How to tell if my CPU is dead?

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The CPU or the central processing unit is the brain of your computer. So, when the brain starts to malfunction the whole body starts to show some symptoms. If you are thinking about how to tell if my CPU is dead then this is your answer. Look for the right symptoms.

The most common way to know your CPU is dead is by trying to start your computer. If you fail over and over again, that’s a problem. Maybe it turns on for a few seconds only to shut down without any warning. In most cases, if this occurs, the CPU is dead. But you must look for other signs to be completely sure.

We will mention all the ways you can confirm whether the CPU of your computer is dead or not. If you are having a problem with your computer CPU, then this discussion is for you. Stay with us to learn what happened to your CPU.

How to tell if my CPU is dead? – The Main symptoms

Some of the following scenarios will appear if your computer has a dead CPU. 

Your PC won’t turn on

This is the most common way a computer will tell you that its brain is damaged. Obviously, with a dead brain, it cannot turn on. You can keep pressing the power button but won’t get any response. And sometimes you will get a response but for a split second and the PC is dead again.

But what you have to remember is this problem can be caused by any malfunction in the computer. Not only a dead CPU can be responsible for this trouble. So, don’t jump to any conclusion just yet. Consider this a big sign and still look for other ones. 

The system shuts down automatically

This is the sign of a problematic CPU, to be more specific malfunctioning cooling fans. When the CPU is overheated, the system automatically shuts itself down to cool it down. So, if this happens to your computer, check the cooling fans. Or else if this keeps going on, it can permanently damage the CPU.

PC getting very slow

When the CPU is suffering the whole system gets slower and you will notice everywhere. When the PC boots up, you run a program on it, it will lag very noticeably. You might not take it as a CPU problem all the time but it can be a CPU problem.

Indeed, it can also be a GPU or RAM problem. And most of the time this type of problem occurs because of overheating. So, you mustn’t ignore it for a long time. Before the CPU is entirely dead you should check it up.

BSOD or the blue screen of death

This is a Microsoft operating system error. When the operating system cannot function properly on a computer this problem occurs. This is caused most of the time by some hardware malfunction. And it can be a CPU malfunction as well.

If this occurs to your PC, it will show an error code telling you exactly what went wrong. From the manual, you can match the error could to the cause. And see if it is because of a dead CPU or not.

The beeping sounds

When some hardware malfunction happens in your PC, it has a hard time turning on. It tries its best and if it still fails then the system compels the motherboard to make a beep sound. So, while you are trying to turn on your PC, you might hear some unusual beeping sounds. 

You should pay attention to the beeps carefully because that is what the problem is. If you hear 5 beeps the computer is telling you its CPU is not working.

The breaks and the burns

If your CPU has been overheating for enough periods these problems will occur. You will be able to detect a burning smell that is a result of a short circuit. Another sign of a damaged CPU is broken pins. And sometimes you might as well notice some burns on the circuit indicating a completely dead CPU.

How to tell whether your CPU is dead? 

How to tell whether your CPU is dead?

So, we have discussed the symptoms that a computer with a dead or almost dead CPU can show. But there is a good chance that you will still be uncertain if the CPU is actually dead. So, here we will mention some of the ways you can make sure of that.

Way-1: The sounds from your computer

When any of the Hardware of your computer fails, the computer will try to tell you something is wrong. And a common way to notify you is by making sounds. The computer will make a specific noise for a dead CPU. You need to pay attention to the sound to make sure it is the CPU that has failed.

Way-2: Disconnect the parts

For this experiment disconnect everything from the motherboard. You shouldn’t disconnect the CPU, PSU, power switch, heatsink, and case speaker. Now, turn on the computer and wait to hear some long beeps. If you hear beeps then these connected parts are all fine. But if not then one of them is dead and it can be the CPU if other parts are fine.

Way-3: Another computer

Well, this is a simple trick. To check if actually, the CPU is dead, you just need to connect it to another computer. Just make sure this other computer is fully functioning and is compatible with your CPU. And if the CPU works with this other computer, then it is fine. But if not then it is dead.

What to do if your CPU is dead? 

Now, if you suspect your CPU to be dead, these are the last few steps you should take before changing or repairing the CPU. 

  • First, switch off your computer and then switch it on again. Now, pay very careful attention to what kind of sound the computer makes. Count the number of beeps it makes and the type of the beep.
  • Now if you have any kind of manual available then search it up for the matching problem with the beeps. 
  • If not, then contact the motherboard support company and let them confirm the problem. 
  • If the previous attempt doesn’t settle the case for you then disconnect the power cord of your computer. And then disconnect the heatsink and the CPU. 
  • Now check these components for any burn or damage. If there is any burn mark then rest assured the CPU is dead.
  • But if you cannot determine it properly then check if other parts have been damaged or not in this same manner. It will confirm the death of your CPU.
  • At this point check all the connections inside the computer properly and make sure they are just fine. 
  • Now, connect the CPU, heatsink back to their places, and switch on the computer.
  • If the computer fails to turn on your CPU is no longer working. It is dead and has to be repaired or replaced. 

You can also watch this video, it will help you a better understanding:


The discussion above should answer your question, how to tell if my CPU is dead clearly. To conclude the discussion, we would like to remind you again that the CPU is the brain of your computer. So, keep it in check for any kind of damages or overheating issues. 

You should take all the preventive measures to protect your CPU from getting heavily damaged. All the symptoms we mentioned, be aware of those. If any of them is found, then follow the instructions to make sure that actually, the CPU is dead. And if it really is dead, take further action. 

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Gary Scott

Hi There, I am Gary Scott, a Computer Engineer, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow Computer community and pc enthusiast. I am a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). I have been writing for Motherboard, CPU, GPU, RAM, Power Supply, Intel/AMD comparisons, CPU/GPU benchmarking, Gaming performance, Xbox, Play Station, and How to build your own PC. I will be regularly updating this website with new resources, If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

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