Windows Vista Trusted Platform Module Services guide

Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 6:30 AM EST

A TPM is a microchip designed to provide basic security-related functions, primarily involving encryption keys. The TPM is usually installed on the motherboard of a computer or laptop, and communicates with the rest of the system using a hardware bus.

Computers that incorporate a TPM have the ability to create cryptographic keys and encrypt them so that they can only be decrypted by the TPM. This process, often called "wrapping" or "binding" a key, can help protect the key from disclosure. Each TPM has a master "wrapping" key, called the Storage Root Key (SRK), which is stored within the TPM itself. The private portion of a key created in a TPM is never exposed to any other component, software, process or person.

At Microsoft.

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