Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Q: Do you have any guidelines on posting to the forum?

    A: Here are a few suggestions to make it sure you get the best answer to your question as quickly as possible:

    ·         Search for keywords of your question in the WAP forums before posting – it's likely someone may have already answered your question, and you won't have to wait for it to be answered again.

    ·         Post in the correct WAP forum (there are three: Curriculum, Windows Research Kernel, and ProjectOZ) – this will ensure subject matter experts who may not read all of the forums will see your question.

    ·         Make sure your title summarizes the specific problem or question you have – since we try to answer the maximum number of questions we can with our time, we often skim through question subjects to quickly find the ones that we know the answers to.  A question with a title of "Urgent! Help needed!" is less likely to be answered as a question with a title of "Help needed with thread scheduler priority levels."  A more specific, detailed title is far more likely to get a response than a general one. 

    ·         Once you've received a correct answer to your question, either from a Microsoft employee, an MVP, or the WAP community, please mark the post as answered.  You can do this with the "Mark as answer" button that appears on the post containing your answer.  This step is important, since it lets us know that your question has been answered.  It also lets people scanning the forums know that they can find an answer to that question by reading the thread.

    ·         Please be aware the WRK licensing terms apply to all Windows kernel source code snippets and any derivative works posted to this forum. Any posts that violate the terms of this license will be deleted by the forum moderators. Please don’t post snippets longer than 50 lines.


    Q: What is the WRK?

    A: The Windows Research Kernel (WRK) packages core Microsoft Windows XP x64/Server 2003 SP1 kernel source code with an environment for building and testing experimental versions of the Windows kernel for use in teaching and research. The WRK includes source for processes, threads, LPC, virtual memory, scheduler, object manager, I/O manager, synchronization, worker threads, kernel heap manager, and other core NTOS functionality.


    The WRK is useful in design projects that allow your students to explore operating system (OS) principles using the Windows kernel sources. It enables advanced teaching and research by facilitating building experiments and projects based on modifying the Windows kernel, as well as by promoting better understanding of the Windows architecture and implementation.


    Q: How do I get the WRK and build environment?

    A: Please note, the WRK sources are only available to those who teach or research core OS subjects at accredited universities worldwide.


    The sources are available for download through MSNDAA (MSDN Academic Alliance) subscription which is available on a departmental basis – i.e. through your Computer Science department. Please check with your department’s MSDNAA administrator for access details and go to: Once authenticated, go to Subscriber Downloads -> Faculty Connections -> Windows Academic Program -> Windows Research Kernel.


    If your department is not an MSNDAA subscriber than you may alternatively download the WRK sources through the Faculty Connection program at If you are registered with this site, click on “Get Verified Now” to log in and download the sources. However, if you are not a registered member of Faculty Connection, you will be directed to registration page. New registrations take up to 2 business days to process.

    On the Faculty Resource Center site you can see other things that might interest you. Take a look at

    Q: Do all universities, colleges, community colleges, professors worldwide have access to the WRK?

    A: We’re following in the Shared Source tradition of making academic source licensing programs broadly available. The WRK is available to those with academic affiliation with an accredited institution of higher education and direct involvement in teaching and/or research, such as being academic faculty members, system or lab administrators or instructors, students enrolled in relevant undergraduate or graduate programs, or academic researchers working on faculty sponsored projects. 


    Q. How much does it cost to get the WRK source code and build environment?

    A. The Windows Academic Program components are available at no cost, under standard royalty-free, non-commercial academic terms.


    Q: What license is used for the WRK?

    A. The WRK license allows for non-commercial, academic use in accredited higher education institutions, including use in open class; it allows for derivative works defining how the modification can be published and shared with other academic users. For more information, please read the WRK license at


    Q: What sources are available in the WRK?

    A: The WRK includes the source code for processes, threads, LPC, virtual memory, scheduler, object manager, I/O manager, synchronization, worker threads, kernel heap manager, and other core NTOS functionality.


    Q: Can I build on top of the code?

    A. Yes.  Students and faculty can modify the kernel to explore ideas and do experiments and redistribute the modified sources to others eligible to use the WRK.  The WRK license allows for non-commercial, academic use, and the modified sources cannot be co-mingled with source code under a non-compatible license. See the WRK license for the full terms and conditions.

    Q. Does the Windows Research Kernel source code include the ability to rebuild the kernel?

    A. Yes, it does. The current version of the WRK (v1.2) includes a build environment that can compile and link the sources to build a complete kernel for x86 (Server 2003 SP1) and x64 (Windows XP Pro AMD64) systems.

    Q. Would Microsoft own anything I built on top or from the OS layer?

    A. We own the IP in the code we provide, but not anything built on top of it.

    Q. Can source be shown to students in a classroom setting? Presumably all students would have to agree to licensing requirements in advance.

    A. Yes, the source code can be used in the classroom.  The licensing requirements should not be any more of a burden to students than they face with the intellectual property they are exposed to in many classes today.  They don't have to sign anything, but if they use the code they have to follow the license terms -- for example, only non-commercial use while they are students at an eligible university.


    Q: I don’t plan to use the CRK curriculum in OS instruction, but want to use the WRK for core OS research, is the CRK still useful to me?

    A: Yes, many of the PowerPoint presentation slides in the CRK provide the names of source files in the WRK that implement the core OS concept being discussed. The CRK is a roadmap into the architecture of the WRK sources and provides high level insights that would otherwise be very difficult to obtain through source code investigations alone.


    Q: Does this mean that you are "open sourcing" Windows?

    A: No. The WRK is not related to any of the community open source projects at

    Microsoft and is licensed specifically for use by universities for teaching and research.

    Q: What if I find a bug in the source code, or have an idea how to improve the algorithms?
    A: As the WRK license says in recently added clause #5, Microsoft welcomes your comments and suggestions on the source code. Please see the license for details.

    Saturday, April 4, 2009 12:02 AM