PC Gear Lab

How to Remove Processor from a Motherboard? – 5 Steps

Whether you’re doing upgrades or some maintenance on a computer, once in a while you find yourself needing to remove the processor from the motherboard. Here you’ll see just how to remove processor from a motherboard.

This can seem a little terrifying, especially for people who have hardly any experience with opening up a computer, let alone removing some of its components. Removing it involves opening up your PC, removing the cooling system to expose the processor, and ejecting it.

As simple as that may sound, there’s a lot of planning that goes into doing this, not to mention the risk involved. You could end up inadvertently breaking your computer if you do the wrong thing when removing the processor.

The usual deal is that this process requires time, and a good deal of know-how to do correctly and minimize the risks involved.

What You’ll Need

First, you’ll need basic tools like a screwdriver and maybe a pry tool just in case some latches hold the case together.

You will also need an antistatic wrist strap. Your body does carry some static that is harmful to sensitive electrical components. The wrist strap helps dissipate the static by “earthing”, thus reducing the chances of electrostatic damage.

If you don’t have this you can continue but ensure you constantly touch a metal surface like the computer’s case.

You can do this on your desk and if you have an antistatic mat even better. You’ll also need a small container to keep the screws in so you don’t lose them in the process.

Also Read: How to Update Motherboard Drives?

How to Remove Processor from a Motherboard?

This multi-step process will need you to exercise due diligence so that you don’t incur any damages or risk electrical shocks while working on the computer. So being prepared is one thing, but also make sure the workspace is clear and well-lit for a better experience.

1. Power off The Device

Whenever you need to disassemble any electrical equipment, the first step is usually to power it off.

If it’s still on when you get to work on it then the chances of rendering damage are greatly increased. Furthermore, switching it off also keeps you safe from harm.

2. Disconnect from Power Outlets


Once the computer is off, proceed to unplug it from external power supplies. This ensures there’s no current running inside it when you get to work.

After the computer is now off and has been unplugged, the real work begins. First, you’ll need to put on your antistatic wrist strap and clip or fasten the other end on an electrical ground terminal or the metal case of the computer.

If you don’t have this, you can alternatively touch the computer’s metal case and proceed with the disassembly.

Also Read: How to Reset Motherboard

3. Open the Case

The case is held together by some screws and some clips. This keeps everything inside. Luckily, many cases do have a removable side panel.

If this is the case with yours then all you’ll need to unlatch the case and open it up to expose the inner components of the computer.

If your case doesn’t have this then you may need to unscrew some pieces off it that will let you access the internals.

This is probably a good time to unplug the motherboard and remove it from the case for a better workflow.

4. Locate the Processor

CPU socket and processor on the motherboard
CPU socket and processor on the motherboard. Focus on the motherboard

For some people new to this, the inner workings and internals of a computer can seem a little too complex.

Worry not though, locating the processor on the motherboard is very easy. The processor will have a cooling system installed. So, what you should be looking for is a large heatsink with a fan for an air-cooled system.

If the computer is liquid-cooled, look for where all the pipes are going and that is where the processor will be.

Once you identify its location, you will notice that unlike many other components like RAM or GPU, the processor is hidden under the cooling system and it can’t be removed with the fan and heatsink or water-cooling block still attached. Then clearly, this will have to go.

Also Read: Powerline Adapter vs WiFi

5. Remove the CPU Cooler

The next step is to remove the cooler. This is usually held in place on the motherboard with some screws or clips or a combination of both as is more common.

You’ll need to unscrew it and undo the clips that hold it in place. Next, you’ll need to firmly but gently raise the cooler from the motherboard. You can wiggle it a bit but do not force it. If it doesn’t come off straight away then check to see if you’ve missed a screw or a clip.

Once you remove this piece you can set it aside and what remains will be the processor. Its top surface will have some thermal paste that you can clean off with some rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab.

6. Detach the Processor

How to Remove Processor from a Motherboard

Once done, you can proceed to remove the processor from its socket. It usually has a locking mechanism keeping it in place and you will have to undo it.

With the popular latch, you’ll push it down and it will unclasp and spring upwards. This will let you lift off the metal plate holding the processor down and you can then proceed to lift the processor off the board itself.

If done correctly, you should not face any issues.


Removing the processor can be a little challenging especially for those doing it for the first time; and rightly so because this process can be detrimental if you’re not keen on the computer and with the task at hand.

Nevertheless, we have seen how to remove processor from a motherboard in a safe way that introduces little risk to the computer itself.

By keeping the workspace clean and static-free, you can take the computer apart and if you needed to do an upgrade then just do this process in reverse and do not forget to apply the thermal paste.

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We are team of two engineers with a keen interest and a passion for PC builds and hardware.

PCGearLab.com is essentially the culmination of our enthusiasm towards this subject. We review PC peripherals and hardware, talk about custom builds and informative topics regarding troubleshooting issues, understanding a component better and general tips for DIY PC builders.

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