How to Tell if CPU Is Dead? Get All the Details!

Being an enthusiast laptop savvy, Evan Charles shares his wisdom on LaptopEcho to help others pick the right machine. He loves guiding people to get...

The CPU is the foremost important part of a computer. It carries out all computer program instructions by performing the basic arithmetic, logical, control, and input/output (I/O) operations specified by the instructions. If something goes wrong with it, you’re looking at a dead PC that does nothing but occupies the space.

However, a non-functioning PC (that might not even boot up) doesn’t always mean the CPU is dead too. So, how to tell if CPU is dead or something else is wrong with the PC?

If your pc is freezing, showing a blue screen of death (BSOD), will not boot, give beep codes, or will not turn on at all, it is a sign that your CPU is dead.

You might not understand this better if you are new to computer languages, but this post will help you a lot. Let’s get through all the possible issues and scenarios that you might end up with a dead CPU.

How to Tell if CPU is Dead?

Here is how to find out if your CPU or fan is dead or just not working properly. It can be frustrating when you shut down your computer, only for the fan to continue running for a long time after. In this case, it would be the CPU that is not functioning correctly.

How to Tell if CPU Is Dead

However, there are more ways you can tell that your CPU is dead or having trouble working, and the followings below are possible ways to find out.

Here are the symptoms of a dead CPU you should know:

Beep Codes

Beep codes can help you identify an issue related to the CPU, even if it’s dead. In addition, they work as an alarm to alert your attention regarding the malfunctioning of your computer. You should know it is coming from the motherboard whenever you hear the beep codes. It is a form of communication called a “beep code” or beep pattern.

Beep codes

The codes tell you that the computer encountered a problem it couldn’t recover from, so it was shut down. But, most likely, the beep code tells you that something is wrong with the CPU. Oftentimes, the issues occur because of a malfunctioned connection on the motherboard which is why you should consider your investment in a good motherboard before you spend a dime.

Computer Reboot Issue

If your computer is not booting, there are many possible reasons for it, and the main one is a dead CPU. All you need to do is get the PC to your engineer for inspection or revert to your PC manual to check all other reasons your computer might refuse to power on or reboot.

The screen below is often referred to as the BSOD (blue screen of death) which is not always as dreadful as it sounds. It can also happen because of a faulty connection, a faulty RAM, or even malfunctioning OS. Sometimes, a reset of the factory settings is all it needs to be sorted in such a case.

Computer reboot issue

Blue Screen

Blue screen the death can be very problematic and may show up at the worst possible times. If you have blue screened the death, this could mean your CPU is overheating or dead. If this is happening, it may be time for a new processor. You may also see this error if your RAM runs at an incorrect voltage or frequency.

Blue screen

Computer Not Starting

Most laptops have an indicator light on the back to let you know if it is on and has power. If this light is not blinking and the memory modules are not loose, the CPU may be bad. Also, if the hard drive fails to spin up, there is probably a problem with the power supply unit of your PC.

Laptop Freezing

Laptop Freezing is a common sign of temperature-related CPU issues. For example, if your laptop freezes at a loading bar every time you boot it, then there is a good chance that your CPU might be failing or probably dead.

What Are the Signs of a Dead CPU?

  1. The symptoms of a dead CPU are always happening so fast that most people hardly figure them out on time. So here is what you need to check if you suspect a dead CPU.
  2. Laptop freezing or turning off automatically during heavy workload.
  3. You might experience an issue where your laptop gets warm but completely shuts down in an hour or so. This is one of the signs that you have a dead processor or its temperature protection has not been working.
  4. When the processor fan is malfunctioning or fails to stop after shutting down
  5. When you notice or experience a laptop system that suddenly freezes or constantly freeze whenever you are working
  6. When you experience overheating with your PC, if the heatsink is clogged with dust, grime, and dirt, the heatsink will be unable to dissipate heat properly, which often leads to overheating.

How to Determine That It Is Your CPU That Has Died?

A dead central processing unit (CPU) does not necessarily mean that you need to toss your old computer in the trash. If you have a PC with a dead CPU, its CPU can likely be easily replaced. More than just the brains of your computer, CPUs have a direct impact on its operating speed. By learning to discover the symptoms of a dying CPU and replacing the component quickly, you will be able to restore your computer to optimal performance.

How to Determine That It Is Your CPU That Has Died

Here is how to know if CPU is dead:

If Your PC is Freezing Frequently

If every part of your laptop is okay and still it is freezing, then there is a possibility that your CPU might have died or a hardware problem with the CPU, so you need to contact any technician for support and repair. Also, you can read the manual to know how to test if CPU is dead.

It Takes Longer to Start

If Windows takes longer to start, the problem is obviously with your CPU. However, if your computer takes a little longer to start than usual, there could be several reasons. First, check the startup programs, physical memory, and processor for anomalies.

