What you need to know about upgrading to Windows 11

Microsoft has announced the latest iteration of Windows, and in the traditional Microsoft way, people are confused by the details. The biggest changes in Windows 11 are visible immediately after the screenshots are published; Microsoft has taken over most of the design interface from the now-defunct Windows 10X, which was originally designed to run on dual-screen devices and competed more with Chromebooks and iPads. We’ll talk about everything that’s changed in another article, but for now let’s answer the question everyone is asking: what are the upgrade requirements, can I upgrade, and what the hell is TPM?

Windows 11 Basic requirements

Microsoft has significantly increased the upper limit of requirements for Windows 11.

  • At least 1 GHz dual core CPU (more on that later)
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 64 GB disk space
  • Possibility of UEFI and Secure Boot
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 (also more on this later)
  • DirectX 12 compatible graphics, dedicated or embedded
  • At least 9 ”screen, 720p

At first glance, this doesn’t sound bad, except that Microsoft has stated that as of this writing, Windows 11 will only officially support processors that are either Intel 8th Gen or AMD Ryzen 2000 series or later. This unfortunately leaves a lot of people with machines that are not that old. Don’t panic yet. Microsoft has no plans to leave Windows 10 any time soon, and similar to the situation around Windows 7, older systems may still be able to run Windows 11 even though they may not be * officially * supported. I guess we’ll have more details about that closer to launch.

What is TPM?

And now the part that confuses most people: TPM. Without an excessive technical basis, TPM is a security technology that stores a hardware encryption key, usually in a dedicated TPM module, that prevents unauthorized access or changes to hardware or software. Microsoft cited a large increase in firmware-based attacks on computers in recent years as the reason for this request, and TPM should help mitigate some of them, however this potentially leaves many people in trouble. Scalpers are already raising TPM module prices, and inventories are already lower than announced.

But here’s the good news: you may not need a dedicated TPM module. If your system meets the requirements for Windows 11, then your motherboard probably supports either Intel’s Platform Reliability Technology (PTT) or AMD’s fTPM (TPM firmware), neither of which requires a TPM module.

Then what is the purpose of a TPM module if it is not needed? The difference is that the encryption keys are stored in the TPM module itself, if installed, and not in the firmware of the board itself. Our advice is not to rush and buy a TPM module, because you probably don’t need it and you’ll pay more than you should, at least for now.

How can I check if my computer is compatible with TPM?

First make sure that Intel PTT or AMD fTPM is already enabled by opening Windows PowerShell as an administrator and typing the command “get-tpm” without quotes and press enter. Below are 2 screenshots showing what it will look like if the TPM is enabled or disabled.

If the results say that TPM is enabled, you are ready to install Windows 11. However, if TPM is not enabled, you will need to go to the BIOS on your system and enable PTT or fTPM by following these steps.

  1. Access the BIOS. You can do this by pressing the BIOS key during boot (usually F2) or by using the Windows Advanced Start menu
  2. Go to the Advanced section (this is the same on Intel and AMD motherboards).
    1. For Intel, go to PCH-FW Configuration and press enter. The option to enable PTT will be there. You’ll get a message box explaining the changes being made, just press OK, then press F10 to save and exit.
    2. On AMD, AMD fTPM should be at the top of the list under Advanced. Change it from dTPM to fTPM and press F10 to save and exit.
  3. You can then restart that command in PowerShell to confirm that it worked.

There’s also no reason to worry about UEFI or Secure Boot, because any system that can run Windows 11 will already be UEFI, and Secure Boot doesn’t have to be enabled, the board just needs to be capable of Secure Boot.

Hopefully this has clarified some of Microsoft’s mixed messages about Windows 11 requirements. If your system has been built in the last 3 years, then you’re probably ready for Windows 11.

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Ryan is a senior engineer and production manager at Velocity Micro. In his spare time, he likes to compete in Carson Wentz-like competitions and lift heavy objects.

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Naveen Kumar

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