How Can I Tell if My CPU Is Bad

The CPU is the heart of every computer system since it does all of the heavy lifting when it comes to computations and processes. As a result, when your CPU is damaged or not functioning properly, it might be difficult, if not impossible, to perform any action on your computer. Detecting a malfunctioning CPU may take just a few seconds in certain instances. However, diagnosing a defective CPU might take a long time and might require the use of extra hardware and software resources in certain cases.

Eliminating Other Possibilities

CPUs that completely fail are uncommon. As a result, you should rule out other probable hardware faults before attempting to identify whether your system’s CPU is broken. Disconnect all hard disks, optical drives, and other hardware cords inside the chassis if the computer won’t boot or power on at all. Remove any add-on cards placed into the motherboard, such as NIC cards or controller cards. Try turning on the computer with just the power supply and video connection plugged in.

If the computer starts up, reconnect or replace the remaining hardware components one at a time until the system crashes. Remove or detach the device if the system fails to start and try again. If the computer won’t start with only the power supply and monitor attached, try a different power supply and video card with the motherboard. Finally, if everything else fails, try putting the CPU on a different motherboard and seeing whether it starts up. The trial-and-error technique takes a long time, but it is typically the most reliable way to locate the hardware issue.

The Keyboard Test

Even if your monitor does not show a picture when you try to load your computer, the keyboard may be able to inform you whether your motherboard and CPU are at least capable of passing the basic POST test. If the monitor does not show the first POST screen or business logo after trying to launch the computer, shut it down and restart it.

Look at the three LED lights above the number pad on the keyboard as soon as you push the power button. If the “NumLock,” “Scroll Lock,” and “Caps Lock” LEDs all flash momentarily, the motherboard and CPU are probably receiving power and functioning properly. Reinstall the video card and memory modules, then attempt to restart the machine.

Problems with Heat

Heat is one of the most typical issues with CPUs. While a CPU may operate without issue for many years, the fan that cools the chip typically does not. A CPU cooling fan may survive a few years if it is cleaned regularly to eliminate dirt, dust, and grime. However, if the fan becomes too dusty, the blades may not spin quickly enough, or the cooling device may stop working entirely.

Check the CPU fan if your computer starts fine but then freezes or shuts down after a few minutes. Before restarting the computer, clean or replace the CPU fan if required. Before attempting to reboot the computer, turn it off for a couple of hours to ensure that the CPU has totally cooled down. Alternatively, you may take the CPU from the motherboard, put it in an anti-static bag, and freeze it for about an hour. The cold air in the freezer will have no effect on the processor as long as no moisture can get to it.

Faults in General Protection

BSODs (Blue Screens of Death) are caused by a variety of hardware issues and invariably result in system lockups or shutdowns. GPFs, or General Protection Faults, are the most prevalent cause of BSODs. A GPF signifies that the processor has failed in some manner, according to its specification. In most circumstances, however, the failure is due to the CPU’s inability to accept data from the bus or another hardware component, rather than the processor itself. Nonetheless, if “Stack Overflow” or “Divide by Zero” alerts appear on GPF or BSOD displays, the CPU is most likely defective, excessively hot, or overclocked too much in the BIOS.

If you overclock your processor, go into the BIOS and lower the bus speed and multiplier for the CPU to see if that’s what’s causing your system to freeze or BSOD. If you don’t overclock your CPU, disable the processor’s external cache in the BIOS. If deactivating the cache fixes the issue, reboot the computer a few times and then activate the cache again. If the issue persists, look for bulged or ruptured capacitors on the motherboard.

Software Evaluation

When you overclock your CPU, it may seem to function normally most of the time. Other times, the system may crash seemingly at random and for no apparent reason. In most circumstances, resetting the BIOS processor settings to their defaults will reveal whether or not this is the issue. Software tests may be able to assist you in locating the problem if you know the CPU is operating at a reasonable clock speed, the cooling fan is working properly, and you don’t suspect any other motherboard or power-related issues.

The programs include a variety of CPU-specific tests as well as burn-in tests that mimic high use for lengthy periods of time. Stress testing should reveal faults rapidly if there is an issue with the CPU. However, you may need to burn in the system for 24 hours or longer to be certain that the CPU is working correctly and consistently.


When your computer is acting up, it can be difficult to determine whether the issue is with the software or the hardware. One of the most commonly asked questions is whether or not the CPU is bad. Your computer’s CPU is a critical part that affects the performance of your entire system. If your CPU is showing signs of degradation or you’re experiencing unexplained crashes, it may be time to upgrade.

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