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Enabling TPM for Windows 11 upgrade on 2018-2021 Windows 10 PCs

Was your computer manufactured between 2018 and 2021 and still running Windows 10 because you have yet to be prompted to upgrade to Windows 11? If so, it could be Windows 11 compatible and needs a feature turned on. Here is how to enable the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) in your computer.

Enabling TPM for Windows 11 Upgrade on 2018-2021 Windows 10 PCs

One of the services we offer is to perform a clean installation of Windows. When doing clean installs, I find that most systems manufactured between 2018 and 2021 do not have the TPM enabled. Once I enable the TPM, I usually will do a clean installation of Windows 11 instead of Windows 10.

So, what is the TPM? The TPM is a microchip that provides hardware-based security functions. It is designed to provide a secure foundation for various security-related functions, such as BitLocker drive encryption, Windows Hello, secure boot, and more. By providing a secure environment for sensitive operations, TPM helps protect the system's integrity and the data's confidentiality.

The first version of the TPM, 1.2, started to appear in computers in 2006 and was a dedicated chip. TPM version 2.0 (the version required by Windows 11) began to appear in computers in 2018 and is a firmware extension of the CPU (Central Processing Unit). Between 2018 and 2021, the TPM function of most computers was turned off by default, as no version of Windows required it.

Then, in 2021, Microsoft released Windows 11 and changed the hardware requirements for Windows. Windows 11 now requires a TPM version 2.0 for Windows 11 to be installed. There were registry hacks and other ways to get around it, but Microsoft quickly patched those flaws.

So, the first thing you need to do is find out the status of the TPM inside Windows 10. By bringing up the TPM Management console, you can see if a TPM is enabled and what version it is. To open the TPM Management console, perform either of the following:

  • Open a RUN dialog box by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R, type tpm.msc in the Open field, and left-click on OK.
  • Open a search box by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + S, type tpm.msc, and choose tpm.msc Microsoft Common Console Document.

Once the TPM Management console appears, it will tell you if a TPM is enabled and what version it is.
TPM status inside of Windows 10
If it states that a compatible TPM could not be found, you will have to either research the system/motherboard specifications online or boot your computer into the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) / UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).

Now, before you research online or boot into the BIOS/UEFI, let's talk about what you will be looking for. The CPU manufacturers (Intel and AMD) have different names for implementing the TPM firmware extensions.

  • The TPM extension inside Intel processors is called Platform Trust Technology (PTT).
  • The TPM extension inside AMD processors is called Firmware TPM (fTPM).

The quickest and easiest way to check for a TPM is to boot your computer into the BIOS/UEFI. This may take several tries, as interrupting the booting cycle for your computer can be challenging. If you don't interrupt the boot process the first time, just let the computer boot to the login screen and restart it.

  1. Restart your computer and access the BIOS/UEFI settings. The method to access these settings varies depending on the manufacturer of your computer. Typically, you can access the BIOS/UEFI settings by pressing a specific key (such as F2, F10, or Del) during the boot process. Most of the time, pressing either the F2 or the Del key rapidly when the splash screen (the manufacturer logo) appears will get you into the BIOS/UEFI settings. Consult your computer's manual or the manufacturer's website for specific instructions.
  2. Once in the BIOS/UEFI settings, navigate to the Security or Advanced tab. Look for an option related to TPM or Security. The wording may vary depending on the manufacturer. Remember to look for PTT in systems with Intel processors and fTPM for systems with AMD processors.
  3. Enable the TPM feature and save the changes before exiting the BIOS/UEFI settings. Your computer will restart.
  4. After enabling TPM in the BIOS/UEFI settings, you can verify that it is enabled in Windows 10 by opening the TPM Management console (as previously outlined). It should now show that TPM is enabled.

Once the TPM is enabled, you can wait for Windows Update to offer the Windows 11 upgrade or manually upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11. Enabling the Trusted Platform Module on computers manufactured between 2018 and 2021 running Windows 10 is an important step towards being able to upgrade to Windows 11. By following the steps outlined in this article, users can verify the presence and version of a TPM and enable it in the BIOS/UEFI.

Things to do before and after upgrading your computer to Windows 11

Are you planning on upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11? Before you do, there are a few things you should do to ensure a smooth transition. In this article, we'll look at a few things to do before and after upgrading your computer to Windows 11.

