Can CPUs Go Bad? [How & When? Detect Without Difficulty]

Written By Steven Arends

CPU can last longer than your imagination. But after a long period of time, there can be many issues, like worn out, dead capacitors and many more.

Each one of your CPU component can go bad. However, as CPU is one of the robust pieces among the PC component, it has the least chance to go terribly compared to other pieces.can-cpus-go-bad

Let’s dive into the article and find out how you can identify your CPU’s to go bad.

Can CPU Really Go Bad?

The processor has small transistors, and even a minor issue with any of those transistors can cause the CPU to collapse. Extended time of using, voltage drops, overheating also can damage the CPU. But, CPU will show many signs, when there are any issues.

Moreover, it’s possible for the CPU to go bad, but it’s a really rare case. When you consider the lifespan about PC component, CPU has the most, cause it build that way.

I’ve had my Intel i3-5015U for over three years. After a while, it became sluggish, and the computer abruptly shuts down. I tried turning it on a few times and discovered that the processor had almost fried due to overheating.

Moreover, It happened primarily because I did not carefully monitor the temperature.

When we are careless about anything, it’s just ware out fast. Your PC is not so different. Perhaps you have encountered processor issues like overheating, but continued to use your computer without any consideration for your CPU. That can cause serious harm to your CPU and shorten its lifespan.

Even if the CPU dies, make use of the motherboard. And that allows you to upgrade CPU without reinstalling Windows, which saves time and get rid of extra hassle.

There are many safety features added to the modern processors. That’s why CPU will show many symptoms or errors if there is any issue. Now let’s talk about the symptoms, when a CPU is turning bad or failing.

What Are The Signs of CPU Turning Bad?

If your CPU is failing, you will experience specific or multiple issues. There can be blue screen, sudden crashes, hangs, laggy performance and many more. When facing any issue, it’s necessary to monitor them carefully and try your best to solve them before it’s too late.

Here are the Symptoms that you will encounter if the CPU is turning bad:

Takes Longer Period to Boot

When your CPU takes a longer time to boot than the average time, then it might be a sign of CPU failure. The processor can’t accumulate the data like before, that’s why it takes extended time to turn on.

If you experience this kind of problem, you need to double-check why this is happening. Because it is one of the possible causes of CPU failure.

Can a bad CPU give you no power? Read our separate article where we investigate this.

Frequent Crushes and Freezes

It’s one of the most disappointing experience among all the symptoms of CPU failure. Maybe you are watching any contents or attending any meetings via zoom, and your PC suddenly freezes, that’s not desirable in any means.

Moreover, this issue can be caused for overheating and other matters. And whenever you encounter this kind of issues, it’s better you try your best to isolate the issue and find a solution about this.

Automatic Turn Off or Not opening at the First Place

Sometimes your PC might not boot when you press the power button. Possibly your fan turning very fast but still your computer not do the POST (Power On Self Test) thus the screens don’t come to life.

Also, this can happen at the time, when you’re just using PC randomly. If this happens, then there might be something happens to your CPU.

Programs Running Slowly

You are using your PC for really longer period of time, and suddenly you find your apps or programs start to act weirdly. When turning on, the apps may crush or works really slow.

There can be other causes, but most of the time this issue is created by the CPU. So whenever you are having this issues, you need to consider your CPU is causing this.

Getting Blue Screen And Error Codes

In case your CPU has some crucial damage, then you might face BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) or get random error messages like 0x00000. This happens when your CPU is overheating or there might be temperature issues.


Moreover, when you encounter this type of issue, this indicates your CPU is failing.

Making Strange Noises or Beep Alerts

When you turn on the PC. The CPU checks all the programs to test whether they work properly. It’s called the POST system test. If you hear beeping sounds when turning on the PC, there might be something wrong with the CPU.

Furthermore, there will be 5–7 beeps, if the CPU have any a serious issue. If this is what you encounter then there is serious issue with CPU and you need to take care of it seriously.

External Damage

You may encounter some issues with your CPU. And you open up the PC. While investigating possible causes, you discovered burnt marks on the CPU or the processor socket. That means your processor encounters some intensive overheating issues.

Understanding the reasons which harms the CPU can save your precious processor. You really need to take proper steps whenever you find any issue. Let’s now discuss the possible reasons which can severely harm the CPU.

