Skip to main content

Windows 11 won’t work on your PC without a TPM — how to check

Windows 11 TPM
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Hidden among the Windows 11 announcement today was a very odd, or at least surprising, system requirement. For Windows 11, all systems will need a TPM 2.0 chip.

What the heck is a TPM chip? TPM is short for Trusted Platform Module, and it's primarily known as a means for security in PCs, mostly dedicated to business notebooks and desktops. 

Windows 11: What you need

CPU: a 1 GHz or faster dual-core or higher 64-bit processor or System on a Chip
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Storage: 64 GB
TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
Graphics card: DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
Display: A greater than 9-inch display of 720p or higher

And this will likely lead many to wonder if they have this chip, because it's not one of the most consumers would ever see or consider when customizing a laptop online, especially if they're making a gaming system. 

Editor's note: This story about Windows 11's TPM requirement has been updated after Microsoft announced it will be temporarily taking down the PC Health Check app. We've also added comment from a Microsoft spokesperson, as well as notes from a Microsoft's blog post on the matter.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Tom's Guide, via email that "devices to meet the requirements for Windows 11, they will need to have a TPM. TPM support is included directly in CPUs from AMD, Qualcomm and Intel which can be found on the Windows 11 compatibility list

They followed that with the frustrating note that "If devices in market meet the TPM requirements they can upgrade to Windows 11, if not they will need a new device." That said, we've heard that some TPMs may need to be enabled in the BIOS, so reach out to your PC's manufacturer for help before you buy a new system.

On June 25, the day after Windows 11 was revealed, David Weston (Director of Enterprise and OS Security at Microsoft) published a blog on Microsoft.com, explaining the need for TPM 2.0 chips. 

Weston framed the need for such chips a security concern, writing "it’s been rare to get through a day without reading an account of a new cybersecurity threat." He then referenced an internal report that found "83 percent of businesses experienced a firmware attack, and only 29 percent are allocating resources to protect this critical layer."

And while you may not run a business off your laptop, Microsoft is arguing that everyone should be protected against such attacks. "TPM 2.0," Weston writes, "is a critical building block for providing security with Windows Hello and BitLocker to help customers better protect their identities and data. In addition, for many enterprise customers, TPMs help facilitate Zero Trust security by providing a secure element for attesting to the health of devices."

Even if you do have a TPM in your laptop, you might be surprised to know that it's there. I was personally shocked to find out that the PC I've been streaming on Twitch with, the excellent Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel, does have a TPM 2.0 chip and can in fact run Windows 11.

How did I find out? I certainly did not look it up inside my system, though you can if you know how. I chose not to, because Microsoft is offering a way to see if your PC supports Windows 11, and that's how I wanted to confirm my compatibility. 

That said, a quick look at the update's other major system requirements (a 64-bit dual-core processor of 1 GHz or faster, 4GB of RAM and a 64GB storage device) would let me know that my machine qualified — and so the shorter version would be good enough for me.

That said, as I'll explain below, there are steps to take if it looks like your system doesn't have a TPM, it may just need to be enabled.

How to find out if your PC has TPM 2.0 for Windows 11

As Microsoft announced it will be temporarily taking the PC Health Check app down, there's only one great way (at the moment) to see if your PC has a TPM chip.

1. Click Windows + R

Windows 11 How to check for TPM - run tpm.msc

(Image credit: Microsoft)

2. Type in 'tpm.msc' and click OK or hit Enter.

Windows 11 How to check for TPM - confirmation

(Image credit: Microsoft)

3. Look for confirmation or a "Compatible TPM cannot be found" error.

4. If you get the latter, you may still have a TPM chip, but it may need to be enabled. Contact your system's manufacturer for more details about how to turn it on in the BIOS — we can't give advice here, as all systems are different.

The below instructions are based on using the PC Health Check app, which Microsoft announced on June 28 it is removing temporarily. The following instructions will likely still apply when it comes back, but note that Microsoft is the only place you should download it from.

1. Download, open and install the PC Health Check app.

Windows 11 How to check for TPM

(Image credit: Microsoft)

3. Make sure the "Open Windows PC Health Check" box is checked and click Finish.

Windows 11 How to check for TPM

(Image credit: Microsoft)

4.  Click Check now under Windows 11.

Windows 11 How to check for TPM

(Image credit: Microsoft)

5. The app will confirm or deny your support.

Congrats, now you know if you have a TPM!

If you don't have one, well, there's good news and bad news. 

There's a chance you may still have a TPM chip, but it just needs to be enabled. Reach out to the company that made your computer to ask about how your system's TPM can be enabled in the BIOS, a system that varies so greatly that we can't give advice here.

You can buy a TPM off Amazon , but you'd need to figure out which TPMs (if any) your system supports, and that's a whole hassle into an of itself. Plus, installing it requires access to your motherboard, which isn't exactly easy on most laptops. And installing it isn't that easy either. Good luck, dear readers!

What is a TPM good for?

