How to Tell if Your CPU Is Dead?

You woke up, drank a cup of hot coffee and hit the power button to start your day. The computer starts up, but suddenly shuts down after 4 to 5 seconds. Or maybe it didn’t burn at all. You know there hasn’t been a power outage recently because you’ve only been using your coffee maker.

First of all, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and calm down. Chances are, your device will not have any problems. Of course, the first thing you need to do is unplug and plug back in the old fashioned way. Also check if you accidentally turned off the switch on the back panel.

If you have tried all these solutions and your computer still doesn’t work, you may have a problem with your processor. So how do you know if your processor is dead? There are a few things to check, so let’s start there.

How do you know if your processor is dead?

1. Try the processor on another system.

This is the most efficient way to test your processor. Remove everything, remove the side panel, remove the CPU cooler, and carefully pull the CPU out of the motherboard socket. Then take them to a friend or the nearest computer store. Make sure the processor and motherboard are compatible before performing this step.

This may not be the easiest or most convenient way to check your processor, but it will tell you if something is wrong with your processor or another component. If your processor or computer is still under warranty, check where you bought it instead of buying it yourself, as this will void your warranty.

If you take your processor to a friend or to the store and the processor still doesn’t start, it’s dead. But if all goes well here, there may be a problem with the motherboard, RAM, power supply or some other component.

It’s a reliable way to check if your processor is dead, but it’s also extremely inconvenient, especially if you don’t know anyone who has a motherboard with the same connector. Fortunately, there are other ways to check it out.

2. Undo what you did before …..

If the processor has been working well for some time, but you have made changes to your system, either hardware or software, then this step should be obvious. This is especially true if you have new memory or perhaps a new processor cooler installed in your system. At least try to fix the problem and see if it persists.

Remember to stay calm with anything computer related, especially hardware. A wrong move can cause irreversible damage. Also, be sure to ground yourself by wearing an antistatic wristband or touching the computer case before touching any component. There are many other things you can do to check your CPU if it’s not working.

3. Repeat the process and replace the thermal paste.

This is another good way to give your processor another chance before replacing it. Reusing the processor means taking it out and putting it back in. You could say it’s a more complicated way of trying to plug it in and plug it back in. Remember to remove the thermal paste before performing this step.

If your CPU is not working due to overheating problems, this can also be a solution, as a new application of thermal paste can do wonders for the temperatures of the CPU.

Even if your CPU has been working for months without any problems, a reboot is a good idea, especially if you don’t have access to another system to test your CPU.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do this:

      1. Unplug all cables, place the computer on a large flat surface (avoid carpets), ground yourself and open the side panel.
      2. Find your processor. It is located under the heatsink at the top center of the motherboard.
      3. Disconnect the fan connector from the 3- or 4-pin CPU. You can identify this by looking at where the fan cable is connected, usually on the right side of the music center. Be careful not to use force or pull upwards.
      4. Loosen the clamps or screws securing the refrigerator. The exact mechanism varies, so you should consult your processor’s cooling manual beforehand.
      5. Carefully remove the radiator.
      6. Release the processor lock lever. This is a long, thin piece of metal that rests horizontally against the processor. You have to pull it to the side a little bit and it opens up.
      7. Carefully remove the processor. This is an opportunity to check for damaged processor pins if your processor is new and your computer has not been running since you received it. Replace the surround processor and put the latch back in place.
      8. Remove the old thermal paste from the CPU and warm the heatsink with isopropyl alcohol and a dry cloth. If you don’t have isopropyl alcohol, don’t use hand sanitizer (which we all have in abundance) or other liquids. Just do it with a dry cloth. It will take longer, but it will fall off eventually.
      9. Apply a generous amount of fresh thermal paste. Don’t use too many. Garden peas are big enough.
      10. Replace the CPU cooler the same way you removed it. Replace the CPU fan. Close the computer folder.

After you’ve done all these steps, plug everything back in and see if it works. When the computer is turned on, check that the CPU fan is running. If not, you have connected it incorrectly or it is defective.

If your processor shuts down after a few seconds due to overheating, a new application of thermal paste should fix the problem. If not, there’s one more step you can try.

4. BIOS reset and RAM reset.

The BIOS can be reset by removing and reinserting the CMOS battery. As in the previous step, turn everything off and place the computer on a flat surface.

Then proceed as follows:

      1. Find the CMOS battery. This is a shiny round battery located on the bottom of the motherboard. Chances are your graphics card is interfering. If so, remove them as well.
      2. Remove the CMOS battery by pressing the latch.
      3. Place the CMOS battery on the table and wait for 5 minutes.
      4. Replace the CMOS battery and reconnect everything.

Now check that messages are enabled on your computer. Alternatively, you can reset the RAM. This is the same process as for the CMOS battery. Just unlock the RAM sticks on both sides and take them out for a few minutes, then put them back in place.

Why do transformers die?

There are several reasons why your processor may stall or fail. First of all: If you bend the pin when installing the processor, it will not work. If the processor is damaged in transit or there is a factory problem, it will probably stop working after a few days or months.

However, if you’ve been using your processor for a year or more and it suddenly stops working, it may have burned out due to overheating or too much voltage. Overheating occurs when the CPU fan is not working properly or the heat mixture has dried up. Voltage problems have to do with the power supply and sometimes with the motherboard.

If you have an old power supply unit (PSU) or if it’s from an unknown manufacturer, replace it before buying a new CPU, because chances are it will happen again. Older, unreliable power supplies can have blown capacitors that are dangerous not only to your computer, but to your entire home.


We sincerely hope that your computer is working again after taking one of these steps. Processors can last a very long time and are much more likely to age than die. The best way to check if your processor is dead is to take it to a professional or test it on another system.

This method is not very practical for most people, but there are other steps you can try before buying a new processor. If your processor is still under warranty, try to get a return authorization first as you can get a free replacement. If you have a faulty power supply, replace it as well. While you’re at it, also replace the old thermal paste to prevent overheating.

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