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How to Test a Dead CPU

It's hard to tell when a CPU on a computer is dead or if there is another problem. Usually if there is another problem making you believe the CPU is bad, it's often the motherboard. CPUs don't normally break down, but they do overheat, short out or just stop working for other reasons. CPUs can be expensive to replace, so be sure it's dead before giving up on it.


1) Open your computer case, unscrewing the access door from the back of the computer. Remove the CPU heatsink and CPU fan. You will have to unscrew the fan and disconnect the power cable from the motherboard. Depending on the computer, the heatsink may either be unscrewed, released by pushing or pinching it in the right place, or by carefully removing it with pliers.
2) Lift the CPU bar and remove the CPU. Put in a replacement CPU to see if your computer will now work. You will have to reconnect the heatsink and fan to prevent overheating. If this is the permanent fix, you will need to remove the heatsink fan combination and apply thermal grease on top of the CPU.
3) Replace the motherboard and try the old CPU and the new CPU to see if the problem is the CPU or the motherboard. To remove the motherboard, you will have to disconnect all of the cables coming from other hardware and unscrew any cards connected to the computer that are inserted in the motherboard. Unplug the power supply and then unscrew the motherboard from the case.
4) Try the CPU in a known working computer if you are still having trouble. If the computer stops working, you know the CPU is dead.