Windows 11 TPM 2.0 requirement leaves many virtual machines out in the cold

To say that Microsoft's minimum system requirements for Windows 11 were a mess might be a bit of an understatement. Less than a month before its formal launch, the company is still clarifying the conditions that will make a computer eligible for that upgrade. Sometimes, those clarifications can significantly change the game for some users or testers, like those using virtual machines or VMs that have suddenly found themselves unable to update Windows 11 because Microsoft finally set its foot down on one previously vague requirement.

Microsoft has made the active presence of a TPM 2.0 cryptoprocessor an absolute requirement for Windows 11. Most computers built in the last two or three years already meet this particular requirement, but not all Windows 10 systems do. Custom-built PCs are one such possible case, but even more important are virtual machines that naturally don't have that hardware feature.

Until now, Windows Insiders and testers were still able to run pre-release versions of Windows 11 on virtual machines, mostly because Microsoft hasn't clarified its requirements for VMs. With the announcement of Build 22000.194, however, it finally made TPM 2.0 a requirement even for virtual machines, which immediately locked out many such testers.

Very few virtual machines are able to make it look like they have TPM hardware. One of those is VMWare Workstation Pro, and another is Microsoft's own Hyper-V Manager that's only available on Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions. In other words, the kind of VMs that will require some money to set up and use.

To be fair, Microsoft did always say that TPM 2.0 is a requirement, but it has only now enforced that on virtual machines as well. That is probably why it said that running Windows 11 on VMs and on Apple M1 Macs is an unsupported scenario. That said, Parallels Desktop 17 did recently add a TPM 2.0 module, satisfying that requirement and practically sidestepping Microsoft's statement.