How to Tell If Your CPU is Dying [Possible Fixes]

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How to Tell If Your CPU is Dying

Let’s cut right to the chase. If your laptop is acting up and you suspect the CPU, you’ve come to the right place. There’s no fluff here. No superficial content that doesn’t help you answer the only question that matters: how can I tell if my CPU is dying? The CPU is the laptop’s brain, and when it’s not reliable, things don’t work as they should. We’ve listed seven telltale signs that show your CPU is going bad. Possible reasons why your CPU might be dying. And different solutions for fixing the issue. Sound good? Let’s get started.

1. The Laptop Won’t Turn on at All

If this happens, there’s a big possibility that your CPU is already dead.  The laptop won’t show any error messages, but the screen will remain black if the CPU is dying or already dead.  However, the CPU isn’t always the culprit.

In some cases, perhaps the CPU isn’t seated correctly.  You’ll need to open the laptop and make sure the processor is properly fit into the slot on the motherboard and that nothing is loose.  

In other cases, the problem could be related to the graphics card.  If there are no issues with the motherboard, then you need try removing the graphics card, and this will allow you to access your laptop.

If there is no problem with the motherboard, graphics card, or power connection, then the problem is probably related to the CPU.

2. Beeping Sounds

Another way to tell if your CPU is dying is when it’s time to turn on your laptop, the system might produce a few beeps that sound like codes.  This happens only when there’s a severe problem with the CPU, and the machine is having trouble booting up.  The number of beeps tells you the problem you’re dealing with.

3. The Laptop Turns Off Immediately After Being Turned On

This is an obvious sign that there’s something wrong with the CPU.  A sudden increase in the internal temperature can cause the laptop to shut off after you’ve turned it on.  There are temperature sensors in every laptop that register the CPU’s temperature.  As a safety mechanism, the laptop will shut itself off to protect the other components.

4. The Laptop Freezes

This could happen when you’re browsing the internet, playing a game, or using any program on the laptop.  If your laptop suddenly freezes while you’re using it, this could be a sign that there might be something wrong with the CPU.

You can reboot the laptop and see what happens. In some cases, this could be enough to fix the problem, so you can use the laptop again. If the laptop turns off again, then you need to check the CPU and see what’s wrong with it.

5. Temperature is Too High

There are several free tools that allow you to register the idle temperature of the CPU. The temperature of your CPU should be below 60 degrees Celsius while it’s operating.  If the temperature rises above 70 degrees Celsius, then it’s time to take action.

Start by cleaning all the internal parts.  Dust can accumulate and cause the temperature to rise, eventually affecting the performance of the CPU.  If the temperature still rises, then you need to check the cooling fans.  In some cases, you can repair the fan, or you can have it replaced.

If the problem persists, you might need to check the thermal paste.  This is located between the CPU and the heatsink that sits on top and tends to dry over the years.  Wipe this paste with a piece of cloth and apply a new layer of the cooling paste like this.  Make sure that it doesn’t get in contact with any of the internal parts.

A clogged heat sink that needs cleaning might also be the source of the problem.  Laptops have heat-pipes with liquid in them to keep internal parts from over-heating.  The heat-pipes connect to the heat sink which sits on top of the CPU which is connected to the fan.  You can clean it like this.

6. The Screen Turns Blue

You can tell that the CPU is dying because the fan won’t work the way it should.  As a result, you might see blue screens and other unusual behavior from your laptop.  Known as the Blue Screen of Death or BSOD, newer versions of Windows show a screen that feels less dramatic but still tells you that there’s something wrong with your laptop, and it’s unable to resume operations.

If there’s something wrong with the fan, you need to change it as soon as possible because prolonged overheating can damage the CPU.  There are many reasons why you might get a blue screen, but in most cases, it’s related to hardware and not software problems.  A failing CPU can also show a “System Abort” message.

7. Burn Marks

Taking a look at the motherboard might help you see if there’s something wrong with the CPU.  There might be some burn marks due to the overheating of the CPU.  In this case, you might have to replace the motherboard.

Why Does my CPU Go Bad?

The previous signs help you tell if the CPU is dying.  But why do these things happen in the first place?  Here are some reasons why your CPU might be going bad:

  • Age is the main reason why your CPU will start to malfunction and eventually fail.  CPUs aren’t designed to last forever and using your laptop more often and for high-performance activities like gaming, and demanding programs it’s not cut out for will put undue pressure on the CPU and cause it to fail prematurely.
  • A hot environment can also cause the CPU to fail.  If you keep the laptop in a room that lacks proper ventilation, it can cause the temperature of the CPU to rise.  Combine that with a corrupt internal cooling system, and overheating is one of the main reasons why CPUs fail.
  • Overclocking or putting too much pressure on the CPU can make it go bad sooner than it should.  Pay close attention to the minimum system requirements of the games and other programs you’re running as you might be killing your CPU by over-stressing it.  If you feel that your CPU isn’t up to your expectations, then it’s time for an upgrade.
  • An electric power surge or an increase in voltage can damage your CPU.  This could happen because of the power supply going bad or because of an external factor like lightning.  We recommend that you plug your laptop into a surge protector to ensure that any changes won’t damage your CPU and other components.  If there’s something wrong with the power supply, attaching a backup battery can be a temporary solution to protect your CPU from damage.

Wrapping Up

Let’s cut to the chase one last time. Which solution are you going to try today? Which one is going to help you reclaim your machine? If you try all the suggestions above and everything checks out, then you know you have a bad CPU on your hands; maybe even a bad motherboard.  From here, the only way to clearly diagnose the CPU and motherboard is to replace the CPU. Hopefully that fixes the issue.  If not, then it’s the motherboard – or both.