What Are The Reasons for a CPU to Fail?

Nothing is everlasting, and it’s theoretically true for almost everything. There are some causes which will happen if you try everything to prevent, like the worn out effect.

However, sometimes, because of our carelessness, we create an uninhabitable situation for our CPU. Like Overclocking the CPU, or doesn’t place enough concern for the power surge or overheating issues. These all can cause serious harm and fail the CPU.

Here are the reasons for a processor to fail or damaged enormously:

1. Overheating

Heat is the natural enemy of electronics. And CPU creates great amount of heat when performing or executing tasks. My Intel i3-5015U processor died due to overheating because I was careless and did not monitor properly.

You need to monitor your CPU temps at least once in a month. If you find out the heat is abnormally higher than the normal temps, then take proper step like changing the cooling solution or add fans or more.

Also, the potential harm can be really serious, like burnt mark or the socket can be damaged for overheating.

Overheating can also shut down your computer. Read our separate article to explore this topic.


2. Duration

Every active component undoubtedly has a presumably operational lifespan. And the typical lifespan can be longer or shorter depending on the specific usage. A processor can live a decade, but the performance will drop, and it will be worn out bit by bit.

Also, most users don’t utilize a single machine for the lifetime. There are examples where someone has a CPU still alive for 10 years and someone’s CPU just died after 5–6 years. And the usage also play a great role to the topic of lifespan.

It’s obvious, with time, every component reach to its retirement. And The CPU is not beyond that.

3. Overclocking

Many people love to overclock their CPU nowadays. This is one of the best way to get superior performance depending on the models of CPU.

Even if you squeeze out every last bit of performance, this also place stress on your CPU. It’s like you have a car which engine redline is at, 8000 RPM, and it’s recommended to drive under 8k, but you always drive it at 9000-9500 RPM for superfluous performance.

When compared to others who drive the engine at recommended RPM, this will simply wear out the engine. When you overclock your CPU and use it in this manner for an extended period of time, it simply ages and wears out faster than a non-overclocked processor.

That’s what happened to your CPU. It will age more than which are not overclocked.

4. Power Surge

A power surge is simply a big spike or increase in power, as the name implies. A power surge is really harmful for the computer. It can overload and fry all the PC components. An outage, normally, doesn’t do great harm to the power supply or motherboard.

You need to invest and get better power supply to get rid of this issue, and using a UPS can save you from these issues.

So as you see, there are many reasons which can make your CPU bad. It can be harmed by your carelessness or with age where you have not many steps to take to save the CPU. Either way, it’s obvious that a CPU can go bad for many reasons.

You may hear CPU fans rotating hurriedly after turning it on, yet it’s not showing anything on the display. Or the PC turned on and shut down immediately after. These are the hazardous results of CPU failure along with BSOD, slow OS, laggy user interface.

Furthermore, you can receive error messages when your CPU is failing. If you face any issue then you better take care of that or consult with a pro.


How long do CPUs last?

It’s a lot more extended than you think. A consumer CPU’s silicon transistors typically have a lifespan of 15 to 25 years. The problem is, it varies greatly between CPUs—even those of the same model. This is primarily anticipated to manufacturing differences.

Can a CPU get worn out?

In normal operation, a processor can last decades before failing. Although other critical components, including such fans and storage devices, wear out long even before the processor, most computer processors fall victim to alternative forms of obsolescence before they stop working.

What will damage a CPU?

Damage to electrical power. External Energy Sources that do not comply with the processor’s standard specifications can cause irreversible harm to the processor. CPU damage is usually unnoticed by the user since it occurs within the processor. Failures in the voltage supply to the motherboard, for example.

Final Thoughts

A CPU can go bad for many reasons. Overheating, power surge could have done serious damage to the processor. Also, overclocking can decrease the lifespan of a CPU and if you have an ancient processor then it will collapse in any coming time.

With proper usage and monitoring, you can use the CPU to it’s most. There are many examples, who still have the second or third generation CPU’s, which are decade old. The CPU can go bad, but normally a CPU’s lifespan is far longer than necessary.

About The Author
Steven Arends is a computer science graduate and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a vast collection of computer hardware and loves exploring the latest advancements. As a contributing author to 10Scopes, Steven shares his expertise to make the world of technology more accessible and easier to understand for all readers.

Leave a Comment