If you're curious, the TPM uses both software and hardware to store and protect important passwords and/or encryption keys. Plus, if a TPM chip detects something wrong in your system, it can run a quarantine mode to try and fix the problem.

It's basically a line of defense your system has against attacks, and a important part of why Microsoft believes that Windows 11 is super-secure.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is an editor writer at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and Apple. Prior to joining Tom's Guide — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and looking for the headphone adapter that he unplugged from his iPhone.

  • BobBuccaneer
    Hi, I have never heard of Trusted Point Module. I'm pretty sure it should be Trusted Platform Module.
    Reply
  • rv7charlie
    What about the rest of us, who had the good sense to avoid Win8 & Win10? Soldier on with 7? (If XP is still good enough for my local hospital....)
    Reply
  • Wolfshadw
    rv7charlie said:
    What about the rest of us, who had the good sense to avoid Win8 & Win10? Soldier on with 7? (If XP is still good enough for my local hospital....)
    As all previous versions of Windows are no longer supported, each day you continue to use them, you are more and more at risk of your system being compromised. If you're good with that, then nothing changes with the intro of Windows 11. "Soldier on" with Windows 7 (or XP).

    If you are looking to upgrade update to Windows 11, then I'd recommend you first upgrade to Windows 10 and then make the switch to 11. Not sure if you can go straight from 7 to 11 (no free Slurpee).

    -Wolf sends
    Reply
  • Warmor
    Hi!

    I did all the checks, and even pulled the manual and looked at my mobo, pins are empty, nothing there!
    So what next? Is this a chip I can buy? I have a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H rev. 1.0, and I'm having a hard time finding a TPM chip to buy or if I do, even if it's compatible!
    I see lots of info with the Win11 reveal on how to check but nothing on how to find/purchase one.

    Thanks!!
    Reply
  • BobBuccaneer
    Warmor said:
    So what next? Is this a chip I can buy?

    There will be 100% a way to opt out of this requirement. There is already a beta version somewhere. I'm sure it doesn't require a TPM. These only exist in business workstations and laptops where they are forced on employees. No normal person would put a TPM in their pc, let alone pay for it.

    How to install Windows 11 without TPM 2.0 (winaero.com)
    Reply
  • halfey
    Warmor said:
    Is this a chip I can buy? I have a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H rev. 1.0, and I'm having a hard time finding a TPM chip to buy or if I do, even if it's compatible!

    TPM chip can be bought separately. Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, they all do sell them to consumer. Unfortunately I couldn't find one from Gigabyte right now but last I checked on Amazon there were options for Asus and MSI mobo. And no, TPM is not exclusive to business and enterprise users. My consumer grade Dell Inspiron came with TPM 2.0. I guess it is installed by default on OEM brand PCs like Dell and HP but optional for DIY systems.
    Reply
  • henrytcasey
    BobBuccaneer said:
    Hi, I have never heard of Trusted Point Module. I'm pretty sure it should be Trusted Platform Module.

    Hi sorry about this. Some days we're working too fast and make stupid mistakes. That's on me. It's been corrected.
    Reply
  • henrytcasey
    rv7charlie said:
    What about the rest of us, who had the good sense to avoid Win8 & Win10? Soldier on with 7? (If XP is still good enough for my local hospital....)
    I mean, ask the local hospital workers if they actually enjoy Windows XP? I bet they do not.

    Everytime I use an older system, I just know I'm running some security risks — MS ended support for W7 in January 2020, and it's a risk that you're taking by using it.
    Reply
  • henrytcasey
    Warmor said:
    Hi!

    I did all the checks, and even pulled the manual and looked at my mobo, pins are empty, nothing there!
    So what next? Is this a chip I can buy? I have a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H rev. 1.0, and I'm having a hard time finding a TPM chip to buy or if I do, even if it's compatible!
    I see lots of info with the Win11 reveal on how to check but nothing on how to find/purchase one.

    Thanks!!
    I'd reach out to Gigabyte for their advice. Wish I could tell you more.
    Reply
  • Wolfshadw
    henrytcasey said:
    I mean, ask the local hospital workers if they actually enjoy Windows XP? I bet they do not.
    My mother has been a hospital worker for the last 28+ years. I'd take that bet!

    It's not so much the new OS that bothers them as it is the changes to how they've been operating for so many years. The program they've been using for years doesn't work under the new OS, so it has to be upgraded. Along they way, they change the way everything use to work (making it better???). My elderly mother (who is not computer literate) has to try and relearn how to do her job every time this crap happens. So yes. If the hospital was still working on XP (and she didn't have to relearn how to do her job), she WOULD be happy.

    Warmor said:
    So what next? Is this a chip I can buy?
    Can't speak for Gigabyte, but I have an MSI motherboard and there is a TPM module for sale online (in some locations). Others have indicated that more recent motherboards have a setting in BIOS that will avert any issues with the update.

    It's still way too early to be overly concerned about Win11. I'm certain that many changes will be forthcoming that will either exasperate or relieve many of the issues us users will have.

    -Wolf sends
    Reply