A Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a special chip on the motherboard designed to provide hardware authentication. The TPM stores information specific to the host system, such as cryptographic keys, passwords and digital certificates.
The TPM generates a cryptographic key or hash based on the hardware in the system. This key value is used to verify that the hardware of the system has not changed and can prevent the system from booting if it has. It can also be used by applications to generate and save keys that are used with encryption.
TPM management is password protected and must be set during initialization. This is accomplished through the system BIOS.