How to Remove a CPU Cooler

Cooling fans inside CPUs help reduce the heat generated by the processor and allow it to function normally. However, sometimes it’s necessary to disassemble the CPU cooler for inspection or cleaning.

So, how do you remove a CPU cooler? It’s quite simple; just turn off your computer and expose the cooler. Warm the thermal paste, disconnect the cooler and finally detach it from the CPU.

If you are doing it for the first time, it might appear daunting to you compared to people who are familiar with it. But with the help of this guide, you’ll be able to master how to remove a CPU cooler easily and safely.

Safety Measures Before Handling a CPU’s Internal System

In the absence of expert guidance, you risk ruining expensive components of your hardware. So, it’s crucial that you take some fundamental safety measures before you begin.

Here are some important precautions that can save your hardware from damage:

  1. Ensure that you are working on a flat surface. Since electrostatic discharge (ESD) can make your CPU cooler drop down or ruin other components in the presence of static electricity. 
  2. Get rid of static electricity from your hands by touching a metal object like a CPU case. 
  3. Before starting, make sure that all the computer’s power cables are disconnected.
  4. You can use anti-static wrist wrap as you touch the motherboard or CPU.
  5. Don’t choose power tools to loosen screws. Before starting, make sure that all of the computer’s power cables are disconnected. It is wise to use a basic screwdriver to work your way through the screws. This way you will know how much pressure you are exerting on the screws.
  6. You may lose your laptop warranty if you attempt to remove the CPU cooler on your own. It is highly recommended to not remove the CPU cooler from your laptop by yourself (the guide is directed toward the desktop CPU cooler).
  7. While working with a liquid-cooled CPU cooler, be very cautious of water damage.
  8. Ensure to place the removed CPU cooler in a safe and dry place. Don’t mess with the cooler by touching the thermal paste or metal. This could mutilate the cooler. 
  9. Avoid over-tightening the screws. In extreme cases, this can cause the motherboard to break. Secure screws properly but better not over-tighten them. 
How to Remove a CPU Cooler

Removing CPU Cooler in a Step-By-Step Guide

As you try to remove the CPU cooler, it is important to ensure that you don’t damage the other components. Follow the steps below to safely remove the CPU cooler from the computer.

Step 1: Switch Off the Computer

Start by turning off your computer completely to avoid getting a shock. The electricity can also burn down the internal components of the CPU. Furthermore, you cannot disconnect the cooler without turning off your computer. 

Step 2: Pull Out the Cooler Cover

Now you have to take out the cooler cover. Several CPUs have a duct or ventilation system. To uncover the heat sink and processor, you must pull them out. Press the clips and bring out the duct. Ensure to execute the task carefully or you can get harmed. Also, hurrying may cause you to tear the cover.

Step 3: Heat the Thermal Paste

In this step, you will heat the thermal paste. The thermal paste is a medium that connects the CPU cooler with the CPU. As the thermal paste cools, the cooler and CPU are fused together. To heat the thermal paste, you need to turn on your computer for 20 minutes. This will make the thermal paste gooey and malleable and you can remove it quickly. Ensure not to touch the heated thermal paste if you don’t want to burn yourself. 

How to Remove a CPU Cooler

Step 4: Detach the Cooler 

Now you will disconnect the CPU cooler. Unfasten the cooler from the motherboard before pulling it out. You will come across a two, three, or four-pin cable attached to the cooler. To pull out the cooler, you must detach the pins. Avoid putting too much pressure on the pins, otherwise, the pins’ connections will get damaged. Hold the connector’s end and draw up to unfasten the cooler from the motherboard. 

Step 5: Unscrew the Cooler

Unfasten the clips from the cooler. The cooler is connected to the motherboard via a number of pins, which also connect it to the processor. Remove the cooler from the motherboard and look for pins joining the cooler with the processor. You can quickly unbolt them with a slight press. If your cooler has screws, untighten them using a screwdriver. Don’t apply too much force or the cooler can get damaged. Finally, take out the CPU cooler.

Installing CPU Cooler Back

If you want to reinstall a CPU cooler after removing it, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off your PC and ensure that the power cords are disconnected.
  2. Ensure that the thermal paste is properly applied over the cooler before you assemble it into your CPU.
  3. Place the cooler in your CPU in a gentle manner. Make sure that the direction of the cooler is correct.
  4. Get the screws back where they were, and begin securing them in a diagonal pattern. (this way you won’t put pressure on a single side)
  5. If there is a lever, snap it back until it is secured rigidly and the cooler is fitted perfectly.
  6. Finally, attach every cable of the cooler to the motherboard CPU fan ports.

Is It Compulsory to Remove the CPU Cooler?

The CPU cooler can gather a lot of dust with frequent usage and can make the heat sink unit fail to work. Therefore, you will need to pull it out, clean it, and put it back. This is how the CPU cooler gets boosted and functions well again. 

However, if you find your current cooler inefficient, you will need to replace it with a new one.


An essential and important part of the CPU is the cooler. It helps lessen the heat the CPU generates. For those who have done it before, removing a CPU cooler may be simple, but if you are unfamiliar with it, it may be challenging. 

Fortunately, you can follow the guidelines and precautions in this guide to remove the CPU cooler easily.