How do i remove thermal paste

so i need to remove the dried thermal paste from my CPU and Fan, how do i do this? i dont want to have to buy anything but should i just take a cloth or something and rub it off? or use some kind of liquid?

also then i need steps on how to apply my new thermal paste, how do i spread it?
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More about remove thermal paste
  1. Use a fine cloth or q-tip. If you have a retail boxed cpu, the pad material may be a litttle easier to remove. I use isopropyl alcohol or fingernail polish remover (acetate). When you have the cpu and heatsink surface clean, apply the new thermal paste to the heatsink only. This is much safer than putting it directly on the cpu. Too many folks use too much, and this creates a mess and leaves residue on the pins. You may use a single edge razor blade or old credit card to spread it out on the heatsink, creating a fine layer. Less is better. I have worked at dell manufacturering several times; you may also use an esd strap when handling motherboards, cpu, or ram. It prevents static discharge from your body from damaging components.
  2. Remove it from the top of the cpu with the cpu locked in the socket - minimising the chance of a bent pin or chipped bump.

    I use a plastic knife or plastic scraper if it is the thermal pad material ... which is quite a bit harder than paste.

    If it is paste then a bit of tissue paper will suffice.

    Lightly clean both the cpu and base of the HSH after with a bit of brillo pad or fine pot scourer ... just to make sure none of the thermal pad or burnt material is left to cause a poor fit after you reapply new paste.

    With the new paste I use about as much as a grain of rice ... and spread it evenly over the entire face of the cpu, and also put some on the HSF.

    The whack it together ... lock it up and reconnect the fan power header.

    Check again it is all tight.

    Fire it up.

    go into the bios and minitor the temps for a few minutes till it is stable.

    Then exit and boot.

    If it is an LGA socket 775 then here is some useful tips on getting that mongrel HSF to lock down properly:

  3. Isopropyl alcohol and a piece of coffee filter or a lintless rag.

    Suggestions for applying thermal compound:
  4. ^+1 Did this recently as just jsc described (coffee filter for me) using the same article he linked to and it worked great. I had a heatpipe HSF and used the last method described on the HDT page in that article
  5. I used rubbing alcohol and q-tips, dipped the q-tips into the rubbing alcohol and started removing, but youre probably gonna need several q-tips. to put it on, you could do the small dot of paste in the center, or spread it evenly with a razor or card. if your hsf is a heatpipe direct touch type, use this guide, its very useful .
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