Windows 11 gets a troubleshooting tool for one of its most controversial spec requirements

Windows 11 requires the TPM 2.0 security feature (at least officially), but what if you’re having trouble with that particular chip (which remains a controversial system requirement)?

Well, help could soon be at hand, at least going by a new feature spotted in testing – by ever-present leaker PhantomOfEarth on Twitter – with Windows 11’s latest build (25905) in the Canary channel.

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As you can see, the Windows Security app now carries a ‘TPM troubleshooter’ option. As the text for the feature lets us know, this is useful for finding and fixing problems with your TPM 2.0 module.

For the uninitiated, TPM (which stands for Trusted Platform Module) can be a separate hardware chip, or firmware TPM (fTPM) that uses your CPU, and it’s a system that provides tighter security for your PC. (There’s a lot more to it than that, mind, but that’s the gist).

Why is TPM 2.0 so controversial, then? Because a lot of older PCs don’t have it – or even not-all-that-old machines – and people feel that being forced to upgrade (either their motherboard and CPU, or adding a TPM security chip) is an unfair stipulation to get Windows 11. (Windows 10 does not have this requirement, of course).

Microsoft, however, has made it quite clear that beefing up security requires TPM 2.0, and argues that this is something implemented for the good of users, and protecting them against being exploited by hackers.

Analysis: A handy extra to help with TPM woes (we hope)

What might this troubleshooter actually do, then? Well, as Neowin, which spotted the tweet revealing the presence of this feature in testing, points out, it’s possible to encounter odd errors with TPM. For example: “Can’t get TPM information. Contact your device manufacturer.”

That’s not a very helpful error message, and with the new feature, what you’ll be able to do is fire up a Windows troubleshooter to look further into the issue. Hopefully, that might give you further clues as to what’s gone awry (and maybe even solve the problem, with any luck – though Microsoft’s troubleshooters are not always that reliable).

Whatever the case, having some help on-hand is certainly better than nothing (plus there’s another option here to reset your TPM back to default settings, too). Provided, of course, this feature makes the cut for the release version of Windows 11, if it proves useful and well-received in testing. Currently, we’re told that this capability is a limited rollout, so not every Canary channel tester is seeing the TPM troubleshooter.

That’s not unusual, as with many features, Microsoft deploys them to only a small subset of testers to begin with, just to check if there are any major problems, and to monitor early feedback.

Given the controversy around TPM 2.0 – and the fact that it’ll definitely be a requirement for Windows 12 too – we can guess that this troubleshooter is likely to be something that’ll appear in the finished version of Windows 11. Because anything that makes running TPM a smoother experience has to be useful.

This functionality could even pitch up in the 23H2 update, which we’ve just heard some news on – something that makes us think that the Copilot AI, which is rumored for inclusion in 23H2, won’t actually be part of that upgrade due later this year.

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PC doesn’t meet Windows 11 requirements? There’s a tool to fix that

Got a PC that fails the Windows 11 system requirements? Thanks to an unofficial tool, you can create a Windows 11 image that will bypass the TPM system requirements that Microsoft set, enabling your ineligible PC to upgrade to the operating system.

Since Windows 11 was announced in June 2021, Microsoft was adamant that all PCs would have to meet its system requirements, such as enabling TPM, in order for the update to be eligible.

But according to Windows Latest, the Rufus tool will allow you to create a bootable USB drive thanks to an official Windows 11 image file, with checks in place that will allow your PC to bypass the system requirements.

But with this much power in one tool, we don't actually recommend using this to upgrade your PC to Windows 11 for now, unless you're certain you know what you're doing, and what the risks are.

Analysis: Unforeseen consequences could occur

Windows 11 with Rufus

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Microsoft's communication around explaining the requirements for Windows 11 in 2021 was poor at best, especially when it came to TPM. It also didn't help when its app to check if your PC was eligible to upgrade wasn't accurate in its results.

But there's still a wide pool of users who are on Windows 10 and don't see the need to upgrade their PC to use Windows 11, especially if they use their device for the occasional web browsing or gaming.

While this tool will grant these PCs a path to upgrade, we don't recommend using Rufus. The features that are in Windows 11, alongside what's coming up with its major upgrade, codenamed 'Sun Valley 2', will require some PCs to use more of the CPU, memory, and GPU in order to run the operating system in an efficient way.

This could cause a strain on the hardware, and you could have an incompatible PC running Windows 11 very slowly, to the point where it's an irritation. Microsoft has also made it be known that it will make updating unsupported PCs running Windows 11 difficult in the future, which could lock you out from getting important security fixes.

Perhaps you can use Rufus as a 'trial' for Windows 11, to see what you think of the update before you go all-in on a new PC. But as something to bypass the system requirements, we recommend holding off.

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