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Punkbuster Guide

by Carbonic
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Original Post

Punkbuster Guide

[ Edited ]
Hero

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v.1.1.0 - as seen on carbonic.dk/punkbusterguide

 

This guide is extensive.
Most problems can be solved by going to Simple Solutions, so if there's too much text you should go there. 

 

INDEX

 

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Punkbuster is anti cheating software made by Even Balance (www.evenbalance.com).

It's a service that servers can choose to use if they want to. It does it's job by scanning the memory of your local machine and is thus required to be running, have access to your computer and be able to update itself by downloading the newest files when this is required.

Punkbuster will install these to your computer:

  • PnkBstrA.exe
    (the main service running in the background, needs to start when you turn on your computer, automatically updates and installs Punkbuster files and components while you play)
  • PnkBstrB.exe
    (service running in the background, needs to start when you join a Punkbuster enabled game on your computer, detects cheats)
  • PnkBstrK.sys
    (kernel driver, helps give Punkbuster access so it can detect cheats)
  • Various detection files and support files.

howitworks.jpg

Punkbuster can stop working for many reasons. It might not be able to update itself or even run.

This can be caused by many things like updated/changed software/hardware security, changed Windows settings or corrupted files.

Now lets get to it!

 

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The following information is always a good idea to provide should you need help with a Punkbuster problem.

  • Has it worked before?
  • When did it stop working?
  • What have you tried to solve the problem?
  • What is the exact error message and where precisely does it appear? (linking to a screenshot is great)
  • What background applications are running? (especially security software like firewalls, antivirus, antimalware etc.)
  • Information from the Punkbuster log files located at C:\Windows\System32\logfiles\punkbuster from when you get the issue
  • Run the Punkbuster installer called pbsvc.exe from your local game directory in the "__Installer\punkbuster\redist" folder and click "Test Services", this will give you some diagnostics that you can copy paste into your thread.

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This list contains typical errors given by Punkbuster and a short explanation of what they mean.

If you think I've forgotten one feel free to message Carbonic here on Answer HQ.

 

  • This PB Server Requires (AXXXX CX.XXX) - Error loading pbcl
    The file: "pbcl.dll" could not be loaded by your Punkbuster installation. Perhaps Antivirus is blocking it by mistake or it's damaged.
  • Game disconnected: you were kicked by PunkBuster. Stated reason: PunkBuster kicked player 'PlayerName' (for 0 minutes) ... RESTRICTION: Service Communication Failure: PnkBstrA.exe initialization failed
    The game cannot communicate communicate or start the PnkBstrA.exe service on your computer.
  • Game disconnected: you were kicked by PunkBuster. Stated reason: PunkBuster kicked player 'PlayerName' (for 0 minutes) ... RESTRICTION: Service Communication Failure: PnkBstrB.exe initialization failed
    The game cannot communicate or start the PnkBstrB.exe service on your computer.
  • Game disconnected: you were kicked by PunkBuster. Stated reason: PunkBuster kicked player 'PlayerName' (for 0 minutes) ... No Packet Flow
    Your Punkbuster installation is not successfully sending any data packets to the gameserver.
  • PunkBuster kicked player 'PlayerName' (for 0 minutes) ... RESTRICTION: Disallowed Program/Driver [XXXXX]
    or
    Service Communication Failure: PnkBstrB.exe heartbeats stopped ... RESTRICTION: Disallowed Program/Driver
    You have a program running on your computer that Punkbuster does not allow to run while you are playing.
  • Game disconnected: you were kicked by PunkBuster. Stated reason: PunkBuster kicked player 'PlayerName' (for 0 minutes) ... RESTRICTION: Corrupted Module Header: d3d9.dll
    The DirectX file d3d9.dll is not like the original file delivered by Microsoft. As this can be used to cheat you have been kicked from the server.
  • Game disconnected: you were kicked by PunkBuster. Stated reason: PunkBuster kicked player 'PlayerName' (for 0 minutes) ... RESTRICTION: Corrupt Module List
    The data containing the Module List is corrupt. Can be a temporary issue by Even Balance.
  • Game Server Requires Punkbuster
    The game cannot see that you have Punkbuster installed.
  • Game disconnected: you were kicked by PunkBuster. Stated reason: PunkBuster kicked player 'PlayerName' (for X minutes) ... Violation (AIMBOT / WALLHACK / MULTITOOL etc.) #XXXXX.''
    You have been busted for using cheats. AnswerHQ cannot help you. Click this link: https://help.ea.com/article/punkbuster-bans-and-violations
  • Game disconnected: you were kicked by PunkBuster. Stated reason: PunkBuster kicked player 'PlayerName' (for 5 minutes) ... Losing Key Packets XXXX
    Punkbuster components on your computer is most likely being blocked by other software.

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Simple Solution 1 - Update Punkbuster

  1. Download the updater by downloading pbsetup from: http://www.evenbalance.com/index.php?page=pbsetup.php
  2. Rightclick the updater and click "run as administrator".
  3. Pick the game you have trouble with from the list.
  4. If needed click "browse game" and go to the location of your game, click "ok", then click "add game".
    pbsetup.jpg
  5. Click Update Punkbuster if it doesn't update automaticly.
  6. Let the updater finish, then reboot the computer.

