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How Microsoft’s Xbox original source code got leaked?

A few days ago, the rumor began to spread about the alleged leak of the original Xbox source code, the Microsoft console. Cloud computing security experts have now confirmed the incident, mentioning that in addition to the console code, a version of Windows NT 3.5 (a custom version of Windows 200) was leaked.

A Microsoft spokesperson commented, “We’re aware of these reports and we’ll start an investigation to determine what really happened.” Apparently, the leak happened earlier this month.

Details of this leak include some build environments, Xbox development kit, test emulators, and internal documents. However, the kernel and source code were shared privately among some users, so cloud computing security experts find this filtering unlikely to be useful for emulator development enthusiasts or home versions of the games (a practice known as homebrew).


Although there are multiple Xbox emulators (such as CXBX, XQEMU, or CXBX Reloaded), none have been able to perfectly emulate the original kernel and operating system. Microsoft created its first version of the console with x86 hardware in mind, although the kernel is based on a simplified version of Windows 2000 with support for DirectX 8.

Unofficial emulator creators have tried to replicate this kernel for years, but so far they have only managed to emulate 40 video games, a minimum amount compared to the nearly 1000 titles available for the original Xbox console. Although Microsoft has a proprietary version of Emulator for Xbox and Xbox 360, it is only available for your Xbox One console, cloud computing security experts mention.

Along with the Xbox leak, the source code for an almost complete version of Windows NT 3.5 also appeared. This source code includes all the necessary build tools, so any programmer with sufficient knowledge could understand this development without further complications. Microsoft terminated support for Windows NT 3.5 in December 2001, so this operating system is only used in a few deployments worldwide, so the company doesn’t seem to be too concerned about this leak, mentions the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS).

Microsoft has taken the patented Windows and Xbox source code very seriously over the years. The Windows 2000 and NT 4 partial source code was leaked in 2004, and even some of the Windows 10 source code was released online in 2017. By questioning Microsoft about leaking the Windows NT 3.5 source code, the company concluded by saying that it has nothing to share regarding this particular incident.

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