What Are the Common Causes of Dead CPU?

CPUs are susceptible to degradation over time. It can result from many factors, including excessive heat and simple wear and tear. A CPU may begin exhibiting signs of instability as it degrades or fails. But regardless, identifying the causes of such problems is always important. So, below are CPU failure symptoms you need to know.

Old Age

Your CPU is a computer chip that runs programs and processes. They have a life-span, just like any type of technology, but they can last for years if you take good care of them. However, motherboards wear out over time and can contribute to dead CPUs. Therefore, age is important when looking at possible causes of dead CPU.

If your CPU is over five years old, it could be a problem. However, even if you have used it for less than that, other factors can bring about the death of your CPU. For example, if you have never changed the BIOS since bought, it can also initiate such issues. In such a case, reset the bios or change the CMOS battery and get things sorted.

Power Surge

A power surge is an electrical condition that occurs when a dramatic spike in voltage in your power supply. It is one of the most common causes of a dead CPU. The power supply unit has not enough voltage to provide the components with enough energy, which could cause component failure and failure of the CPU.

When this happens, it can damage some components such as the motherboard, hard drive, CD ROM, CD Drive, etc.


The most common cause of CPU failure is due to overheating. The heat from the CPU can build up and damage critical components within it. As a result, it can lead to a failure, leaving your computer unable to start or operate normally.


The excessive heat will cause excessive physical stress to be placed upon the components. While the CPU failure is most commonly attributed to this cause, you can fix it by replacing the fan with a working one. In that case, get the CPU cooler off the board, get an efficient replacement of the current fan, and replace the existing one.

Physical Damage

Another common cause of damaged CPU components is physical damage. For example, excessive force or dropping a laptop could cause irreparable damage that leaves your device unable to operate. If you suspect your CPU is failing, then you should test and check it to have it repaired or replaced if necessary.

Tips to Keep Your CPU Healthy?

If you want your computer in good condition, you need to make sure you keep the Central Processing Unit (CPU) feeling healthy. Here are a few ways to make that happen.

Clean PC Vent Always

Cleaning the PC vents is important for maintaining the temperature of your CPU. A cooling fan can be used to prevent the CPU body from heating up and prevent dust accumulation. A replacement or refill of thermal paste should also be done regularly to ensure good heat transfer and avoid overheating the CPU.

Clean PC Vent always

Protect from Malware

Malware is not just annoying. It can also steal your computer resources and even damage files on your hard drive if it gets out of control. But if you have an anti-malware program running at all times, it is easy to keep malware out of your computer and stop it in its tracks if it makes its way in.

Protect from malware

Therefore, the use of Antivirus software will protect your system from malware, a constant threat to your CPU. Unless you have a secure VPN, avoid doing sensitive work on public Wi-Fi. Signs of a system attack include slow browsing, frequent crashes, and interrupted virus scans.

Keep the Computer in a Clean Environment

It is important to keep your computer in a clean environment. If the air that it sits in is free of dust, dirt, and other particles, then your computer will be able to run properly and smoothly. It is important to keep your computer in a clean, dry environment with lots of free-flow air for optimum performance.

Keep the computer in a clean environment

Your computer is a machine that needs to be taken care of, just like your car. Although keeping your CPU clean does not make it last longer, it will help to keep it running smoothly. If a system is kept in a dusty or dirty environment, the internal components can become clogged and cause problems.

Keep Away from Liquid

To keep your CPU and the overall PC healthy, make sure to keep it away from any kind of liquid. Liquid damages the motherboard and leads to a non-functional CPU. Spills happen, especially if you have your drink very close to you when working on your laptop. Therefore, you should never bring any liquid substance closer to your laptop.

Keep away from liquid.

Avoid Using with Bad Power Socket

No matter how powerful your CPU is, it needs a healthy power source to operate at its best. So do not use a computer with a bad power socket. Therefore, to avoid many problems later on, you need to make sure that your CPU can get the power it needs, which means using a good power socket.

Avoid using with bad power socket.

Take note that power surges can also damage your PC CPU, and the best way to avoid this is through the use of surge protectors. You should get the good ones from the market and always use them whenever you plug in your PC.


The best way to enjoy a good performance from your computer is when all components are working optimally. If one or more are malfunctioning, it is quite sure that you will have difficulty in operating the PC, especially the CPU.

Now you should know the signs and symptoms PC gives for different issues, as I’ve familiarized you with some, especially how to tell if CPU is dead. Do a proper diagnosis to tell if the CPU or other parts of your PC  is bad or not, and that’s when you can take proper remedy for that issue.

Evan Charles

Evan Charles

Being an enthusiast laptop savvy, Evan Charles shares his wisdom on LaptopEcho to help others pick the right machine. He loves guiding people to get the best out of their laptops as he does.

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