How to know if a processor is failing and how to fix it

The processor or generally called the Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of your computer system. One can easily asses that the CPU almost never fails but when it does a common user can hardly do something about it. In case your CPU has gone down we are not here to tell you how you can revamp the dead CPU, we will just tell you how to avoid and watch for the signs of a failing processor.

It is obvious hackneyed computer CPU’s start losing their vigor and energized performance that they once used to have. Overheat often due to poor power flow and sometimes fail altogether. To determine if it is the CPU that is causing problems with your system performance is a very difficult thing to determine unless the CPU is dead already. For the problem to show its perpetrator you’ll have to eliminate all the other plausible options from the long list of components inside the computer system.

The process of finding out a failing processor can be strenuous and long. I hope this guide will be of help to you in recognizing the real culprit and knowing if the CPU is the real culprit of all the problems that you are facing.

Signs of a failing processor

The processor is in effect the single most important component that makes the machine a computer. Whereas, if the system starts acting irregularly and affecting systems performance output, for instance, constant freezing, the dreaded Blue Screen on Windows, out of all the possible failing component one potential candidate is the processor breakdown. To do away with all the other false positive alarms we’d need to look into a few symptoms to check before making an assessment.

Booting Issues

When you try to power up your computer system you get nothing. The POST test is not passed as you don’t hear any beeps at all. This kind of situation is indicative of including other possibilities a processor failure. You can further troubleshoot if the processor is the main culprit of system failure, you can open up your system case and look for LEDs. When you turn on your system if these LEDs light up and still the machine doesn’t pass the POST test, this probably means the issue is with your processor.

Abrupt Shutdown

This failing scenario is certainly related to processor failure. The processor has dedicated temperature sensors on the motherboard, that will automatically shut down the system when the temperature exceeds the given temperature threshold. This allows the motherboard to prevent the processor to undergo severe damage from the high temperature. This also acts as the easiest diagnostic tool to face the problem without having to replace the components. To do that first remove the heat sink off the processor, wipe off the old thermal compound layer. Now on that same place apply a new layer of thermal compound, place the heat sink over again and give it a try, to see if things work out.

Random Freezing

Signaling the failing of processor is another perplexing issue of random freezes for no visible reason whatsoever. As you log in to your Windows freezes and doesn’t respond to any keyboard or peripheral actions until you restart it again. Though there are other possibilities causing this problem one of them is the CPU and you’d need to isolate all the other possible problems to find the actual cause of this erratic freezing.  

Blue Screen – System Abort

Commonly known as a ‘Windows Stop Error’, this terrifying blue screen of death signifies some software or hardware crash. The Blue Screen of Death is caused by General Protection Faults, which in itself is indicative of a failing processor. It might not be always the case of a failing processor when you get the blue screen of death on your system. Very often it may be due to a failure of a hardware component or a driver error. Though when you do face the blue screen of death situation, you can take note of the error message and particularly the error code that looks something like this (0x00000x00000x000000x0000000). Now you can go to Google and search for the code to look if it is the motherboard that is failing or some other component breakdown.

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Reasons for CPU going bad

Overheating

Overheating is another major cause of CPU failure, it can conceivably melt or even give a charred outlook to CPU. Overheating can permanently damage the processor and can often happen above 80 degrees Fahrenheit room temperature. That per se if the cooling system of the computer is pretty ineffective. There is a lot of software’s available on the internet that can help you monitor your CPU and all the other component temperature and keep it under the threshold.

Overclocking

Overclocking can logjam and instigate processor issues. Overclocking should be implemented in a secure and appropriate way otherwise it can potentially damage the CPU or eventually overheat other components. Though, in most cases when you return to normal clock speed all the issues will go away.

Electrical surges

A large number of problems can arise ranging from processor failure to almost all parts of the motherboard with power surges or falls. In case the power weirdly surges up and down like brownout, blackout or any sort of peculiar behavior. Any of these can certainly fry out your power sensitive components. In the worst case, the motherboard or the processor is likely to die out while in best scenario only the power supply unit (PSU) gets affected.

Age

Processors overall can outlast longer than other components of the computer system. Though you can still anticipate an old CPU giving in at any time. In case your system is older like maybe more than 5 years old, the CPU can probably die without any prior warnings. The fan as it reaches its limits dies first and most often is the indication of a dying CPU. The millions of CPU transistors perform together and if any one of them goes bad and stops working the CPU starts malfunctioning. In this scenario, you are only left with the option of replacing the CPU and nothing else.

Harmful Motherboard

The CPU is one of the many intricately connected components on the motherboard. Even in case one of those many components goes bad like a single leaking or damaged capacitor, it can potentially be the source of another component’s failure. For this to be detected you need to visually check the hardware on the motherboard and single out any bulging or damaged capacitor. It’s likely the bad capacitor in case you find one during checking which is causing the CPU breakdown.

Troubleshoot CPU

Hardware check

Damaged or wobbly components

There are a lot of components in the computer seated one beside another, and they are likely to lose grip after some time and use. Ground yourself to avoid electrifying the system and resultantly more damage. The static electric discharge (SED) can potentially be disastrous for your delicate internal circuitry. Then you can examine that the CPU aka processor is accurately fitted on the motherboard. With all the many intricate parts of the computer system, the possibility of muddled up components and unclean fitting can cause problems in the long run.

