How to Remove CPU Stuck to Cooler/Motherboard/Heatsink (STEPS)

Why is my CPU cooler stuck?

Your CPU cooler may be stuck because of poor quality thermal paste and extremely low temperature of the cooler.

The thermal paste helps to eliminate the air gaps and promotes more efficient dissipation of heat from the computer and heat absorption by the cooler.

  • Poor quality of the thermal paste
  • Very low temperature of the heatsink


Poor quality of the thermal paste

If a bad quality thermal paste is applied to the cooler, there would be poor dissipation and absorption of heat. As a result, the thermal paste would start acting like glue and lead to the CPU cooler getting stuck.


Low temperature of the heatsink

When the temperature of the heatsink falls much below the desired temperature, the CPU cooler may get stuck because of the alteration of its molecular structure.


How do I remove a stuck CPU?

You can remove a stuck CPU by removing the clips and screws on its side and prying it loose by twisting it gently.

  • Turn the computer ON and let it run for some time like half an hour or so.
  • Turn the computer OFF and unplug the main power supply.
  • Remove the screws and release the clips that hold the CPU in place onto the heatsink.
  • Twist the CPU very gently and slowly.
  • When it becomes loose, pull it towards yourself.
  • If the CPU cooler is stuck too much and doesn’t twist, put string floss between the CPU and the cooler to release the CPU.


How to remove a CPU that is stuck to the cooler?

You can remove a CPU that is stuck to the cooler by using floss and isopropyl alcohol to pry it off from the cooler.

Follow the steps given below to remove a CPU that is stuck to the cooler. Do not use sharp metallic objects like knives or razor blades. You must also not apply too much force to remove them.


  1. Try twisting the CPU and removing it after unclipping it or removing the screws holding it in place.
  2. If the CPU doesn’t come out easily, soak the CPU and the cooler in isopropyl alcohol of at least 91% concentration for five minutes. This won’t damage the processor. If you don’t have isopropyl alcohol and are thinking of using some other liquid, you must check by applying it on a glass surface. If no marks are left on the glass after the liquid dries off completely, it is good to go for the CPU and cooler as well.
  3. Take a long dental floss string and put it in any corner of the junction between the CPU and the heatsink.
  4. Gently work your way towards the other corner of the junction. It may be difficult to penetrate sometimes, but with repeated flossing, you can easily remove the CPU stuck to the cooler.


Removing a stuck CPU


How to remove a CPU that is stuck to the motherboard?

You can remove a CPU stuck to the motherboard by inserting flat tools under the CPU and lifting it from the motherboard.


You can follow the steps given below to remove a CPU stuck to the motherboard.

  1. Remove the screws and clips holding the cooler in place. Remove the CPU cooler by lifting it from the case.
  2. Wipe off the decomposed thermal paste present on the surface of the CPU.
  3. Remove the safety levers holding the CPU in place. To remove the CPU that is stuck to the motherboard, you will need two flathead screwdrivers or flat plastic cards with enough strength to push the CPU out without breaking off.
  4. Insert a flathead screwdriver or flat plastic card under the CPU on both sides and try pushing it out. Be gentle and slow while doing this step as rough handling may damage the CPU or motherboard.


How to remove a CPU that is stuck to the heatsink?

You can remove a CPU that is stuck to the heatsink by using a heat gun.

To do this, follow the detailed steps given below.

  1. Set the heat gun on medium heat and start heating each side of the CPU for ten seconds. Keep the gun at least one inch away from the CPU surface. The heat must not hit the CPU directly as it may damage the transistors of the CPU.
  2. Hold the heatsink very firmly in your hands and very slowly turn the CPU backward and forward.
  3. If the CPU still doesn’t pry off from the heatsink, heat it a little more to melt the thermal paste and loosen the CPU from its place on the heatsink.
  4. If you have a running computer, you may turn ON your computer and let it run for half an hour to heat the thermal paste instead of using a heat gun to do the job.


How to remove the thermal paste from the CPU socket?

You can remove the thermal paste from the CPU socket by using some simple stuff like fine toothpicks, thermal paste cleaner, surface purifier, cotton buds, lint-free cloths and magnifying glass.


To remove the thermal paste from the CPU socket, follow the steps given below.

  1. Open the CPU casing and remove all the components attached to the motherboard including wires and power cables to free enough space for efficient working. It’s important to make sure that you don’t damage any of the components accidentally with your elbow or hands.
  2. Assess your CPU sockets to see which type they belong to. There are mainly two types of sockets. One is a PGA socket that has holes to insert the pins, and the second is an LGA socket that has pins to seat the CPU.
  3. If you have an LGA socket, the pins on the socket will be bent at an angle of 45 degrees. So you will have to clean the socket in the direction of the bends instead of the opposite direction. To find out the direction, use a magnifying glass to look at the direction of the bends closely. Start cleaning from the base of the pins while moving towards the tip.
  4. If you have a PGA socket, apply a thermal paste cleaner to the area where the thermal paste has been applied. Make sure to fill all gaps and holes in the socket of the CPU. Leave it for five minutes. This allows the cleaner to bind with the thermal paste and clean it off the CPU surface. After the five minutes time period, start cleaning the pins very slowly and gently. You can use fine toothpicks to clean the thermal paste from the holes. Don’t clean in the opposite direction of the pin bends.
  5. Mop the remaining cleaning liquid away from the surface of the sockets, holes and pins very gently.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to clean LGA and PGA sockets respectively. This will ensure that all the thermal paste is finally removed from the CPU socket and doesn’t cause any problems. Please note that the thermal paste is totally harmless for your computer and so you should only clean as much thermal paste as is needed to establish a good connection.


How to remove an AMD CPU from the socket?

You can remove an AMD CPU from the socket by heating the PC and removing the CPU from the socket.

To do this, follow the steps given below.

  1. Turn your computer ON and play a game for ten minutes to heat the thermal paste on your CPU cooler.
  2. Turn OFF your PC and remove the power supply.
  3. Open the CPU casing and rotate the cooler a few times and lift it. The CPU will be exposed now.
  4. Remove the clips and brackets holding the CPU in place.
  5. Shake the CPU gently to loosen its position on the socket.
  6. Once the CPU becomes completely loose, remove the CPU by lifting it upward from the socket.

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