I built my computer only to find that the motherboard had an endless boot loop -.- cant even get into bios and tried all the tricks! So now im returing it, but im not sure what to do with the CPU and how to handle it. So, now onto the question:
Do i just have to take off the CPU fan, and then clean off the thermal paste, and then remove the cpu and clean of the thermal paste on it too? I bought some extra thermal paste thats good, so i guess i could just use that when i reinsert it onto the new board. How would i go about cleaning the CPU and the fan so i dont break it or static shock it or anything else stupid like that? I really dont want to have to return that aswell! Help me out guys! Tips on how to clean would be amazing!
Various builder guides (sorry, I don't have a specific) have instructions to handle components. whenever you are working on the board, make sure you have it grounded to you. Most of the time, I use an anti-static wrist strap for this. one easy way to clean the paste off the chip is LIGHTLY scraping it off with a utility knife blade, then using Que tips and rubbing alcohol to get it spotless. If you have the original box and small anti static bag the chip came in, put it in there and don't much with it again until you are ready to install it in the new board. Only touch the chip by the edges, and never touch the contacts/pins. your goal should be to just minimize touching anything electrical looking. if its still on the board, ground yourself to it, and take it out, then put it into an anti-static bag. shouldnt be a problem. it'll be fine
Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) at as high a percentage (90%+ is easy to find) is good for cleaning the stuff off. Use a paper towel to wipe off as much as you can, then apply a little bit to a clean section of the towel and wipe the rest off. Won't take long, just be careful not to get any paste on you. Crap sucks to get off.
As far as storing it, if you've still got the box and packaging that the CPU came in, that would be best. Otherwise, a static proof bag (NOT a ziplock) would be best.
The things aren't as delicate as you'd think. I have drawers of old computer components I occasionally dust off (literally) and stick in systems. As long as you don't drop it, crush it or fry it with static electricity, it will be fine.