Troubleshooting Processor or CPU, however is it really the processor that is failing?

Troubleshooting Processor problem is not an easy task. CPU problems can be related to other embedded devices such as video, memory, or a controller.

Or it could be a support IC (Integrated Circuit or  chip) on the motherboard.

Scenario:

You start your computer and get the BIOS setup screen. You do not get any error on the screen just the processor parameters screen.

The main reason that the BIOS went to this screen is there maybe a problem with the clock speed of either the processor or the front side bus. Have you been overclocking your processor? If not then the have you changed the FSB speed for some reason?

Instructions:

When Troubleshooting Processor Observe ESD!

If either of these questions are no, then you may have a processor about to fail. One way to find out is to open the case, remove the processor from the socket and then reinstall it, thus reseating the processor, reattach the heat sink. Power it back up, did it go into the BIOS setup for the processor?

If it goes back into the BIOS processor setup screen try lowering the clock speed multiplier and restart. If lowering the multiplier results in the system going back into the BIOS processor setup screen your processor is about to fail.

If it does not go back into the BIOS setup screen but starts then you may have cleared the problem, keep an eye on it, it still may be failing.

Another reason for this to happen is heat. If the processor is overheating because of lack of cooling air or overclocking it will go to the setup screen as a warning that the processor is running too hot. The thirmistior sensor on the motherboard will open the BIOS setup screen on restart.

Scenario:

You start your computer, it goes into a startup loop.

Note: There is a setting in some BIOS to have the BIOS display 'Advanced' settings on startup. When you select this parameter you will be able to see what the computer is doing during the initialization phase at startup.

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You will see the actual clock speed of your processor and the memory count. This will increase the startup sequence by about ten seconds.

If the computer is in a loop because of the clock speed or a processor problem you will see the processor clock speed then the computer will restart. It is at this time you need to press the correct keys to get into the system BIOS. From there you can correct the clock speed for the processor.

Most processor problems will be:

A) Slow response when doing heavy computing tasks. Such as games, spread sheet calculations, graphics manipulations, viewing movies, copying large files.

B) Computer hangs for no apparent reason when light computer operations are occurring.

C) Computer dumps [crashes] frequently.

D) Write to disk fails frequently.

Note: These problems will also occur when a hard drive is full or is failing. Check the space on the hard drive before trouble shooting the processor. Or some viruses will have the same symptoms, use "Safe Mode" to scan and clean viruses.

You may also want to take into consideration the age of the processor and motherboard, is it time to upgrade?

Now that you have diagnosed your processor problem you need to effect a repair, see this page for instructions.

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