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What happens if a drop of thermal paste manages to fall upon the CPU socket, before the CPU is installed? Being a bed of needles... no possible way to clean it up. Should everything still work?
 

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Most thermal material is conductive, which will short the pins . . I would use a new, soft toothbrush and some 90+% alcohol to remove as much as you can. Be arefull and do not bend any of the pins
 
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