1. Yes Linux can do this, but I'm not sure whether any of the standard Live CDs contain the necessary modules to read Mac partitioned disks and HFS+ file systems.
2. Workflow sounds fine. It's not a particularly complicated operation.
3. You can do this purely in Windows using HFSExplorer
. But of course you need an installed Windows to run this. (On the other hand, you may need an installed Linux to run your solution.) You could always use GParted Live
to resize the partitions on one of your 1TB drives, move everything from the 500GB disk to that one, and then install Windows on the 500GB disk. Then you could use HFSExplorer to move the data from the Mac disks to Windows ones. (I hope that makes sense! Really it's your solution with GParted Live being your live Linux CD.)