How to know if a processor is failing and how to fix it [troubleshooting guide]

The central processing unit (CPU), also known as the CPU, is considered the heart of a computer system. Despite what the title of this article says, it’s very rare for the processor to fail, and if it does, there’s nothing the average user can do about it anyway. This comment is intended to teach the user what to look for, not to give specific steps to reboot a faulty processor. If you are looking for a more technical guide on how to reboot a faulty processor, we recommend you look for other guides.

In this post we will discuss the following topics:

  1. Symptoms of processor failure
  2. Causes of processor failure
  3. Troubleshooting a failed processor
  4. To prevent processor failure

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Processor error symptoms

Modern computers are designed so that the operating system will not boot up if a key component, such as the processor, fails. In other words: The normal boot process cannot be completed because the power-on or boot self test indicates that an essential component is missing from the system. Other components such as the fan, hard drive and motherboard will generally continue to work, but the boot process will eventually end with a fatal blue error screen. However, there are other noticeable symptoms before and during a processor failure that you should look out for. Knowing them will help you identify the problem faster and reduce downtime.

Lock and overheat just before shutting down the PC. If you find that your computer had blocked instances before the final crash, one of the things you should consider is a bad processor. It may have overheated, causing the system to automatically shut down to prevent further damage. The processor has a built-in fan to keep it cool, but if the fan fails for some reason, the processor may temporarily overheat. This is one of the reasons why you should make sure that all the fans in your computer are checked and cleaned once a year. Sometimes dust can choke the fans, so regular maintenance can make or break the system. If your processor seems to overheat often, clean the fan first. If this doesn’t work, check your BIOS to see if you can lower the RPM. This can have a significant impact on performance, especially if you are using the computer for graphics, but it may also be the only effective option other than replacing the CPU.

Keep in mind that prolonged overheating can permanently damage the processor. If you are 100% sure that your processor is overheating (some motherboards have diagnostic tools that allow you to check the processor temperature), look for a way to lower the temperature or contact an expert to fix the problem.

Beep. As mentioned earlier, your computer performs a self-test (POST) to verify that all important devices are working or not. If the test shows that the CPU is not working, the boot process is interrupted and the motherboard beeps. The beeps are actually codes that help the technician identify the problem, so pay attention to the number of beeps. You can then Google what the beep code means.

Burns down motherboard or processor. Severe overheating can cause both the motherboard and the processor itself to melt or give a charred appearance. Try removing the motherboard from the tower and disconnecting the CPU to see if this is the case (steps below). If the overheating was severe, the processor may be permanently damaged. In that case, there’s nothing more you can do. Just replace it and move on. Depending on the damage, the motherboard may also become unusable, so be sure to troubleshoot as well.

Reasons for processor failure

Like any other electronic component, a processor can die for simple reasons. Here are the things you should keep to a minimum in your system if you want to extend the life of your processor.

Heat. A working processor generates heat, but if the heat level exceeds a normal limit, the processor may die. Again: Never underestimate the power of the fans. There is a reason why cooling systems are so expensive. If possible, place the computer in an air-conditioned room so that the heat builds up slowly.

Ageing. Some processors can last longer than any other component, but in most cases, you can expect the old processor to simply fail at some point. If you have an older system (more than 5 years old), the processor may suddenly fail, even if it has been well maintained. The first part of a CPU that is usually discarded is the fan. Over time, this moving part simply reaches its natural limit, and there’s nothing you can do about it. A processor contains millions of transistors, and if one fails, the processor cannot perform a certain task. This is difficult to verify directly. So, once you’ve ruled out all possible causes, the only thing you can do is replace the processor.

Overvoltage or overclocking. CPUs are calculated based on their clock frequency. Some CPUs are designed for higher clock speeds for better performance, but they are affordable. Overconcentration can increase the pressure on the unit, reducing its overall life. In other words: You’re trading off processor life for more processing power, which isn’t a bad thing. However, if you can afford a faster processor, we recommend doing so instead of overclocking.

