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How do I remove old thermal paste from a CPU / Motherboard?

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SD 99% Alcohol works just fine.

Whatever you do, DO NOT USE A Q-TIP or other type of paper cloth that is likely to leave behind paper particles. You do not want any particles leftover on the CPU.

My personal favorite is coffee filters. They are cheap, disposable, and designed not to disintegrate. If you fold one in half and soak it with alcohol it should be strong enough to clean off all of the thermal paste on a CPU and the motherboard.

Make sure you use new paste with the new CPU.

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Typically you can just pull the CPU off and leave the thermal paste on there. I never saw it where you couldn't do that. You also want to leave it on there because it helps keep your CPU cooler, it's kind of like a heat sink. You should be able to put the new CPU overtop of the old paste, unless for some reason you just want to use new paste.

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