Is your PC ready for its check-up?
Wednesday, September 22, 2021 by Tatiora | Discussion: Personal Computing
If you're thinking of moving to Windows 11 when it releases on October 5th, then you'll want to know about Microsoft's updates to its Health Check app.
This app will test your PC to see if it can adequately handle running Windows 11. The updated tool is available all the way at the bottom of Microsoft's Windows 11 page here. The user interface hasn't changed any from its previous version, but the results regarding your PC's eligibility should be much more accurate than before.
One of the things that has been making Windows 11 so contentious for Microsoft customers is the requirement of a TPM (AKA, Trusted Platform Module) chip. This crypto-processor secures a computer through an integrated cryptographic key that prevents hackers from accessing your computer and leaking your data. TPMs also are historically a business or enterprise feature, and is less common in DIY custom-built and boutique-sourced rigs.
Because Microsoft wants to put more focus on keeping its platforms secure, a TPM chip is necessary for running Windows 11 (and probably will be necessary for many other things going forward). A TPM can be integrated directly into a computer's motherboard or added manually to the CPU. Recent processors from the likes of AMD and Nvidia include this technology, but if you're using a chip that's a few years old now (like I am), then you may find yourself unable to make the jump to Windows 11.
The way a TPM will interface with Windows 11 is like this: when you log into your PC, the TPM supplies a unique code (cryptographic key). If there is no detected issue, then your PC boots up as normal. If your security is compromised, though, the computer locks down in order to prevent hackers from gaining access. On one hand, this definitely sounds like a great security measure - on the other, if it somehow glitches or goes awry, I foresee a headache in getting it all sorted.
A TPM's job doesn't stop when the correct user is logged in; it can encrypt the entire hard disk (or just parts of it), authenticate online activities like secure email and VPNs, and it can also ensure that when you go to recycle your computer that no confidential data remains on it.
I can see why Microsoft is taking the direction that it is with TPMs; they are extremely difficult to get past, and the peace of mind they provide with their additional security is not to be discounted, no matter how inconvenient it may be in regards to updating. My own PC can't handle the move to Windows 11 at the moment, although several websites I've seen have suggested a few other ways to dive a little deeper into my OS to see if there's actually a TPM I can enable after all, so I might decide to give that a look later.
Are you moving to Windows 11? How do you feel about the required technology for running it? Share with me!
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