The source code for Microsoft’s Xbox console has been leaked online, along with Windows NT 3.5 code. The Xbox source code includes the operating system kernel on the original console, a custom version of Windows 2000. We can confirm that the Xbox operating system that was leaked online earlier this month is real. A Microsoft spokesman told The Verge in a statement: “We are aware of these reports and are investigating. “
Although the Xbox OS leak included some build environments, Xbox development kits, simulators for testing, and internal documentation, we understand that the kernel and source code have been circulating privately among enthusiasts before. This means it is unlikely to help further develop Xbox home-made systems and Xbox game simulators.
There are already many Xbox simulators, including CXBX, XQEMU, and CXBX Reloaded, but most are trying to simulate the original Xbox operating system and kernel. Microsoft took x86 hardware into account when it developed the first Xbox, but the Xbox kernel is based on a custom and split version of Windows 2000 and supports DirectX 8.
Unofficial simulators have been trying to replicate the kernel for years, but so far they have supported only about 40 games, compared with more than 900 on Xbox. Microsoft has its own Xbox and Xbox 360 game-only simulator, but is currently only available on Xbox One consoles, but not on Windows PCs.
The Xbox leak coincided with the near-final version of Windows NT 3.5’s source code. The source code includes all the necessary build tools that should allow enthusiasts to mine the old operating system. Since Windows NT 3.5 support ended in December 2001 and the operating system is used in only a few systems worldwide, source code disclosure is not a major security issue.
Over the years, Microsoft has largely protected its proprietary Windows and Xbox source code. As early as 2004, some of the source code for Windows 2000 and NT 4 was leaked, and even in 2017, some of Windows 10’s source code was published online. We asked Microsoft to comment on the Windows NT 3.5 source code leak, but the company said it had nothing to share for this particular event.