How to find and enable your TPM chip for Windows 11
We demystify the most confusing Windows 11 system requirement
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If you’re planning on upgrading to Windows 11, chances are you and every other Windows user is talking about TPM, or Trusted Platform Module. It's something you’ll need in your computer to successfully install and run Windows 11—and it’s a critical part of the hardware-based encryption process that powers features like BitLocker, Windows Hello, and other security features Windows machines come with nowadays. If you use a PIN, fingerprint, or facial recognition to log into your machine, thank a TPM.
Hardware-level encryption is a lot better for your security than, say, storing the keys to your computing kingdom in the cloud somewhere. A TPM can even check to see if your system’s firmware has been tampered with, and if so it’ll prevent your system from booting up. We don’t envision Microsoft backtracking on its Windows 11 TPM requirement, since it is a critical part of the operating system today. But if you’re poking around in your system trying to figure out if you already have one or not, we go over all that below so there’s no reason to stress—or rush out and buy a TPM.
Should you do anything about Windows 11’s TPM requirement right now?
Don’t stress about TPMs. Microsoft just pulled back the curtain on Windows 11, and it has been updating its guidance on TPMs ever since. Your computer might not even need a separate TPM 2.0 module, so don’t purchase one yet. A lot can change or get clarified between now and Windows 11’s rumored October release, so just kick back and enjoy Windows 10. You'll have until October of 2025 until Microsoft retires the operating system, so there's no need to rush to Windows 11.
How can I check to see if my PC has a TPM?
Normally, running Microsoft’s PC Health Check app would be the first order of business, but it's temporarily unavailable so Microsoft can make updates to the app that better describe why a user's PC is compatible or not with Windows 11. (Microsoft has not said when those updates will completed.) Until it gets that back up and running, you can try the third-party WhyNotWin11 tool, which will give you an even more detailed analysis of whether your system's components meet Windows 11's requirements.
You can also launch PowerShell by searching for that phrase in your Start menu, right-clicking on the app, selecting "Run as administrator," and then typing "get-tpm" and hitting Enter. If you see a bunch of "False" statements in the various TPM fields (especially "TpmPresent"), then you either don't have one or it's not enabled. Finally, you can also pull up your Start menu, type in "tpm.msc," and launch the shortcut that appears. Check the Status box to see if Windows can detect an active TPM on your PC.
I ran an app and it told me I don’t have a TPM. Now what?
If you're lucky, these reports are incorrect. You might actually have a TPM 2.0 chip on your system if you purchased it at any point within the last five years. If you built your desktop yourself, and you’re running at least a sixth-generation Intel "Skylake" or AMD Ryzen 3000-series CPU, these chips come with an embedded TPM. You shouldn't need to buy and install a standalone TPM chip onto your motherboard. You're good to go.
Here's the confusing part: It’s also possible that even one of these TPM 2.0-supporting CPUs still might not work with Windows 11. Microsoft’s list of supported CPUs for Intel and AMD will probably have more changes between now and Windows 11's release date. Wait for Microsoft to finalize its guidance before buying any extra hardware, upgrading your system's parts for Windows 11, or doing anything else more expensive and drastic.
If my CPU has a built-in TPM, how do I turn it on?
Roll up your shirtsleeves and refill your water. This might be a bit of a process, especially if you’ve never played around in your PC’s BIOS before. The most important thing to note is that PC and motherboard manufacturers all treat their settings a wee bit differently. There’s not a single, universal location for the setting that will allow you to enable your processor's built-in TPM. The concept is the same, but the exact path to get to the setting you need to change is not.
Start by making sure you’re running the most up-to-date motherboard firmware, or BIOS, that your computer or motherboard manufacturer offers. Hit up the support site for your system or motherboard, look for the downloads section, find the BIOS category or BIOS-updating tool (or both), and use whatever instructions are provided to flash your BIOS with the latest and greatest version.
You'll then need to double-check that your system is running in the UEFI boot mode, and not the legacy BIOS mode. This is easy to find within Windows 10: Pull up the Start menu, type in "MSInfo32," hit Enter, and look for the "BIOS Mode" setting. If it says UEFI, you're good. If it says Legacy, you'll need to convert your primary hard drive from MBR to GPT and switch from "Legacy Mode" to UEFI in your BIOS. Look in your motherboard's manual for the exact setting you'll need to adjust for this. And if you're confused, don't worry. Microsoft has published a great video that walks you through every step of this otherwise-confusing process.
Back to TPM—to enable it on your CPU, you'll need to boot into your system’s BIOS (typically by restarting your computer and mashing some keyboard buttons like DEL, F2, or F12). You'll then need to turn on PTT (Intel’s Platform Trust Technology) or fTPM (AMD’s Firmware TPM). Where you’ll find that exact setting depends on your system or motherboard.
In our testing, we had to switch the fTPM setting from its default of “discrete” (implying it's accessing a separate hardware chip we plugged into the motherboard) to “firmware” (accessing what's built into our AMD CPU) in the BIOS of our Asus ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero motherboard. Once we did, all the aforementioned “Will Windows 11 work / do you have a TPM” checks passed without a problem. This entire process took less than five minutes to do, and it's something you can speed up if your BIOS has a built-in "search" feature (like ours). All we had to do was search for "fTPM" to jump right to the setting we needed to adjust, a convenience that a more run-of-the-mill motherboard (like what you'd find on the simple laptop you purchased from Dell) probably won't have.
If I need to buy a TPM chip, how much will it cost?
TPM modules aren't normally very expensive—anywhere from $10-25 in normal times. However, since Microsoft's debut of Windows 11 prices are going up as people panic-buy chips. (If you go on eBay to buy one right now, you’re going to get robbed.)
We can't stress this enough: Be patient. It makes no sense to run out and buy a standalone TPM 2.0 chip right now. There might be hacks or workarounds you can use to bypass this problem once the Windows 11 arrives. Microsoft might ease some aspects of its requirements. More TPM 2.0 chips might flood into the market. You might realize you're fine sticking with Windows 10 until you can upgrade your entire system to something that's faster, better, and Windows 11-compatible. There are a lot of variables to consider, and there's nothing you can or should do right now in the months preceding Windows 11's launch.
It's possible that TPM 2.0 chips might have a huge run-up like every other electronic thing you've been eyeing lately (cough graphics cards). It's also possible that the high prices you see now might remain high. They might even go down if more TPM 2.0 chips hit the market. It's just too early to tell, and we don't think it makes much sense to rush out and buy a standalone chip for an operating system that hasn’t been fully released yet. If you wait, you can make a more informed decision when it actually matters.
Setting up my Windows PC’s TPM is incredibly confusing
In theory, most people with newer computers won’t need to skulk around in their systems’ BIOS and fuss with TPM settings in order to get Windows 11 working. However, we've seen plenty of tweets from esteemed tech journalists over the past week who have done just that—some, only after being reminded that they don’t need to buy a discrete TPM chip for their newer computers. This whole TPM debacle is confusing for everyone, expert and newbie alike.
If this all feels like overwhelming nerd-talk, all you have to do is look up the manual for your computer or motherboard and that should, in theory, point you to the exact settings you’ll use to get your TPM 2.0 working. Barring that, ask around for help—system-builder forums, message boards, Twitter, etc. This whole process can feel exceedingly confusing at first, but odds are good that it’ll be easy to get some help over the next several months. Don’t stress about it now, because you still have plenty of time to get your system ready to go before Windows 11 arrives. If your computer has a TPM 2.0 module, you’ll find it by the time you need it.