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Original Xbox and Windows NT 3.5 source codes leak online

Xbox hack concerns should be kept to a minimum, but not the same can be said for the NT 3.5 leak. (Image Source: Entertainment Box)
Xbox hack concerns should be kept to a minimum, but not the same can be said for the NT 3.5 leak. (Image Source: Entertainment Box)
Since these are "vintage" source codes, there should be no concern regarding possible hacks. Emulators for the original Xbox already exist and are said to already be using the leaked codes, but still cannot provide complete compatibility with today's PC systems. As for the impact of the Windows NT 3.5 source code leak, Microsoft chose not to comment knowing full well that snippets from the old OS can still be found lurking within the latest version of Windows NT 10.

The Verge reports that the source codes for the original Xbox console and Windows NT 3.5 operating systems have leaked online, but this is not the first time such leaks happen. Partial Windows 2000 and NT4 kernel codes leaked back in 2004, while large chunks of Windows 10 code got dumped online by 2017. Apparently, the original Xbox source code has already been passed around in private groups that work on emulators, so the latest leak will not really further improve the stability of existing Xbox emulators, unfortunately.

Microsoft immediately stated that it is “aware of these reports and [...] investigating,” yet, when asked about the impact of the NT 3.5 leak, the company chose not to comment. The original Xbox source code was launched in 2001 and the NT 3.5 code is even older, predating Windows ‘95, so there should not be much concern about any devastating hacks.

Nevertheless, the leak can still prove useful for aspiring coders, as the Xbox OS leak includes some build environments, the Xbox Development Kit, emulators for testing and internal documentation. Despite already having had access to such tools, third party emulator developers still cannot figure out how to properly run most of the original Xbox titles on PC. According to The Verge, only around 40 titles out of 900 currently have limited emulation support because Microsoft originally wrote the code for x86 hardware while using a custom stripped down version of Windows 2000 with DirectX 8 support.  

The situation with the Windows NT 3.5 leak might be a bit different. Coders can now gain access to all the necessary build tools that facilitate a proper understanding of the NT 3.5 inner workings, and that could potentially prove to be problematic since snippets from the "vintage" code can still be found buried in the modern Windows NT 10 version.

Original Xbox dashboard (Source: The Verge)
Original Xbox dashboard (Source: The Verge)
Windows NT 3.5 (Source: Wikipedia)
Windows NT 3.5 (Source: Wikipedia)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 05 > Original Xbox and Windows NT 3.5 source codes leak online
Bogdan Solca, 2020-05-22 (Update: 2020-05-22)