Device Manager

Device manager is the spot if you want to diagnose any kind of malfunction with your system. It reports issues with many colorful signs warning you for software or physical issues. In the Device Manager, you can arrange the properties and look for any kind of signs attached to each and every component, with signs to show if there’s any kind of problem with that component.

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Overheating components

This problem is more prominent in laptop systems that are designed to be sleek with a compact case. This slim design leads to compacting all the components together leaving little space for ventilation and for the cooling of extra heated internals. The concept of overclocking also transfuses the heat further by setting the computer to operate at higher than normal processing speed. This way the components are susceptible to more heat and its dangerous effects on the components. For reducing the problem you’ll need a better cooling system or a powerful heat sink. And do not forget to utilize temperature monitoring and fan speed tools to get updated with the performance and probable problems.

Software Check

Update drivers

One of the many causes of system crashes can be outdated software or drivers. In case you have installed a new component or there is an update available to already installed component drivers. This can cause problems and random application or Windows crashes. You should set your computer to receive updates automatically. In most cases, once the updates are turned on the glitches are gone forever as the system gets all the patches and runs smoothly.

To set automatic updates in Windows 10 follow the steps.

Step 1: Go to Start menu then go to Settings in the settings window go to Update & Security and Windows Update.

Step 2: Under the Check for updates option you’ll find Advanced options click on that.

Step 3: In the Advanced options window choose Automatic (recommended) from the drop-down list under the title Choose how updates are installed.

POST test

The Power on self-test is a very interesting series of diagnostic tests run by the BIOS

(Basic Input Output System) to determine all the essential hardware components of the computer are performing perfectly without any problems. This testing will show a text if any hardware malfunction is detected while booting. That can serve for you to determine the exact problem with your system.

Operating System error

As with all the software system Windows is always updated and errors fixed. Though before the error is fixed you might see some glitches in the working of the operating system or abrupt shutdowns. You can face many errors like the OS can’t access the drive disk, the disk space is running out, or the Windows update is not working and many more. The easiest solution to all these problems can be to instantly manually update your system or reinstall the system. As some time during installation, some of the files might get corrupt or the compact disk you are trying to install Windows from is corrupt. Here first you’ll need to detect the specific problem you are facing within Windows environment and look for its solution.

New software

In case you suddenly are facing issues on your system after installing new software. You need to troubleshoot the order to know if the culprit is the newly installed software program or not. To do that follow the steps.

Step 1: Open Control Panel then System & Security from there go to Action Center and Troubleshoot.

This will likely tell you the problem Windows operating system is facing. If it is due to the newly installed software this will show the culprit. Although if you are certain the problems arose after the installation of the software and is causing the system to overclock CPU. You need to remove the software and to do that.

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Step 2: Go to Control Panel and search for Programs in there click Uninstall and select the specific program you want to go.

CPU noise

The computer if making extra sound or stressing sound while working means the computer is overworking. The CPU fans run constantly at full speed although your surrounding temperature is just the same. The system is straining and overloading your CPU, in this scenario you’ll need to consult a technician. Use the monitoring tools to keep an eye on the temperature of CPU and fan speed. Keep your computer in an airy and open environment for proper ventilation.

Virus

Often the virus is putting stress on your CPU and overclocking its performance. In this case, you need a good antivirus software program to detect and destroy the virus from the system. Keep it up to date with regular virus database updates. Allow the antivirus program to run in the background automatically and regularly.

How to avert CPU breakdown

Though the computer CPU’s are made for longer reliability, you have to ensure its protracted lifespan and fullest capacity. Here are some of the things you need to take care to prevent your CPU from early failure and increase durability.

Monitor heat levels

Overheating is more often than not the most common cause of CPU failing. High-end motherboards offer monitoring tools within BIOS for CPU temperature and fan speed. You can use them easily as they are user-friendly and can even have the ability to use the mouse within the BIOS menu. There are also third party software available on the internet like iStatMenu and Fanny for MacBook users and HWMonitor, etc. for Windows users. You can find the baseline or normal temperature for your system in your computer manual or note the CPU temperature when idle state. Consequently, you can put some load on your processor and see the temperature. You can also configure the monitoring program to issue an alert when a certain temperature value is reached.

Top quality coolants

The stock coolants are somewhat enough for normal usage but if one can afford top quality third party coolants, it would be an added bonus. The third-party coolers are more proficient and efficient but also louder. Which can be a downside for some users. Ensure to clean the processor outward properly beforehand applying the thermal compound.

Thermally advantaged chassis (TAC)

If you are using the desktop computer than exploring the modern and more advanced heat fending case that is specifically designed to keep heat away from internal components. Compared to standard case it is pretty expensive but if you have the resources it is a very efficient technique to reduce heat inside.

Proper cleaning

One cannot accentuate on this as it is obvious. Still, clean the internals on regular intervals properly to ward off the perpetual damage caused by the dust inside the case. Dust can cause the air vents to clog and resultantly reducing the airflow for cooling the processor.

Computer location

The environment of your computer is of very importance to the computers performance and long life. If it is placed in a damp or hot environment it can cause problems for you in the long run. A dry, cool and airy space is the best location for a system. Though if it was up to computers they would like a cold place so a climate controlled or air-conditioned room would be a better option for them.

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How to know if a processor is failing and how to fix it

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