What does the CPU lever that physically locks it in do?

The reason im asking is I put the CPU in, locked it in, put the thermal paste on, and put the heat-sink on. Then i realized i have to take it off to put in the RAM so i unscrewed the heat-sink and pulled up and it brought the CPU right with it. So is that bad for the socket and could i have possibly broke something? I checked and all pins are still intact.
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More about what lever physically locks
  1. It locks it in but the thermal paste is sticky so it pulled it out even though it was locked. as long as it goes back in OK it should be fine.
  2. Its not the best thing you could have done and there is a real chance of bending pins when that happens.

    Check all the pins are straight and when re installing whatever you do don't force the cpu in the slot.

    Clean off all the old paste and re-apply.

    Next time you remove the heatsink gently twist it sideways before pulling up.
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