On June 24th 2021, Microsoft officially announce the release of Windows 11.
With the announcement, also came the controversial confirmation that computers that are missing the TPM module, would not be able to install Windows 11.
What Is TPM?
TPM stands for Trusted Platform Module. It has many uses and comes in many forms. Some are on-chip, some are separate chips (modules) on the board. The example we’ll use is in the form of a chip on the motherboard of your computer that handles security.
The chip acts as an authenticator. This technology is already widely used in other tech and devices. The key fob for you car, the keypad for your home alarm. If they do not match up by using the same crypto-key, they simply won’t work. Apple computers have already been using this technology since around 2016. A similar technology is used in your smartphones.
The module allows for example, owners to lockdown and clear their devices if they are lost or stolen. Similar to BitLocker feature that is built in to Windows 10 Pro.
Data can be encrypted if the wrong password is used or the machine is tampered with.
Why Is Forcing TPM So Controversial?
Millions of older computers will become obsolete.
A few days before making the announcement that Windows 11 was coming, Microsoft announced that the “End-of-life” support date for Windows 10 will be 2025. (Remember the promise of Windows 10 being the final release).
You may be running a really basic, or very high-end computer. But if the chipset is more than a few years old, you will not be able to run Windows 11.
This news has received wide criticism from end-users and tech experts. In the middle of a global chip-shortage, Microsoft appear to be forcing users to upgrade the hardware on their systems. Which often means buying a completely new system. This results in tons of electronic waste in order to push sales of new computers.
Understandably, there are Windows users who have very expensive, high performance PCs, that work perfectly well just now, being told that in order to run the latest OS, they will have to scrap and buy a new one.
Another concern of using TPM encrypted systems, means that in the event of a hardware failure, recovering data by removing the drive and attaching to another system will be a thing of the past.
Plus Side Of TPM
The benefit is additional security. By improving security, data theft and malware infection becomes a thing of the past. (That’s the plan).
Does My Computer Have TPM?
Use Windows Powershell to Check If Your PC Supports TPM
- Open Windows Powershell (Admin)
Right-click on your Start Menu and launch Windows Powershell as administraor.
- Use the Get-Tpm command
Within Powershell, type and enter the following text Get-Tpm
The results will display whether your current system has TPM support. If the result for TpmPresent is False, then your computer doesn’t meet requirements for W11.
What Next If My Computer Can’t Run Windows 11?
Firstly, as with previous systems reaching “end-of-life”, although Windows 10 support ends in 2025, this will simply mean that there won’t be any more major feature updates. Security patches are likely to continue for some years after the cut-off date.
Or, there’s always Linux.
My Personal View On This Move
This is the start of Windows locking down. We had a taste of this with Windows 10 S.
It is progression. It makes sense that Microsoft are keen for data protection and security to go hand-in-hand with their operating system. But computers picking up virus’s and malware has already been significantly reduced since SSL browser encryption is now standard.
As a business that provides computer repairs, things are going to get tricky. I predict that hardware matching will be the next step. Like Apple’s model of keeping repairs in-house by preventing the use of unauthorized replacement parts. (a quick Google search of : right to repair, makes interesting reading as there are organisations campaigning against this practice.).
Installing software will soon be limited to apps that you have to get via the Microsoft Store (you know, that Windows App store thing that neither you or I have ever used).
The PC model is moving more and more towards a Playstation or iPad type system.
A final note. the computer that I am using to write this article, was considered to be a higher-end system, capable of running any heavy duty software or the latest game titles with ease. But it won’t take Windows 11. It doesn’t support TPM, it’s just a couple of years too old. I didn’t realise that I needed a complete new system. Not until June 24th 2021, when Microsoft announced that this computer is in fact “out-of-date”.
The Video Version Of This Article