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Why Dell and Lenovo aren't using Microsoft Pluton for security

Dell Xps 15 9500 Logo
Dell Xps 15 9500 Logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Dell and Lenovo have decided against using Microsoft's Pluton technology in many their PCs.
  • Pluton integrates security functions with a processor and is used on Xbox consoles and some computers.
  • Dell and Lenovo have opted to use Intel vPro tech for security instead, which cannot be used in conjunction with Pluton.

Microsoft's Pluton technology can be used to secure PCs, but some of the biggest manufacturers are not using it in their laptops. Dell and Lenovo have opted against using Pluton tech in many of their laptops, according to a report by The Register. In addition to Dell and Lenovo not using Pluton in their laptops, Intel hasn't implemented Pluton in any of its 12th Gen Intel Core processors. Instead, Intel went with its own TPM support.

"Pluton does not align with Dell's approach to hardware security and our most secure commercial PC requirements," said Dell to the Register.

Using something other than Pluton doesn't mean laptops from Dell are insecure. It just means that Dell has chosen to go a different route when it comes to securing devices. "As with all new technologies, we will continue to evaluate Pluton to see how it compares against existing TPM implementations in the future," said a Dell spokesperson to The Register. "Dell also provides its own additional security, implemented at the hardware and software level, to defend customers against attacks."

Lenovo appears to be taking a similar approach to Dell, at least for some of its devices. The company's upcoming Intel-based ThinkPads "will not support Microsoft Pluton at launch," according to Lenovo.

Lenovo Thinkpad X13s

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Even Lenovo's ThinkPads running AMD Ryzen 6000 processors will have Pluton disabled by default. People will have the option to enable the security tech if they'd like. In contrast to its other laptops, the new ThinkPad X13 will feature Pluton. That device runs on the new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. Notably, Microsoft and Lenovo worked together for four years to ensure that Lenovo's security features were compatible with Windows on ARM PCs.

Microsoft doesn't seem concerned with the fact that Dell and Lenovo aren't using Pluton at this time. "Microsoft and our partners are giving customers the flexibility and choice to configure Pluton to meet their specific needs. Microsoft is committed to working with partners and customers in the coming months and years to continue to bolster security with Pluton," said Microsoft.

Pluton was only introduced in 2020, so it may take some time for PC manufacturers to adopt it. In the meantime, companies will continue to use their own security solutions.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

5 Comments
  • Lenovo's been hardware-locking their CPUs to the OEM board and can kick rocks for it. Board dies? CPU's useless now too! I'm not giving them any of my money for that behavior. Despite promoted security benefits, these things, including Pluton, end up anti-consumer. Companies can certainly tout a hardened environment against vulnerabilities, but they're also taking control out of users' hands. We're no longer getting to decide the fates of our machines. Companies are taking away self-service options and either offering their own convoluted service or outright saying "we'll send a refurbished unit because we won't repair yours and send it back with the data intact." There's too much control being taken away from consumers, despite their being asked to pay more and more for these products.
  • I mean, I see your point, but Pluton (and vPro) are, ultimately, not consumer technologies and are not offered in consumer devices. They're for mass deploying and administrating via IT departments for small to large companies, so I don't really follow what your 'right to repair' points have to do with the adoption of Microsoft's Pluton security chip for business laptops.
  • As security via lack of repairablity is where things seem to be going. Which is really moronic, if a nefarious individual already has access to the hardware - you've got bigger problems. So that route is moot. Lenovo has gone down that route with cpus just to name one brand.
  • Sadly they don’t really state a real reason. Eg are there feature Vpro has that Pluton doesn’t? A side by side technical comparison might give some insight. It’s nothing to do with TPM but maybe remote management ability or ability to change more with Vpro. Perhaps AMD need to segment processor features at different price points or something. Got to have a justification to charge enterprise more for their PCs.
  • I've read the article, and I still don't know WHY they don't use it besides "Pluton does not align with Dell's approach to hardware security and our most secure commercial PC requirements,"
    Can anyone explain why? For example: Does Pluton only work with Windows? Or does it also help with other operating systems? I mean, that would be a reason for me to pass on it as hardware manufacturer... Another reason I can think of would be; if I'm already placing an Intel chip in the machine and it comes with its own, equally capable tech, why replace it with Microsoft's? Anyone?