What is the programming language used to make Windows XP ?

Posted on 2006-06-29
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
What is the programming language used to make Windows XP ?
Question by:brokenlove
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by:Éric Moreau
ID: 17011704
Hi brokenlove,

Java! No seriously, I really think (without being a 100% sure) it is C++.

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callrs earned 200 total points
ID: 17011870
Quote:     Google Answers: What language was windows written in?
Subject: Re: What language was windows written in?
Answered By: j_philipp-ga on 29 Apr 2003 01:27 PDT
Hello Trent44,

It's a combination of C/C++ and Assembly, according to various sources. (Only Microsoft knows for sure, but they don't provide the source code to their Operating System.)

The following discussion provides reasonable speculations to answer your question:

What language is Windows written in?

Similar information can be found in technical newsgroups.

Windows applications on the other hand are written in many different languages such as Visual C++, Visual Basic, or Java.

Hope it helps!

Assisted Solution

SajidHussain earned 50 total points
ID: 17012059
Microsoft used Visual C++, C and Assembly language. Although for their all other application which released after .NET framework are made in Visual Studio .NET.
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SStory earned 150 total points
ID: 17012509
Well, a mixture for sure.  Mostly C++. In the old days Windows used a bit of Prolog on the startup for a little AI.
I'm sure there is or will be more and more c#/.NET.  There is of course a bunch of html and javascript for the UI and possibly vbscript.

You can bet that User32DLL and Kernel32DLL and the like are C or C++

Someone leaks Windows code some months or years ago--you could probably find it and look--somewhere on the Internet.

I have heard that most of the OS is written in India--designed in Redmond.

Who knows.

Expert Comment

ID: 17013890
hey as all said... i'm sure it is C++...

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Expert Comment

ID: 17014072
No, tarek, I'm sure it's not C++, for the simple reason that vtables create an unacceptable performance hit for tight loops. Large amounts of Windows are definitely written in C++, but the more serious critical parts are written in C or asm.
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ID: 17015522
C++ and Assembly

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kindepe1 earned 50 total points
ID: 17016421
Lots of answers here, some correct :)

Windows XP has indeed been written in a number of languages - as there are many, many components to it and unfortunately it is built on older versions of windows, so it's not all been re-written if you know what I mean.

As far as I know, Xp has been written in assembler for some very low level code, then a large amount of C code, with C++ extensions and for some of the higher level (mostly UI) stuff.

Nothing like java could be used (as its interpreted adn well..slow), some goes for all .net stuff, and when it comes to things like VB...well writing an OS in that would be insane lol, it's bad enough as it is :)

The Windows 2000 source code was leaked a few years ago, well a portion of it - and that contained both standard ANSI C and C++ code in it, that's as close as you will get to proof I guess unless you work for a Microsoft or a microsoft partner, or you have an MSDN universal sub :)
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SStory earned 150 total points
ID: 17018478
As far a java script and vb go...

It depends on what you consider the operating system. I'm sure the kernel wasn't written in either and would be C/C++, however, the U/I, like explorer makes heavy use of javascript and html as do more and more MS programs.

It is a matter of perspective and what you are calling the OS.  The U/I isn't really an OS, but it is what most folks see and think about.
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Expert Comment

ID: 17022679

Many languages are used including HTML and Javascript
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ID: 17023097
I've looked around and can't find anything that uses HTML and/or JavaScript - can you indicate where these might be used?
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kiranvj earned 50 total points
ID: 17023506
Hi bpmurray,
you wont find the html / javascript code that easiy. Most part is done using c/c++, asm or some other language only M$ knows.

Html, Javascript and CSS are used for the GUI part. And its mostly undocumented.

Open a folder, for eg My Documents, on the left side u can see an image and some text like, "Select an item to view description", "Stores and Manages Documents". "See also My Networks places"

The whole white space between the Address Bar and Status bar below is made using a class of control called Internet Explorer_Server(same control is used in Internet Explorer , that why the similarity). Using this control we can display good graphix by html, javascript and css. You can check the class using Spy, which comes with the Visual Studio CD. What they did was disabled the right click.

Internet Explorer_Server was used by several other programs like Norton AV, Yahoo messanger to display eye catching graphics using html,javascript, flash, css and they disable the right click. I have also used it in some of my programs.

Actually what shows inside the Internet Explorer_Server control is a html page, and we can interact the javascript inside the html with the C++ or Vb code of the program and vice versa. I think there are some good links in

The advantage of using Internet Explorer_server is that we can display high end graphix  in our programs using html, javascript , css etc.

hope its clear.
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ID: 17023551
cool - I didn't know that!

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