I am both a cheap and realistic geek. There are some hardware upgrades that I will be happy to do, upgrades like making sure all the hard drives on any computer you have are SSDs rather than IDE hard drives. Especially with Windows 10, it’s a no-brainer – an SSD makes any hissing computer more nimble.
I have even updated a server to include a TPM module. Usually the hard part is finding the correct part you need and then finding an image (or ideally a video) that shows exactly where the TPM module is connected to the motherboard.
But upgrade a processor? That’s where I draw the line. I’ve smeared too much CPU thermal paste to feel comfortable pulling an existing processor out of a computer and upgrading it.
So why am I worrying about updating hardware? For him recommended hardware enforced with the upcoming Windows 11 release near the end of the year, requirements that include a 64-bit processor with more than 2 cores and a speed of at least 1 GHz, as well as a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0.
To be clear, Windows 10 will support updates until 2025, so there is no need to panic now. Rather, it’s time to determine which computers can be upgraded to Windows 11 when it comes out at the end of the year, and which ones should be left on Windows 10.
Update to TPM 2.0
But let’s start with the basics. You may need to do a little research on your computer or motherboard to see if it shipped with a TPM chip or if it can support it. Begin by clicking in the Windows search box and typing tpm.msc. If you have a TPM chip on your motherboard and it is enabled in BIOS, the resulting screen will show you whether you have TPM 1.2 or 2.0. Upgrading your computer to support TPM 2 may be just a boot away, or it may be more complicated.
But first you have to ask yourself whether you have encrypted your hard drive with a third-party encryption tool or with BitLocker. If so, you will have to decrypt the hard drive and re-encrypt it after the firmware update process. This can take time. Following my experience with decrypting a BitLockered drive, prepare to start it overnight and wait until the process is complete.
On my Lenovo ThinkPad laptop, I was able to easily go from TPM 1.2 to 2.0 by starting the BIOS, finding the section in BIOS settings, usually in security, and then changing the settings from TPM 1.2 to 2.0. A sample video on the process can be found. in Youtube. For my HP desktop at the office, the process was a bit more complicated as I had to find the exact firmware update to upgrade the computer from TPM 1.2 to 2.0. I originally tried using HP TPM configuration utility but I found a more exact match for my motherboard by reading this HP support document. For Dell, you can follow the documentation or Youtube video. If successful, your TPM module will now indicate that it has upgraded from 1.2 to 2.0.
But now you will find that the true The block from running Windows 11 successfully isn’t the TPM chip, though that’s important, but the processor. Unless you already have an Intel Generation 8 (or equivalent in the AMD family) or unless Microsoft backtracks on its processor requirements, you won’t be able to run Windows 11.
Researching my computers and what Intel chipset they run on made me realize that some of my Based on Core i5 PCs are older than I remembered. While I was a bit concerned that so many computers I control might not be able to upgrade to Windows 11 with their current processors, it was a helpful wake-up call to the fact that I have a lot of older equipment in my fleet.
While you can upgrade a processor after researching which ones your existing motherboard can support, the ease of doing so will depend on the type of computer you have. I found that if I have built a computer from scratch, buying the motherboard, graphics card, processor, and case separately, I can often find a newer processor that is compatible with the motherboard, or I can choose to upgrade the motherboard as well. . In the good old days, that usually meant a trip to Fry’s Electronics, but those days are over now that Fry’s has closed. Nowadays, the upgrade is a bit more difficult, especially in cases where I have bought refurbished commercial desktop machines instead of starting from scratch.
The only computer I have that is compatible with Windows 11 is my Surface Pro 7 that I recently purchased. But every time I buy Surface devices these days, I don’t buy them in advance. Instead, I sign up for the Surface All Access for Business plan that allows me to buy them over time for 0% interest, and then when I get near the end of the term, I can hand over the device and get a newer one. Because Surface devices are extremely difficult to open and repair (I have never managed to open the Surface RT in years since it had a dead battery and could never be recharged), I look for ways that allow me to exchange them. looking for new equipment after several years. While this program is set up for business only, other computer vendors may offer similar offers for lightweight laptops that cannot be easily upgraded.
Should you bother?
Of course, you’re probably wondering if you really need to upgrade to Windows 11. If you think your computer has four more years of good, solid life, then the answer is no. Windows 10 will be fully supported for the next four years, and knowing Microsoft, if many of us continue to run Windows 10 at the end of these four years (we will, believe me), then the company will create some kind of extended patching program.
Bottom line: evaluate your computers. See which ones can make the cut for Windows 11 and which ones can’t. And then relax, because Microsoft has just started the beta process for Windows 11, and Windows 10 has a lot of life still remains in him.
If you have any lingering questions, we have many answers at Askwoody.com and here at Computerworld.