwise a BIOS our UEFI would not be able to communicate with the drive. Macs can dual boot Windows or have another OS too, so this suggests nothing real odd is going on.

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"Macs can dual boot Windows or have another OS too, so this suggests nothing real odd is going on." - True, but a Mac's hardware might be the real deciding factor here - the BIOS/UEFI needs to talk to the hard disk first to load the OS. I was unsure about whether or not my non-Mac PC would be able to talk to the Mac hard disk firmware, whereas it makes sense for Mac hardware being able to talk to Mac hard disk firmware. I'll try it out once I get home to see if that's the case or not. –  Joshua Merriman May 9 '13 at 1:08
    
I loaded up the blank hard disk into my computer and the BIOS read it as a Hitachi HTS-whatever, so it all looks fine! I'll assume writing/reading works fine, even though I haven't tried yet; if the BIOS understands it, then it should be good enough for the Windows 8 installer! –  Joshua Merriman May 10 '13 at 1:29
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