How to Know If a Computer Processor Is Dead

The most catastrophic failure that can happen to your computer is probably CPU failure. There is no remedy except a replacement part and, depending on the cause of the failure, you may be replacing some other pieces, too. This guide will walk you through testing your CPU to see if it is indeed dead.

Step

Power on your computer. The first thing it does is run a quick self-diagnosis called POST (Power On Self Test). If your CPU has failed completely, it will not pass POST. You will get a blank screen, and your computer will likely beep at you. If anything at all comes up on your screen, skip to step 3.

Step

Listen for any beeping from the computer. The beeps let you know which component of your computer is failing. The best way to tell if it's your CPU is to simply remove it from the computer and then power on again. If you get the same pattern of beeps, then bad news: Your CPU is toasted.

Step

Download and run CPUMark. If your CPU passes POST, it is working at least in a basic capacity. It is still possible for it to be running at a reduced capacity though, or with some features hobbled or disabled. CPUMark is free CPU benchmarking software that allows you to ompare the results with what you know about your CPU -- is it running at the speed it's supposed to run? What scores did other people get with your same CPU?

Step

Consider other points of failure. If your CPU gets through POST and can run a thorough benchmark program, it has definitely not failed. Other factors can be easily confused with a dead CPU such as RAM failure or overheating.