Windows 11, all about TPM 2.0: what it is, what it’s for and why it’s important

Among the most talked about requirements of Windows 11 is TPM version 2.0: what it is and why we should consider it essential

As often happens when something new is unveiled, the Windows 11 announcement has also monopolized the attention of the network. Enthusiasts are eager to see Microsoft's next operating system at work, but it won't be easy for a number of factors and for the confusion that followed the announcement.

Initially, Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 11 by the end of the year, but then specified that it will be available by the end of 2021 on new computers (in these hours the prevailing hypothesis is October), while those who already have a Windows 10 license will have to wait for the update coming in the first half of 2022. To complicate things even more, an oversight on the part of Microsoft: among the requirements of Windows 11, TPM 1.2 was first indicated, but then corrected a few days later with TPM 2.0, a relatively recent feature that could cut out several products not yet obsolete. But what is TPM, and how necessary is it?

What is TPM and why is it important

TPM first stands for Trusted Platform Module, a chip built into PC motherboards or inside the CPU. The TPM is tasked with protecting cryptographic keys, login credentials and other sensitive data such as fingerprints used to access the PC from malware and hackers.

A stolen password is a big deal, but it can be changed and the problem solved. But when it's a fingerprint that's stolen... well, it becomes a lot more complex. So the importance of the TPM is utmost, it's a fundamental chip in a world like today's where information travels more and more in digital format, and smartphones and PCs hold a lot of sensitive information.

The TPM is the basis of technologies such as Windows Hello, BitLocker and many others in the operating system, so the fact that Microsoft has decided to build the Windows of the future on the TPM 2.0, the most recent and on paper also the most secure, should not be surprising, especially in a historical moment like the current one, in which the pandemic has faded the boundary between consumer and business use also due to the massive recourse to smart working.

In short, maximum security is needed in both consumer and business products since the boundary between the two almost doesn't exist anymore. Theoretically, most laptops and pre-assembled PCs in recent years should have no problem supporting TPM 2.0. The same should apply to systems assembled with modern components, i.e. from 2017 onwards.

The speculation about TPMs has already started

After all, Microsoft's system requirements page for Windows 11 is now very clear: you need 8th generation Intel Core chips or later or AMD Ryzen 2000 chips or later. If you have a PC without TPM but components supporting the new operating system, you can try to buy a specific TPM module for your motherboard on Amazon or eBay.

They usually cost modest amounts, between 10 and 15 euros, but in the last days prices have also increased tenfold due to the sudden demand and speculators.