Early Windows OS Versions Source Code Leaks Online, Possibly Threatening Windows 10, But Microsoft Still Silent?

The source code for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and other old Microsoft operating systems has reportedly leaked online. Although there’s no official confirmation about the authenticity and accuracy of the alleged source code, the newer operating systems from Microsoft could be in danger of exploitation. Microsoft hasn’t yet offered any clarification about the alleged leak.

Microsoft appears to have fallen victim to a rather massive leak regarding its Windows operating system. A large collection of files has surfaced online, which appears to be the source code of the popular but old Microsoft Windows Operating Systems. Although fairly obsolete, these files could allow hackers to devise exploits and attacks targeted on new Windows OS versions like Windows 10.

Experts Confirm Old Windows OS Source Code Has Leaked Online?

Microsoft hasn’t officially acknowledged the massive leak, but several experts who claim to have analyzed the files, insists the files are legitimate. This strongly indicates the source code for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and other Microsoft operating systems has indeed leaked online. The OS sources were leaked online as a 42.9 GB torrent file on 4chan, an online message board.

The content of the torrent file apparently includes source code for several of Microsoft’s older operating systems, such as Windows 2000, Embedded (CE 3, CE 4, CE 5, CE, 7), Windows NT (3.5 and 4), XP, and Server 2003. Interestingly, the torrent folder also contained the source code of the first Xbox operating system, MS-DOS (3.30 and 6), and the source code for various Windows 10 components. The list of contents that are part of this huge leak are as follows.

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003
  • MS DOS 3.30
  • MS DOS 6.0
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows CE 3
  • Windows CE 4
  • Windows CE 5
  • Windows Embedded 7
  • Windows Embedded CE
  • Windows NT 3.5
  • Windows NT 4

Source Code Leak Not A New One But Rather A Collection Of Previous Leaks, And Hence Windows 10 OS Users Not At Risk?

Experts who have analyzed the leak observe that several of the files and folders within the massive 43GB torrent file have actually leaked years before. They claim the new leak could merely be a comprehensive collection of old files and folders that have been hoarded and exchanged in private by data brokers who deal in such commodities.

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It is interesting to note that the source code of such operating systems was never fully private. Experts indicate the source code was merely proprietary. In other words, the source code of several Windows operating systems was available outside of Microsoft’s secure data vaults. In fact, Microsoft has granted access to the source code of its operating systems to quite a few governments across the world.

The special access to the source code of operating systems is granted for some specific purposes such as conducting security audits and ensuring the operating systems are in fact reliable. Access to source code is also granted to academic teams for the purpose of scientific research. Incidentally, experts assume the leak might have taken place from academia.

The files could be authentic but they might not be comprehensive, and certainly not in the order and nature that Microsoft utilizes. There’s however, a remote possibility that Microsoft could have kept on using some code from Windows XP within Windows 10. But hackers would have to dig deep and find a connection within Windows 10. But since Windows 10 source code is still secure, hackers might not succeed with this approach.

The only true danger is to Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server users. However, users of these obsolete and archaic operating systems have been in danger ever since Microsoft stopped supporting these operating systems.

Alap Naik Desai


A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.