How To Tell If CPU Is Dead? Know All The Signs and Reasons

Imagine you are going through an important task just when your computer freezes or shuts down completely. What’s worse, it won’t even start again! How would you feel? Annoyed? Disturbed?

You can encounter this situation easily if the CPU fails to operate and dies for any reason. There can be a lot of reasons for the untimely death of your processor. But first, you will have to be sure if your CPU is really dead.

how to tell if the CPU is dead? When you try to power on your computer. If it fails to boot up the BIOS or sends out beeps, you should be sure that your CPU is dead inside.

In this article, I am going to talk about all the signs of a failed CPU and also mention the reasons behind a dead CPU. Stick to the end to know how to prevent your CPU from dying.


Signs That Your CPU is Dying

In this part, I am going to talk about some of the most common signs you can get in case your CPU is damaged and is dying eventually. They include:

The Computer Shuts Off Automatically:

It can be a real frustrating sign if your computer just starts shutting off automatically without any prior warning. The worst is when it keeps happening randomly. Most people have a tendency of avoiding such issues.

However, this simple disturbance can possibly mean that your CPU needs attention. In these cases, you need to find the components that are malfunctioning and diagnose other parts too.

In most cases, this happens when your computer gets overheated with time. It might start with a few automatic shutdowns first, eventually leading to a dead CPU.

Bootup Problems:

The first thing we get after powering on a computer is the BIOS POST (Power On Self Test). This is a system diagnostic test that makes sure that all of your hardware is working properly. If everything’s fine, the computer will boot as usual.

On the other hand, if something is wrong, the computer will not boot, and you will get an error message with the problem. Generally, if any of the hardware is already damaged, you will get a message as “Missing Hardware.”

However, it’s also possible that the BIOS POST could not identify the issue and started normally only to end up freezing or restarting after a while. While this can be simply a problem in any other hardware, we can’t blow away the possibility of the CPU dying.

Computer Not Turning On:

This is another vital symptom that might mean that your CPU is dead inside. There can be at least two scenarios in this case. Either you can press the power button and watch that your computer isn’t responding, or the fan will start spinning for a second and then go off again.

System Freeze:

 The freezing system can be quite disturbing, and in most cases, its occurrence means that the CPU has failed or is already dead. You can freeze the system freeze in a few states, including during bootup, when the computer is idle or under heavy use.

Blue Screen of Death:

The Blue Screen of Death or the BSOD is a system error that can be commonly found in a Windows operating system. While it can happen due to the failure of the OS, it can also mean that your CPU is dying.

The BSOD means that your screen will turn blue while showing an error message about why your system can’t operate anymore.


If you know about the morse codes used in the early days, then it will be easier for you to understand that your motherboard is capable of using short and long beeping to let you know a message.

Each series shown on the screen indicates one particular problem in the system hardware. So, if your monitor starts showing codes and beeping, it’s best if you check in the motherboard’s instructions manual for what the code means.

However, not all motherboards are capable of showing codes like that. A speaker might help you in this case to hear the beeps.  

Editor’s Note: Check out our Buying Guide For the Best 360mm AIO CPU Cooler

How to Tell If CPU is dead

While you can pretty much guess that from all the signs your device has been showing, there are a few things you can do as troubleshooting. If your CPU is fine, these steps are most likely to save the problem.

If not, then you can be 100% sure that the processor is dead and get a new one to keep your computer operating.

Checking for any Errors or Damage:

The first way of knowing if your CPU is really dead is by looking for any kind of error. There are a few steps to do that. For instance:

  • Shut down your computer and then turn it on again. Check for any kind of beeps or error messages on the screen.
  • You can either ask the computer manufacture for service o search on the internet for what the beep sound may mean.
  • Then, try to solve the problem with the recommended troubleshooting steps.
  • If the problem isn’t solved yet, unplug the power cord for computers or remove the battery for laptops.
  • After that, get rid of the access panel. Make sure to unscrew it properly before pulling out.
  • Take the heatsink off from the processor’s top and reseat it. Then, take out the processor from the motherboard.
  • Check it all the cables are connected securely, and other important wires are attached properly. Reseat the memory.
  • Lastly, replace the heatsink and processor with power back on the computer.
  • If the problem isn’t solved yet, go to the next section.

