I'm interesteing, why someone not reverse engineer old windows 3.1?

In theory, win 3.1 have no kernel(because kernel is dos), it's simply window manager(such as x window on unix), so why i can't reverse engineer it's and modify?

closed as primarily opinion-based by perror, usr2564301, Igor Skochinsky Jan 12 '17 at 20:46

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I think this question will be closed because it's asking for an opinion. If you have something specific to ask about Windows 3.1 RE, make a new one. – Igor Skochinsky Jan 12 '17 at 20:44
  • If my memory serves well Microsoft published sources for Windows (not sure which version I think it was XP) quite a while ago and send them to selected Universities in Europe... it was ~20 CDs of code and win 3.1 files where part of it (#included in it). May be it would be better to find that instead of reversing ... – Spektre Sep 11 '17 at 7:38
  • From a quick search I found this joke Michael Sync: WINDOW XP SOURCE CODE so my memory did not played any tricks on me... so just find the real download links possibly in some msdn archive – Spektre Sep 11 '17 at 7:42

Someone should have reversed win3.1 when they needed it... they are probably retired now.

Others reimplemented Win3.1 API (Win16) in the WINE project using published API references rather than reverse engineering it (to avoid legal issues).

Early DOS source code is released a while ago.

You can reverse anything you want. You may however not be able to release any of your findings.

  • thanks, is really some old api's from win3.1 still in 10 for compatibility(and win10 can't run 16bit apps, so no need for this old api's)? – user18759 Jan 12 '17 at 19:17
  • No, but there must be some old systems that are still around that use that API, potentially even win3.1 may still be in use on some old ATMs or automation systems. – Sigtran Jan 13 '17 at 12:37
  • Why can you not release any findings? If the company hasn't patented it or copy righted it and you aren't under NDA I don't see why you can't tell everyone? Seems like part of a trade secret is the trade off that if someone does truely reverse engineer that secret it's gone. Where patent/copyright you tell everyone at the expense that they have to pay to use it. – marshal craft Jan 13 '17 at 20:03

There is a really good book which does exactly that:

"Windows Internals: The Implementation of the Windows Operating Environment" by Matt Pietrek.

It's full of disassembly listings from the Windows 3.x kernel and other parts.