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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting the Motherboard and System Devices | Physical Issues ]

I cannot get the ZIF socket to loosen so I can remove the processor that is in it

Explanation: The ZIF socket holding the processor seems to be "stuck" and cannot be loosened.

Diagnosis: This occurs quite frequently, especially with older motherboards. These boards have had the same processor sitting in them often for years and they can become rather "comfortable" in their present position. It is usually possible to extricate the processor, but you must be careful not to break the socket, or you can basically toss the motherboard (and maybe the CPU as well.)


  • First, realize that many sockets require you to pull the ZIF socket lever out slightly from the socket before trying to lift it up.
  • Make sure nothing is physically obstructing the lever.
  • The problem is usually that the lever gets stuck and won't push all the way up to loosen the processor. Try applying gentle but firm pressure. Try rocking the lever back and forth, gradually increasing the pressure against the resistance in the socket. Eventually the lever should move and the socket should pop open. Do not try to "push as hard as you can".
  • If you cannot get the socket open, you will need to have the motherboard serviced.

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