• Now's your chance win big! Join our community and get entered to win a RTX 2060 GPU, plus more! Join here.

    Pi Cast Episode 3 streams live on Tuesday, August 4th at 2:30 pm ET (7:30 PM BST). Watch live right here!

    Catch Scharon on the Tom's Hardware Show live on Thursday, August 6th at 2:00 pm ET (7:00 PM BST). Click here!

Question [HELP] Computer boots up only after resetting CMOS after thermal paste change

Jun 4, 2020
4
0
10
0
I've cleaned my PC before but not this thoroughly. It all started with me dusting it. I took out GPU to dust it separately. And later decided to take off heat sink in order to dust the cooler since there was a tone of dust there.

After dusting it thoroughly I put the heat sink back on and then the GPU and booted up my computer. Everything worked fine, but when I checked how mu computer was running my CPU was working at 100% almost the whole time. Even when I wasn't doing anything. When I touched the computer it was very hot. Sure it usually heats up during gaming but this was different. I turned it off, and began researching why that was.

Apparently you are suppose to change the thermal paste every time you take off a heat sink. I thought to myself, no biggie. I purchased the thermal paste at the near best buy. As far as I read it doesn't matter which one it is. Later that day, I began the process of changing thermal paste. Only catch was, I didn't have any isopropyl alcohol so I decided to go with acetone based nail polish remover(I don't know if this could have caused anything). I never removed CPU out of the socket in order to clean it. However, I poured a tad too much on the CPU and a little bit went overboard(again, I don't know if this may have caused it). Otherwise the cleaning process went well(I've never done it before but it seemed good). The only cord I unattached was the CPU FAN cord and I made sure to re-attach it properly. I booted up my PC with fingers crossed and, hooray!! It was working... For now....

After about 10 minutes of it functioning normally, a blue screen appeared. The screen never got past 30% until I finally decided to shut off my computer by force(holding the power button). I don't know if this information is helpful but the error code was: KERNEL_AUTO_BOOST__LOCK_ACQUISITION_WITH_RAISED_IRQL
I later looked up what that meant and apparently it had to do something with the network?? I figured that wasn't it.

After that, every attempt I had at booting it up, the monitor said there was no signal. However the computer appeared to function normally, with all lights spinning.

I tested the monitor and the HDMI cable. Both were working just fine. Something was wrong with the PC itself. I don't know much about how to troubleshoot hardware issues but I tried all I could/or have read should help:
-Taking out and putting back in RAM(multiple times in different slots).
-Reattaching GPU

Until I finally read somewhere to try and reset CMOS. I didn't know what the heck CMOS was but apparently it's a battery to the motherboard? And taking it out and putting it back inside resets some settings? I rehearsed how to do it, and did it. And OMG it worked!!!!! The computer boot up and gave signal to monitor. I made sure that it was working fine, satisfied I turned it off and started plugging in the rest of wires like speakers and microphone. Ready to start doing homework I turned it on and... nothing. Same issue as before. I thought to myself "but it was working just now ". Later I tried booting it up again after another CMOS reset and came to a conclusion that it will only boot up after the whole tedious process of resetting it. I don't know much about hardware and by that point I was exhausted and didn't know where to go from there.

I am a noob in hardware and have no idea where I messed up and how to fix it. Any help is appreciated!
PS - I know I messed up and I understand I may need to replay a few components like mother board and maybe even CPU, but how do I know which components to keep??
 
Last edited:

Ralsei

Notable
Oct 1, 2018
785
145
1,190
41
Yeah, I wouldn't clean up thermal paste with anything other than isopropyl alcohol or thermal compound wipes. Even if I can't use my PC until I get my hands on some isopropyl. Better than risking it.

In which way did it go overboard? Did it go on the motherboard itself or on the CPU socket, the latter of which can cause a multitude of issues?
 
Jun 4, 2020
4
0
10
0
Yeah, I wouldn't clean up thermal paste with anything other than isopropyl alcohol or thermal compound wipes. Even if I can't use my PC until I get my hands on some isopropyl. Better than risking it.

In which way did it go overboard? Did it go on the motherboard itself or on the CPU socket, the latter of which can cause a multitude of issues?
I will get my hands on the some isopropyl, I didn't see it spill on the motherboard, so perhaps some went under the CPU socket? Is that possible? What issue would that lead to? Since when I rest CMOS the computer runs fine.

Should I repeat the process except with isopropyl? And try to boot it up?
 

Ralsei

Notable
Oct 1, 2018
785
145
1,190
41
I will get my hands on the some isopropyl, I didn't see it spill on the motherboard, so perhaps some went under the CPU socket? Is that possible? What issue would that lead to? Since when I rest CMOS the computer runs fine.

Should I repeat the process except with isopropyl? And try to boot it up?
Honestly, it beats me on how to fix this since spilling anything on the socket/damaging the CPU socket in any way is extremely dangerous. It might not be the socket causing the problem, but from your description and the fact that you used something that isn't isopropyl, combined with me never hearing about nail polish removers being used to clean paste, this might just be the culprit. Someone with more experience will have to help further. Apologies.
 
Jun 4, 2020
4
0
10
0
Honestly, it beats me on how to fix this since spilling anything on the socket/damaging the CPU socket in any way is extremely dangerous. It might not be the socket causing the problem, but from your description and the fact that you used something that isn't isopropyl, combined with me never hearing about nail polish removers being used to clean paste, this might just be the culprit. Someone with more experience will have to help further. Apologies.
Thank you still. I'll attach an image under with highlighted spot where the some droplets went. For anyone who knows more. (Image taken after CPU was cleaned off of thermal paste and before the new thermal paste was applied).
https://ibb.co/7yzyqsv
 
At this point you've potentially broken something. There's a lot of truth to 'don't try to fix it if it isn't broken' and the reason why is because you might break it if you don't know what you are doing. :(

At this point, the entire system needs to be disassembled and properly cleaened and examined for damage. Then each component needs to be individually tested or tested with known result groups like cpu/mb/single memory module and going from there. This was a very small job that turned into a very large one. :(
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS