Developer compiled Windows XP/2003 source code from Leak

[German]In September 2020 the news about a leak of the source code of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 made the rounds trough the media. It looks like the code really is from Microsoft. A developer has succeeded in compiling a copy of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 from these source codes. But it turned out that the source code of Windows XP is incomplete.


The Windows source code leak

One person had shared a collection of source code on torrents in September 2020 and stated on the platform 4Chan that the torrents contained the source code for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and other Microsoft operating systems. Later it turned out that the torrents contained a bizarre collection of all kinds of material, including conspiracy theory videos about Bill Gates.

Windows XP Source Code Leak-Tweets

But a security researcher confirms that a source code archive of 2.93 GByte is also available on a website from the 43 GB torrent. This contains the source code for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. I had reported about this leak in the blog post Windows XP Source Code leaked. Microsoft announced a few days ago that they would investigate the case, but the question was: Is this all real. In the meantime there were reports  that there were hints in the source code about special Mac themes for Windows XP. 

Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 compiled

A developer with the Twitter name @NTDEV (meanwhile protected) has taken these source codes and tries to build executable Windows versions from them. Bleeping Computer reports this night at Twitter, that the developer was partially successful (article). 

Windows XP und Windows Server 2003 gebaut


The developer was able to compile a system from the source codes of Windows XP. But the Winlogon.exe was missing, so the result was not installable. But the developer had more success with the source code of Windows Server 2003. He got an installable operating system version. The developer had then made and uploaded YouTube videos.

In an interview with ZDNet the developer confirmed these findings. In the meantime, not only the Twitter channel of the developer is protected. The YouTube videos are now also blocked. There is a notice 'This video is no longer available due to a complaint of copyright infringement by Microsoft Corporation'. So the source code must be from the Microsoft developer labs.

But all in all the story has only 'academic meaning' for me. It shows that even a Windows source code is not safe from leaks. It also turns out that Microsoft prosecuting copyright interests. As a normal user you can't really do anything with the source code anyway (so I don't share more details or links). Experts could at most scan the code for vulnerabilities and bugs.

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2 Responses to Developer compiled Windows XP/2003 source code from Leak

  1. Anders says:

    "Experts could at most scan the code for vulnerabilities and bugs."

    That really is the interesting part: check what NSA and other USA government agencies forced Microsoft to include on their older Operating Systems for surveillance… Or what they included voluntarily to cooperate and exchange favors…

    • yghfrghygh says:

      I do really wish security researchers and privacy advocates such as Madaidan investigate how intrusive the old Windows versions really are. Considering people stay with Windows 7 instead of updating to Windows 10 because of "muh privacy", yet they ignore the fact that Microsoft's been doing this many years ago, starting with a little weird "feature" Microsoft Office had around the 90s, that was discovered by a customer, and later "patched".

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