Data Doctors: New Security Requirements for Windows 11

As the buzz around Windows 11 continues to grow, Microsoft has taken steps to ensure what it calls “the most secure version of Windows ever”.

Q: What are the TPM and Secure Boot required by Windows 11?

A: As the buzz around Windows 11 continues to grow, Microsoft has taken steps to ensure that it will be what the company calls “the most secure version of Windows ever.”

Devices connected to the Internet are constantly facing potential threats from the outside world, with Windows being one of the most targeted software.

Protecting a Windows computer has typically been done through software such as antivirus or anti-malware programs that load during the Windows startup process.

Sophisticated malware gains access to a computer at the same level that the antivirus program can disable it, which is why it does not go further to provide protection.

A consortium of the IT industry has created a hardware approach to improve overall security, known as TPM.

Trusted Platform Module (TPM)

Providing a system of security in the hardware makes it much more difficult for malicious code to succeed at the software level.

The TPM is basically a chip built into the hardware that acts a bit like a gate keeper. Think of it as a security keypad outside of a secure building that acts as the first line of protection.

The code you enter determines what you can do once inside the building; the same is done automatically via TPM.

The current iteration is called TPM 2.0 and will need to be used to install or upgrade to Windows 11.

Microsoft actually requires that TPM 2.0 be implemented by computer manufacturers installing Windows 10 since July 2016. If your computer is newer than that and is from the manufacturer with Windows 10, TPM is probably already in use.

In some cases, you may have TPM available in your hardware, but it must be enabled in the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI); the steps differ depending on your specific hardware. If you are not familiar with accessing and changing settings for UEFI which replaced BIOS in older systems, I suggest you get some help.

Secure boot

This is another security feature built into your hardware that only allows loading of approved operating systems.

This is designed to prevent the loading of malicious code on startup, as the hardware will only transfer control of the computer to a trusted operating system.

The most dangerous types of malware in the past tried to take control of the computer during the boot process, which is prevented when Secure Boot is enabled.

Additional requirements

TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot aren’t the only requirements to qualify for Windows 11, as your processor will be a big factor as well.

If you have an Intel processor, it will usually need to be 8th Generation (Mid 2017) or newer. If you have an AMD processor, it will need to be Ryzen 2nd Generation (2018) or newer.

Compatibility tests

As Microsoft rolls out this free upgrade, you will automatically be notified through the Windows Update screen if your machine is compatible.

You can also manually check the status of your computer compatibility.

Even if your computer is compatible, we still suggest that you be patient for a while, unless you are a hobbyist or IT professional who understands the challenges of a new operating system.

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