Chinese Users Face Limitations When Upgrading Their PCs to Windows 11

The Windows 11 operating system was released yesterday, but most Chinese computer users cannot get the latest version of the software. Their devices lack the TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module 2.0) chip required for OS installation.

TPM is an international encryption standard, and the chip itself is one of the components on the motherboard required to comply with this standard. It not only helps protect your PC from outside interference, but also provides data encryption. At the moment, its presence is a mandatory requirement of Microsoft for the legal use of the new OS.

The problem is that the PRC banned foreign chips of the corresponding purpose back in 1999 for reasons of national security and implemented their own equivalent on computers. According to the latest reports, Dell laptops shipped to China without TPM, so it is no longer possible to install an OS update on them. Judging by the comments on the social network Weibo, locals are waiting for a version of Windows 11 specifically for the PRC.

According to Canalys expert Himani Mukka, the Chinese market is too large for Microsoft to find any workaround for non-TPM 2.0 users.

According to Counterpoint Research analyst William Li, the company has already allowed some systems to be updated without TPM protection activated. In particular, we are talking about countries that do not support TPM technology, including China. Windows is the most popular operating system in China, which in turn is the world’s second largest economy and the largest PC market. In the second half of the year, computer shipments in the region totaled 19.4 million. True, due to the high level of piracy, as of January 2020, the company’s annual income in China amounted to only 2% of Microsoft’s total revenues – about $ 2 billion.

According to data released in June, Microsoft has allowed OEMs to ship Windows 11 PCs without TPM chips.

In China itself, an alternative standard Trusted Cryptography Module (TCM) with a Lenovo Hengzhi chip is being promoted. In 2010, the US International Trade Commission accused China of not wanting to pay royalties on TPM and complicating global supply chains, which negatively impacts electronics interoperability and global interoperability.

Took part in the fight TPM and TCM and computer manufacturers. In 2005, HP attempted to covertly ship models with non-activated TPM chips to China, but the company was quickly forced to discontinue sales in the corresponding configuration. According to some reports, in 2012 Intel was in behind-the-scenes negotiations with Chinese regulators about the possibility of making TCM compatible with equipment from the rest of the world.

Prior to the release of Windows 11, Microsoft actively and widely lobbied for TPM, claiming it would provide an additional layer of security to devices.

In the days leading up to the release of Windows 11, many enthusiasts released tools to work around Microsoft’s restrictions on “incompatible” computers. Moreover, such tools require a high level of computer literacy from the user.

A recent study showed that a huge number of computers do not have TPM protection activated, although it is not yet known how many of these tens of millions of machines do not have corresponding chips at all.

It is known that after the first announcement by Microsoft about the need to use TPM 2.0, the price of chips skyrocketed, as speculators began to stockpile the corresponding components. Based on the screenshots posted on Twitter, some types of TPM went from $ 25 to $ 100 in just 12 hours.

About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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