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CPU stuck to heatsink

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January 13, 2006 6:53:54 PM

I'm switching my P4 to a new motherboard. When I tried to remove the heatsink from the old board, the CPU came out with it. Everything seems fine, and none of the CPU's pins are bent, but I can't get the heatsink off. I used the thermal pad that came with the heatsink, not thermal compound (I'm kicking myself for that now). I tried to wiggle them apart, but there is no movement whatsoever -- it's like they're superglued together. Is there any way to get them apart, or do I have to trash a perfectly good CPU?

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January 13, 2006 7:06:25 PM

I had a buddy who had the same thing happen to his CPU. We simply took a small screw driver and very gently went around all the edges just slowly loosening it from all sides. Eventually I was able to gently pry it apart from the heatsink and everything was "A" ok.
January 13, 2006 7:53:59 PM

Though I've never tried it myself (mostly because I've never had the same problem at home)... I have heard putting the whole works in the freezer for a while will make the TIM brittle and you should be able to pop the processor off with no effort.
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January 13, 2006 8:00:27 PM

Thanks, everyone. I tried a variation on Ided's advice and used a razor blade to pry it off. It worked great. Thanks again!
August 19, 2008 7:52:05 AM

thanks to all the suggestions yall have provided...the one that worked for me immediatly, was to use a small flathead screw driver and apply a little pressure to the corner between the heatsink and cpu top (((...((( the corner is the Key point 4 seperation )))...))) this is when you pull out the heatsink with cpu stuck to it.
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January 8, 2011 12:15:21 PM

The simplest way of removing a heatsink is to turn on the computer and run it for a few minutes to let the CPU heat loosen the heatsink.

If the CPU came out of the socket stuck to the heatsink, I think I'd try a hairdryer.

I think there's too much of a chance to chip the package and possibly damage the CPU by using even a small screwdriver.
September 29, 2011 5:10:25 PM


I used a hairdryer on high and focused on the area where heatsink and processor meet and kept the heat going for about 5 minutes, turning it after a minute or so to get all sides heated up. With a decent tug all on one side, I managed to separate them with no issues.

Caution; there is a high chance you might bend a pin if you aren't careful how you are positioned when pulling the cpu apart from the heatsink.
Also, the heatsink becomes extremely hot, so I had to use a cloth to be able to hold the heatsink. It was an interesting adventure, but it worked.

I would recommend trying what another posted mentioned, and run the pc for 20-30 minutes to let the cpu and heatsink heat up first, then do the pull.
!