Things to do before and after upgrading your computer to Windows 11

Before upgrading to Windows 11

Check hardware compatibility

This is the first thing you need to do. Windows Update will typically prompt you to upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 if it sees that your computer has a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0 enabled. This is the only hardware requirement that has changed between Windows 10 and Windows 11.

If your computer was built after 2018, it more than likely has a TPM 2.0 component. The problem is that manufacturers disabled the TPM prior to the release of Windows 11, as they felt it was not required for Windows 10, so why have it enabled by default?

So, computers built between 2018 and 2021 have a TPM 2.0 component included but not enabled. To enable the TPM 2.0 component, you will need to turn it on inside your system's BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). A quick check inside Windows 10 will tell you if the TPM component is enabled and what version it is.

Using a Run dialog box (Windows logo key Windows logo+ R) or Search box (Windows logo key Windows logo + S), you can check the status of the TPM component inside your system. Just type TPM.MSC into a Run dialog box and select OK, or type TPM.MSC into a Search box and choose tpm.msc Microsoft Common Console Document.

TPM status inside of Windows 10

When the TPM Management console opens, it should display the TPM's status and version. If you get a message stating that a compatible TPM cannot be found and your computer was manufactured between 2018 and 2021, you should check the website of the manufacturer of your computer/motherboard for a user manual to find instructions on how to enable the TPM.

Geek tip: If you ever have to replace the CMOS battery in your computer, the BIOS can reset itself to factory defaults. If the factory defaults had the TPM turned off, then things like Bitlocker drive encryption will not work correctly.

Check your drive for errors

You should definitely check the drive that has Windows installed on it for errors. You want to make sure the folders and files contained on it aren't damaged. There is nothing worse than getting halfway through the upgrade process only to get an error that causes the upgrade to fail.

How to run a standard disk check in Windows 10

  1. Open File Explorer using one of the following:
    • Left-click on the File Explorer icon (manilla folder) on the Taskbar.
    • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo + E at the same time.
    • Use the Power User menu by right-clicking on the Start Windows logo button and selecting File Explorer.
  2. In the left-side column, left-click on This PC.
  3. In the right-side column, right-click on the drive you want to check and select Properties.
  4. Left-click on the Tools tab.
  5. Under Error checking, left-click on Check.
  6. Left-click on Scan drive.

If you want to run an advanced disk check, follow the link below.

How to check your drive for errors in Windows 10

Backup your computer

As the old saying goes, "It's always better to be safe than sorry," and this couldn't be more true when it comes to your computer. Having a good 'bare metal' backup is essential when it comes to an operating system upgrade.

Yes, 99.99% of the time, nothing goes wrong with an in-place upgrade, but there is always the possibility. A full backup will definitely bring a greater degree of safety to the whole upgrade process.

Backup your files with File History and Windows Backup in Windows 10

If you decide to do a full 'bare metal' backup, you will definitely want to create a recovery drive just in case.

How to create a recovery drive in Windows 10 and Windows 11

Clean up the junk

Whether or not you upgrade your operating system, giving it a good cleaning can do wonders for your computer's performance, not to mention making the upgrade process a little bit simpler.

Removing temporary folders and files, emptying the recycle bin, and clearing out your downloads folder are just a few ways to prepare your computer before upgrading to Windows 11. Windows 10 has two (2) different programs built in to help with cleaning out junk.

Clean up your Windows 10 computer using the Storage feature

Clean up Windows 10 with Disk Cleanup

Uninstall unnecessary programs/apps

Over time, you may have installed programs that you no longer use. Before upgrading to Windows 11, it's a good idea to uninstall any unnecessary programs to free up space on your computer. This can also speed up the upgrade process and ensure Windows 11 runs smoothly.

How to uninstall a program or app in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo menu and left-click on the Gear (Settings) icon. It should be the second icon up from the bottom.
  2. Left-click on the Apps category.
  3. In the right-hand column, you will find a list of installed programs (App & features).
  4. Scroll down the list of apps and left-click any program you would like to remove, and select Uninstall.

Uninstall or disable your anti-virus

If you are using any anti-virus program other than Microsoft Windows Defender, you should disable or remove it before upgrading to Windows 11. I have seen anti-virus programs slow down an upgrade and even cause it to fail.

You can save yourself a headache or two by at least disabling your anti-virus software. Although uninstalling is the best option, disabling should work just as well.

