Install Windows 11 on VMware vSphere with a virtual TPM

Yesterday I wrote a blog called “Install Windows 11 as VM on VMware vSphere / Workstation without TPM 2.0 chipset“. In this blog article, I explained how to install Windows 11 without having a TPM 2.0 chipset by using a registry hack. Paul Braren from tinkertry.com created a cool video (link) about installing Windows 11 on VMware vSphere using my blog article. Bob Plankers (@plankers) replied on Twitter that virtual TPM can be used too. 

So I did some research in my home lab. With VMware vSphere and VMware Workstation, it is possible to install Windows 11 by using a vTPM device that emulates a physical TPM 2.0 chipset without having one. This is called Virtual Trusted Platform Module (vTPM). A vTPM performs the same functions as a hardware TPM, it performs cryptographic coprocessor capabilities in software So without having a physical TPM 2.0 you can run Windows 11 without performing any hacks to the Windows 11 Operating System.

In this blog post, I explain how to configure vTPM for VMware vSphere and install Windows 11. Here are the steps:

Requirements for vTPM

  • EFI firmware
  • Hardware Version 14 or later
  • vSphere 6.7 or later
  • Virtual Machine encryption
  • Key Provider. The Key Provider is used to enable encrypted technologies such as TPM

To enable vTPM you must first add a Key Provider

  • Open the vSphere Client URL (https://vcentername/ui)
  • Log-in
  • Click on the vCenter name – Configure and select Key Providers
  • Click on ADD
  • Select Add Native Key Provider. When using the Native Key provider you don’t need an external key server.
  • Enter a name for the Key Provider and uncheck “Use key provider only with TPM protected ESXi hosts (Recommended).

  • Select Backup and uncheck “Protect Native Key Provider data with password (Recommended)” and click on BACK UP KEY PROVIDER

  • The Key Provider is configured and active now

 

Windows 11 VM Configuration

For the Windows 11 VM configuration, I configured the following:

  • Create or download a Windows 11 ISO (for more information see the blog post mentioned at the beginning).
  • Copy the ISO to a datastore that can be accessed  when used to install Windows 11

In the vCenter client create a new VM with the following specification:

  • Configuration step 1: Create a new Virtual Machine
  • Configuration step 2: Enter the Virtual Machine name
  • Configuration step 3: Select the ESXi host or cluster for the VM
  • Configuration step 4: Select the datastore and select Encrypt this virtual machine

  • Configuration step 5: Compatibility: ESXi 7.0 U2 and later (I’m using ESXi 7)

  • Configuration step 6: Guest OS: Guest OS Family: Windows
    • Guest OS Version: Windows 10 (64-bit)
    • Enable Windows Virtualization Based Security: Check

  • Configuration step 7: CPU: 2 or more
    • Memory: 4 GB or more
    • Hard disk: 64 GB or more
    • CD/DVD: Mount the ISO on the datastore
    • Custom Hardware Select Add New Device and choose for Trusted Platform Module

 

  • Configuration step 8: VM configuration overview
    • Click on Finish

  • Start the VM and the installation begins without complaining that this PC can’t run Windows 11

Windows 11 can be installed without having a physical TPM 2.0 chipset or using the registry hack mentioned at the beginning of the blog post. How cool is that!

6 thoughts on “Install Windows 11 on VMware vSphere with a virtual TPM”

  1. Ivo, Thanks for the awesome write-up, works great at home. Just a doc note, when selecting a datastore select “vm encrytion policy”. My VM create failed first time because policy was “default”.

    Thanks again, Tom

  2. Thanks, worked very well!

    One small remark: I see you created the network adapter as E1000. Did you do this on purpose? I always understood VMXNET3 is the way to go.

  3. heads up. ESXI hosts have to be on esxi 7.0u2 as well for native key provider to work. 6.7 hosts will not work even if the vcenter is on 7.0u2.

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