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What is a TPM(Trusted Platform Module) And How It Works

Last Updated on 21 November, 2021 by Sourav Roy

Have you come across a term called “TPM 2.0” while browsing through laptop and desktop options? Have you attempted to install Windows 11 and been perplexed by the prerequisites that include this TPM 2.0? It’s alright if you don’t know much about it because it isn’t a word that most people use. However, it’s an incredibly useful feature. So, what is a TPM? How does it work? What exactly is the purpose of TPM 2.0? I’ll answer all of these questions and more in this post!

What is a TPM

 

What is a TPM?

A Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a microchip that acts as secure storage for encryption keys and passwords. The TPM chip works with your existing antivirus software to help protect your computer against attacks such as viruses, malicious software and hacking attempts. It also helps verify that your system has not been compromised by someone else.

Some laptops, especially high-end laptops, come with TPM built into the motherboard. For desktops, you can purchase a plug-in module (where it is inserted into your computer’s expansion slot or an external device that connects to your USB ports). What they all have in common is that they work together with Windows to provide authentication functions.

 

How Does TPM Work?

TPM acts as a hardware authentication mechanism, working in tandem with the operating system’s software to provide an extra layer of security. What this means is that your system will use TPM along with security options such as passwords, BitLocker encryptions, biometrics and certificates.

What does all that technical jibber-jabber mean? It’s not quite as complicated as it sounds – basically, TPM uses a series of “if-then” statements set up by Windows to make sure you are who you say you are before granting access to certain files or folders on your PC. This security chip can also be used online. For instance, it can be used as an extra verification method for securing emails.

 

How Strong Is TPM Security?

Something that sets TPM apart from your standard security functions is that viruses cannot exploit it. Software-based attacks won’t work because the encryption keys are handled by the processor in the TPM chip, independent of the operating system.

The security chip goes a step further than that- it’s even equipped to deal with physical attacks. To begin with, TPM chips can recognize whether if the hardware has been changed in any way. Replacing or adding anything won’t make the data you encrypt vulnerable, as the chip can be configured to refuse to work in such situations.

No one can bypass the encryption by removing the hard drive and inserting it into a different computer, either. That’s because the specific TPM based encryption can only be unlocked by the same TPM processor that did the encryption in the first place.

Even if an attacker were to take the TPM chip itself and put it inside the other machine as well, he still wouldn’t be able to grab ahold of sensitive data. That’s because the TPM chip will be tied to the computer it was initially set up with.

All this can allow the user to feel confident that their data will be safe even if their devices are stolen. Such powerful security is even better for businesses.

 

Windows 11 Support

With the initial release, Microsoft has made it a minimal requirement to have TPM 2.0 installed into a system to run Windows 11. A system without TPM will have trouble installing the new OS. You can still bypass the check during installation, as the chip is a Soft Floor (meaning that having it isn’t an absolute must) requirement. However, there’s a chance that you’ll have to go through some hassles.

As to why you actually need the chip for installing Windows, Microsoft says it’s primarily for security. Although, our team thinks that there’s possibly a second purpose, which is making it more difficult for individuals to sell illicit copies or bootleg versions of the OS on the market.

Recommended Reading: Which are the Best laptops under 50,000? Top 11 Picks

 

Is A TPM Chip Really Necessary?

Not really. Your system will work without it, but you’ll have to be more careful about locking your computer manually.

Having TPM may seem like overkill for the average home user- why bother with something so complicated when a simple password can do?

However, for anyone running a business, TPM can bring a lot of peace of mind by protecting sensitive data.

 

How Do I Check If My System Has TPM?

Having a TPM chip is only useful if you actually know that it’s there. To check, you must go into the BIOS. Before that, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how to access your system’s BIOS. On most PCs made in the past 5 years, you simply have to press F2 or Delete right after powering on your computer for a few seconds.

Afterwards, look out for TPM Biometric device or TPM Management options in the menus of your BIOS. If either one is listed under Security, then there’s a chance that your system has TPM installed.

If this method seems a bit complicated for you, I’ve got something else you can try. All you need to do is open something using the Run command. Here’s how to go on about that;

  • Press Windows + R, and the Run box will pop up.
  • In the empty field, type in tpm.msc.

You’ll find what you’re looking for in the next window. If your system supports TPM, the Status section of the window will say, “The TPM is ready to use.”

That means you have the general security benefits of TPM. For Windows 11 compatibility, the TPM Manufacturer Information section needs to have “Specification Version: 2.0” written in it.

Recommended Reading: Top 9 Best Laptops Under 70000 in India: Expert Reviews

 

Conclusion

There you go; I’ve given you a comprehensive explanation of what TPM is and provided all the information you need to know about it, including its connection to the new OS.

I would recommend that you get yourself a TPM chip if you don’t have one. Even if you don’t need to upgrade to the new Windows, the extra security will be incredibly useful in this advanced age where cybercrimes are so common. Although, it’s alright if you don’t use it- just be sure to tighten up your security as best as you can. Make sure your antivirus is properly set and keep your passwords safe.

 

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