When removing processors, you may occasionally find that it has become fused or stuck to the heat sink (that is, the processor pulls out of the socket while the socket’s lever is locked). Reasonable force may not be enough to remove it and, at this point, it is difficult to remove without causing damage to the processor.
Using the Floss Method
1. Refrain from prying the processor off or using any metal objects on it. The processor should easily come off the heat sink. Using a razor blade or prying tool, or placing force on it, may damage the processor.
2. Twist the processor gently. Be careful and try not to bend the pins. Do not apply too much force.
3. Soak the processor and heat sink in isopropyl alcohol (at least 91%) for five minutes. This option will not damage the processor.
4. Use a long string of dental floss.Gently floss the area between the processor and the heat sink, starting at any corner where the floss is able to penetrate.
- If the floss is flat, hold it flat against the heatsink and slowly work it down between the CPU and heatsink. Having the heatsink facing you will give you the best leverage.
5. Work the floss down. As you go along the processor, go back and forth while gently applying force in the direction away from the corner where you started. It may be difficult at times, but it will go through.
Using the Heat Gun Method
1. Set the heat gun on medium. Heat each flat side of the CPU for 10 seconds and keep nozzle of heat gun about one inch away from the metal surface. Make sure that the heat is not hitting the CPU itself, as it may damage the transistors.
2. Firmly hold the heatsink and gently turn the CPU back and forth.
- If the CPU does not turn, apply more heat to the heatsink. The warmth of the heat sink will soften the thermal paste.
Soak the dental floss in alcohol. Make sure you have a long enough piece of dental floss to wrap around each hand a couple times while still allowing some space in the middle. Work the floss from one of the corners of the processor and heat sink. Once you get the floss inside one of the corners, grip the heat sink with your feet on the floor with the processor facing up. Gently go back and forth with the dental floss. After working your way to the opposite end of the corner, the processor will pop off. If alcohol doesn’t work, try using thermal compound remover.
To check if the liquid you want to use is suitable, rub a sample of it on glass. If no marks remain after the sample dries, it is suitable.
Depending on the quality of the thermal paste, the CPU may be fused to the heatsink. If it is, then once the paste reaches a certain temperature, its molecular structure is slightly altered, making it act like a glue. In other words, if your heatsink is cold, your CPU is stuck. Just be careful not to apply heat directly to the CPU and this method should work. While the alcohol method is effective, it can damage your CPU or motherboard when plugging it back in because some water may remain on the CPU.
If the processor is in a computer that works, leave the computer on for 15-20 minutes to warm it up. This is a safer alternative than using a heat gun.
Denatured alcohol may be used instead of isopropyl alcohol. If using 70% alcohol, do so at your own risk.
Avoid damaging the heatsink, unless you do not intend to use it again.
Do not try to pry the processor off. Not only can you cause damage to the processor, you may also scratch the heatsink surface or the top of the processor, creating air gaps and trapping heat.