Upgrade to Windows 11

So, if you haven't yet been prompted to upgrade to Windows 11 through Windows Update and your computer has a TPM 2.0 component enabled, you can manually upgrade your computer using the Windows 11 Installation Assistant. Just download it and run it.

Windows 11 Installation Assistant

After upgrading to Windows 11

Now that you have a new operating system, you will want to ensure you have all of the latest and greatest drivers for the components inside your computer. First, you should check for driver updates on the website of your computer or motherboard manufacturer. After that, if you have a dedicated graphics card, you should look for updated drivers for it. This will help ensure that your computer runs Windows 11 smoothly and efficiently.

Windows 11 hardware requirements explained

Updated May 16, 2024

Are you confused about the hardware requirements for Windows 11? Want to know why your computer can or cannot be upgraded to Windows 11? Let's take a detailed look at the hardware requirements for Windows 11.

Windows 11 hardware requirements explained

With Windows 11, Microsoft is focusing on security and is enforcing the hardware requirements to run it. Previous versions of Windows (10, 8.1, and 7) all had the exact general hardware requirement.

However, with Windows 10, the security requirements were still there, but they were not being enforced. The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), Secure Boot, and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) (see below) requirements were optional for Windows 10 to install and run.

For example, TPM has always been required to enable BitLocker drive encryption. Windows 10 would use either TPM 1.2 or TPM 2.0. However, the TPM 1.2 standard has been depreciated, so TPM 2.0 is now the de facto standard.

And if you look into UEFI, you will find that Secure Boot is part of that standard. And since UEFI can take advantage of the TPM, it makes sense to include all three (3) in the requirements for Windows 11.

Note: Sorry if anybody still running a 32-bit version of Windows 10, but Windows 11 is only available in a 64-bit version.

Hardware requirements for Windows 7, 8.1 and 10

Processor - 1 Gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor

Memory - 1 Gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)

Storage - 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

Graphics card - Compatible with DirectX 9 with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Hardware requirements for Windows 11

Processor - 1 Gigahertz (GHz) or faster with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC). This requirement is now particular about which processors are compatible with Windows 11. General Rule of thumb: If the processor is under six (6) years old, it should run Windows 11. Microsoft has a list of processors that are compatible with Windows 11.

Memory - 4 Gigabytes (GB) RAM. This requirement has increased from 2GB to 4GB, which is no biggie. I have not seen a computer with only 2 GB of memory in over a decade.

Storage - 64 GB or larger storage device. This requirement has also increased, and it is about time. I have seen Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 installed on 32 GB drives, which is not pretty. The biggest problem is there usually is not enough free space to perform a feature update. I recommend at least a 256 GB drive for the operating system and programs.

Graphics card - DirectX 12 graphics device or later with WDDM 2.0 driver. Since DirectX 12 was released with Windows 10 back in 2015, most modern graphic cards will be compatible with Windows 11.

Hardware requirements that are no longer optional

Display - A high definition (720p) display greater than 9" diagonally, 8 bits per color channel. This requirement is pretty easy to meet.

System firmware - UEFI and Secure Boot capable. UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) has been used for over a decade now, so most computers running have UEFI enabled. And since the Secure Boot specification is part of the UEFI, that should already be in place. However, you may have to change some settings in your computer's BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) to enable UEFI and Secure Boot.

TPM - Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0. Besides the processor requirement, this is another stumbling point for upgrading to Windows 11. A TPM can be a separate module that you connect to your motherboard or be part of the chipset on your motherboard. Most modern motherboards will use FTPM (Firmware Trusted Platform Module) included in the chipset. However, you may have to change some settings in your computer's BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) to enable the TPM.

Note: Computers with TPM 2.0 started hitting the market in 2018. Since the Windows 10 hardware requirements did not require the TPM, most computer system and motherboard manufacturers disabled the TPM by default. It wasn't until Microsoft released Windows 11 in 2021 that manufacturers started to enable the TPM 2.0 by default. So, if your computer was built between 2018 and 2021, there is a good possibility that it can run Windows 11. To enable the TPM 2.0 on one of these systems, you must check the owner manual for your computer/motherboard to see how to enable the TPM 2.0.

Storage structure - There are two (2) types of drive structures: MBR (Master Boot Record) and GPT (GUID Partition Table). Previous versions of Windows would run on either of these structures. Windows 11 requires GTP for the drive that contains Windows 11. Microsoft has included a tool inside Windows 10 to convert drives from MBR to GPT. Here is a link to the documentation for MBR2GPT.EXE.

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