Overvoltage or unstable voltage. Many of today’s processors are so reliable that they can operate continuously for many years without failure. However, if you are in an area with frequent thunderstorms or unstable power lines, a power surge can destroy the CPU or even the rest of the motherboard components. Do not attempt to plug the computer directly into an electrical outlet. If possible, use a surge protector to protect your computer from sudden power surges.

Wrong Mainboard. A motherboard is a complex connection of many different components, and sometimes a single defective capacitor can cause another component to fail. Try visually inspecting the hardware on the motherboard and make sure the capacitor is not leaking or swelling. If you find it, chances are the processor is failing.

Troubleshooting a failed processor

The processor either works or it doesn’t. If properly installed, the processor will continue to work until it dies unless something serious happens, such as B. a power surge, lightning strike, or major damage to the motherboard. However, if the processor is found to be out of order, it is best to replace it. Period.

Check if the system is overheating. Before you consider physically removing the CPU and testing a new one, check the system for signs of overheating. Here are some of the specific measures you can try:

  • Make sure the airflow is free. Sometimes extra cables in the housing can block large ventilation openings.
  • Keep the number of fans under control. Too many fans doesn’t necessarily mean things will get better.
  • If you still have access to the BIOS, check that the latest firmware version is installed. The upgrade process depends on the card used. It is therefore essential that you read the documentation provided. Usually you can find the BIOS version by checking the BIOS line that appears during boot. Other motherboards may have a different way of displaying their firmware version, so do another Google search or use the manual.
  • Check the fan or radiator. This step only applies if you know how to remove and move the CPU. In this case, make sure that the pushers are in the right position and that the heat sink is properly attached to the motherboard. During this step, check that there is no heat-conducting material at the bottom of the heat sink. If not, the computer may overheat. Thermal interface material is often supplied in the form of a thermal adhesive.

If nothing happens during boot, i.e., if the screen remains blue or black and you suspect a processor error, perform the following steps:

  • Check that the power lamp on the motherboard is lit.
  • If the LED is not lit, check for a problem with the motherboard or power supply.
  • If the LED is lit, check that the CPU fan is running when the system is turned on.
  • If the CPU fan is running, run a paging test with another CPU on. Check that the other devices are working properly.

Preventing CPU Failure

Despite its reliability, you want to make sure your computer’s processor is working at its best. Since overheating is often the most common cause of CPU failures, here’s what you should do to prevent it.

Processor heating phase control. High-end motherboards offer a tool in the BIOS to check the processor temperature and fan speed, which you should definitely use. How the monitoring program is implemented depends on the available motherboard, so refer to the accompanying documentation. The BIOS monitoring tools are designed so that you can even use a mouse. Temperature readings are often presented in a simple format so you can understand them and, if you’re lucky, there’s an indication of what’s normal and what’s not.

If you cannot set a base temperature, you will have to determine it yourself by noting the processor’s idle temperature. The plant must then be started up so that its operating temperature can also be taken into account. If you are using a motherboard monitoring program, set the appropriate stopwire temperatures and configure the program to alert you when these temperatures are exceeded.

Use a good CPU cooler. Processors purchased at retail are equipped with standard coolers, but if you can afford to buy high-quality third-party coolers, go ahead. Aftermarket radiators are generally more efficient than original radiators, but they can also be noisier, so make your choice based on your needs. If you want good sizes, give me the aftermarket sizes. If you are installing a cooler, thoroughly clean the surface of the processor before applying the thermal paste. Also make sure the heatsink is tight against the processor.

Clean tower regularly. This is understandable, but again, the importance of minimizing dust in the tower cannot be overstated. Dust can clog ventilation holes and reduce airflow to the processor and other components.

Use a thermally insulated enclosure (TAC).  TAC is a fancy term for a more advanced enclosure designed to dissipate the extra heat from the internal components (to the outside). TACs can be expensive, but they can be an effective way to minimize heat in the enclosure. If you have the necessary resources, we recommend that you use this case instead of the standard case.

Location, location. Placing a computer near a heat source, in any form, is a major turn-off. A cool, dry place is fine, but an air-conditioned room is preferable. Computers will, if anything, prefer a cooler environment to a warmer one on any given day, so make sure you help them get what they want.

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