Test the Processor on Another Computer:

Sometimes when you think that your CPU is disturbing, the problem can be mainly in your motherboard rather than the processor.

To be sure about that, you need to test your processor on another computer just to be sure. This is one of the easiest methods to know about the condition of your CPU.

The steps to do that are mentioned below:

  • Disconnect both the computers from the power supply.
  • Make sure to remove the processor as well as heatsink from both of the computers.
  • Reattach the heatsink and processor into the test computer and reconnect the power supply. Make sure that both computers are compatible with the same kind of processor.
  • Then, turn on the computer and see what happens.

If the BIOS fails to boot or you get the same beeping sound as before, you can be sure that your CPU is most likely dead.

Why Your CPU Might Die

There can be a lot of things responsible for your CPU’s death. For instance:


When you are using your computer for heavy tasks or have to use it for a long time, it’s really crucial to keep the CPU at a low temperature for better performance. Getting overheated is one of the most common reasons your CPU can die by getting damaged.

Though most of the processors nowadays are designed to work at higher temperatures, longtime use can cause serious internal damages to it and, therefore, leading to its untimely failure.

High CPU temperatures are most likely the result of cheap heatsinks or poor ventilation systems.


Overclocking the CPU can increase the core speed by forcing the machine to work more than its usual stock speed designed by the manufacturers. While this has a lot of benefits, it can cause damages to the chips too.

Since the overclocking requires additional voltage applying to the processor, the overvoltage can be responsible for your CPU’s short lifespan.

Electrical Power Surge:

An electrical power surge can be seriously harmful to your CPU as well as other important components. It can be responsible for the whole system’s damage, and the current can even spike at high rates going beyond your CPU and PSU’s protection functions.

Generally, a lightning strike or a power outage can be the reason for an electrical power surge.

Unstable Voltage:

An unstable voltage is somewhat similar to an electrical power surge. While there can be several reasons behind it, in most cases, it’s a cheap and poor PSU responsible. These PSUs do more harm to your computer and the components than offering any protection.

Bad Motherboard:

You should know that the main work a motherboard does is to connect all of your components together for communicating. Mainly, it controls all the voltage and current that goes through the components. So, a bad motherboard can easily cause the CPU to die.

Editor’s Note: Check out our Buying Guide For the 10 Best LGA 1151 CPU For Gaming

How to Prevent Your CPU From Dying

You know what they say, “Prevention is better than cure!” Rather than finding solutions after your CPU is dead, you should try to find ways of keeping it healthy! There are a few ways to do that:

Observe the CPU Heat Level:

We have already discussed how getting overheated can seriously damage your CPU’s lifespan. You can avoid this situation by observing the CPU temperatures carefully and giving it a rest whenever you think that it got too hot. You can also use an app to do that, and some of these are completely free to download.

Use a high-quality Heatsink:

Coolers or a heatsink might be the best idea when it comes to keeping your CPU calm and happy. You can find very fine quality heatsinks available at a rather affordable price in the market. In case you are not satisfied with these, customized water colling kits are also a good idea.

Clean the Tower Regularly:

The fan being stuck with dust and debris is quite common to most PC users. No matter how excellently you wipe out the place, dirt will always find its way back into the place. So, to keep your CPU working efficiently, you need to clean the fans regularly.


So, this is how to tell if the CPU is dead. Like most other things, your CPU and other computer components also need special care and regular maintenance to work efficiently.

In most cases, your CPU fails due to prolonged use and getting overheated over time. So, you need to make sure that your CPU is always at a proper temperature.

However, always try to prevent any kind of damage rather than looking for troubleshooting of the problem.


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