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Can I swap out the hard drive for one with windows already on it

I have a 1 tb hard drive from a windows laptop I had that died and I have an old iMac from a family member that doesn’t need it anymore can I swap the hard drive so I can run windows instead of OSX.

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First the drive will need to be a 2.5” to fit inside and support the newer version of S.M.A.R.T

As for running Windows only after you’ve installed BootCamp under MacOS will you be able to then install Windows. Here’s a good guide on how How to install Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp

So, if you where trying to save whats on the drive that won’t work.

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Short answer, probably not. The drive would have to be formatted as GPT; if the donor Windows machine was a UFEI system then you MIGHT be able to boot from the drive. You can try connecting the drive to a USB adapter and seeing if the Mac will boot from it. If it shows up as a boot device then it's GPT.

However, even if you can boot into it you'll need a Windows license key and Apple's Boot Camp drivers for the hardware. If your Mac is running OS X now that second part shouldn't be a problem; just run Boot Camp Assistant and make a USB drive with the drivers on it.

Personally, I'd just swap the hard drives, reformat, install OS X, then use Boot Camp Assistant to make the smallest possible/practical OS X partition, then clean-install Windows onto the other partition. Least amount of question marks there.

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