How to Change Computer Processors

by Eric Brown

Changing the processor on your computer can be a tricky thing if you aren't sure what you are doing. Many people are so afraid to touch the inside of their computer, they'll buy a new one before ever attempting to replace anything. These are a step-by-step instructions that can help save you money the next time your processor needs replacing.

Changing the Processor on Your Computer

The first thing to do when changing your processor is to ensure that the new one you are purchasing is compatible with your motherboard. Processors come in a variety of pin configurations, core configurations, and sizes. Check with your manufacturer to find out the specs on your current processor. If you are unsure, you can also check online, once you have removed it.

Desktop and Laptop Heatsinks

Ensure that the computer is unplugged. Open the case and locate the heatsink. For laptops, you will have to unscrew the case. This varies based on manufacturer and they should be contacted if you are unsure how to open your case. The heatsink sits on top of the processor and will usually have a series of metal fins sticking off of it. Depending on the brand, it may also have a fan on top. Laptops will have a small heatsink with a fan located at the main vents. Once you have located the heatsink, remove it gently. Be sure not to unseat the processor while doing this, as processors that have gotten hot can sometimes stick. Again, removal will differ depending on the manufacturer. Some unscrew, some are held with small arms that lock into place, and others have a case that holds them. Double check with the manufacturer if you are unsure.

Desktop Processor and Housing

Directly under the heatsink is the processor. Look at the images to aid in identifying yours. You will need to unlock the processor using the small arm on the side of the housing. Push it down and away from the housing. Gently remove the processor.

Have your new processor ready and insert it into the housing. Check the pin configurations in the corners of the housing and the processor to line them up right. Take care not to bend the pins as you will most certainly not be able to fix this. Lock it into place using the arm.

Cover the back of the processor with thermal grease (it should come with your processor in a small tube - it is grey. Replace the heatsink and lock it into place. Close the case and plug in the computer.


  • check If you hear unusual beeps when you turn on your computer, you have done something wrong and need to double check your steps. If your computer does not run properly after changing your processor, check your specs and ensure that your processor and motherboard are compatible and update any necessary chipset drivers. If you still have problems, have your motherboard checked by a professional.


  • close Make sure to ground yourself by touching metal before handling the inside of the computer case to avoid damage to components from static electricity.

Items you will need

About the Author

Eric Brown has been writing for over 5 years. He has written for such sites as,,, and many others. Owner of EB Arts Creative Industries, Eric works full time from home. He has been with Demand Studios awhile now and writes primarily on computer related topics for

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