Skip to main content

Windows XP source code leaks online

Windows XP source code leaks online


Windows Server 2003 source also included

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Gates Unveils Windows XP
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Microsoft’s source code for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 has leaked online. Torrent files for both operating systems’ source code have been published on various file sharing sites this week. It’s the first time source code for Windows XP has leaked publicly, although the leaked files claim this code has been shared privately for years.

The Verge has verified the material is legitimate, and a Microsoft spokesperson tells us that the company is “investigating the matter.”

It’s unlikely that this latest source code leak will pose any significant threat to companies still stuck running Windows XP machines. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP back in 2014, although the company responded to the massive WannaCry malware attack with a highly unusual Windows XP patch in 2017.

Bliss XP wallpaper

While this is the first time Windows XP source code has appeared publicly, Microsoft does run a special Government Security Program (GSP) that allows governments and organizations controlled access to source code and other technical content.

This latest XP leak isn’t the first time Microsoft’s operating system source code has appeared online. At least 1GB of Windows 10-related source code leaked a few years ago, and Microsoft has even faced a series of Xbox-related source code leaks this year. Original Xbox and Windows NT 3.5 source code appeared online back in May, just weeks after Xbox Series X graphics source code was stolen and leaked online.

It’s not immediately clear how much of the Windows XP source code is included in this leak, but one Windows internals expert has already found Microsoft’s NetMeeting user certificate root signing keys.

Parts of the source code leak also reference Microsoft’s Windows CE operating systems, MS-DOS, and other leaked Microsoft material. Bizarrely, the files also include references to Bill Gates conspiracy theories, in a clear attempt to spread misinformation.

Update, September 25th 11:50AM ET: Updated with comment from Microsoft.