 

Simple Solution 2 - Reinstall Punkbuster

Reinstalling Punkbuster can be done using the installer called "pbsvc.exe" from your local game directory in the "__Installer\punkbuster\redist" folder.
It should look like this:

punkbusterinstaller.jpg
If this installer does not do the trick you can Reinstall Punkbuster using the latest installer downloaded from Evenbalance:

http://www.evenbalance.com/downloads/pbsvc/pbsvc.exe

 

Simple Solution 3 - Complete Uninstall, Reboot, Reinstall

  1. Completely uninstall Punkbuster using the installer pbsvc.exe from your local game directory in the "__Installer\punkbuster\redist" folder. A picture of this installer is shown in Simple Solutions 2.
    If this installer does not do the trick you can Reinstall Punkbuster using the latest installer downloaded from Evenbalance:
    http://www.evenbalance.com/downloads/pbsvc/pbsvc.exe
  2. Reboot your computer, then reboot it again
  3. Make sure you can't find Punkbuster under programs in Windows.
  4. Install Punkbuster again by right clicking the installer mentioned in step 1 and then click "run as administrator".

 

Simple Solution 4 - Make sure Punkbuster Services Run

  1. Go to the Start Menu and enter "services.msc" in the Run/Search bar.
  2. Find "PnkBstrA" and "PnkbStrB".
  3. If the services have not started do so by right clicking both and select and select "start".
  4. Then right click both, click properties and make sure they both are set to start automatically
    punkbusterservice.jpg

Simple Solution 5 - Update Your Software

Sometimes security software mistakes Punkbuster for a virus or similar. To avoid this try manually updating all your security software like Windows, antivirus programs, firewalls, security suites, antimalware etc.
After this reboot your computer.

 

Simple Solution 6 - Give Punkbuster Access
Your antivirus / firewall and other security software might block Punkbuster. You need to explicitly allow Punkbuster through your firewalls and whitelist its services with in your security software.
This will tell you how to let Punkbuster through the Windows Firewall, for your other third party applications you will have to look through help files about how to do it.

  1. On Windows 8.1 navigate to "Control Panel\System and Security\Windows Firewall\Allowed apps".
    On other versions of Windows you will need to find its equivalent.
  2. Click "Allow Another App..." and navigate to "C:\Windows\SysWOW64\" and select first PnkBstrA.exe and then PnkBstrB.exe and set their settings to be allowed through public and private as shown in the picture below.

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Simple Solution 7 - Jiggle The Compatibility Settings
Punkbuster should run well on all versions of Windows. That being said certain computer hardware/software setups can mess this up.

First thing you should do is make sure every .exe file used to run the game doesn't run in compatibility mode of any other Windows version. Like this:

  1. Right click .exe file
  2. Click Properties
  3. Click the Compatability tab
  4. Make sure Compatability Mode is not enabled like in this image
    compatibility1.jpg
  5. Keep doing step 1-4 for all relevant .exe files like the game executable, the punkbuster .exe files, gameclients like Steam, Origin etc.

Advanced step (kept in simple solutions to keep things together)

If the above does not work people have reported almost all combinations of compatibility settings and .exe files have helped them. This should not be needed but if things is not working or you are running a beta version of Windows or something weird is happening you might want to run step 1-4 mentioned above but instead of not having compatibility mode enabled you now enable it with another version of Windows than you are running now.

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Remember, it's always a good idea to take a backup of your system before messing too much with it!
Ye, be warned.

 

Advanced/Rare Solution 1 - Clean Boot
Check if a third party program is interfering by trying to play after a clean boot where the two Punkbuster services are still running. A guide on how to do so is located here: http://help.ea.com/en/article/how-to-clean-boot-your-pc/

Pictures on how to do this can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135

 

Advanced/Rare Solution 2 - Check Hard Drive For Errors And Corrupted Files

All files can become damaged. This is just the nature of hard drives. If this affects the Punkbuster files this can cause errors and it's therefore a good idea to scan your hard drive. Do this for all hard drives that has Windows, Punkbuster and the game installed.

  1. Go to "This PC" in Windows and right click the hard drive and click "properties"
    harddrive1.jpg
  2. Go to "Tools" and and press "Check"
    harddrive2.jpg
  3. Click "Scan Drive" and let it scan for errors.
  4. If it finds errors let the program fix them
    (If there are errors it could mean nothing, but it can also suggest that it might be time to format your computer and/or replace the hard drive)
  5. Reboot your computer
  6. Run the scan again
  7. Keep repeating step 3-5 until no errors are found.

 

Advanced/Rare Solution 3 - Reinstall DirectX

Should some program have modified DirectX you need to remove all traces of that and reinstall DirectX.

You can find the DirectX installer here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35.
It's also typically located in your game folder in the "__Installer\directx" folder.

 

Advanced/Rare Solution 4 - Disable Shader Injectors

Uninstall "SweetFX" and whatever else can modify what is shown on the screen.

 

Advanced/Rare Solution 5 - Check Windows for Errors

A broken Windows Installation can cause all kinds of trouble. To scan your Windows installation for errors open a command prompt with admin rights and run the command: "sfc /scannow". A more detailed guide on how to do this can be found here:

http://help.ea.com/sg/article/how-do-i-run-the-system-file-checker/
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Advanced/Rare Solution 6 - Restart Your Network Hardware

Like your computer, network hardware will get sluggish and makes mistakes if it has not been rebooted in a long time. Usually this takes weeks or months to happen but some routers or modems need to be rebooted more frequently. Take the time to unplug your modem and router for 30 minutes. Then reboot your modem first and let it load before starting your router. It is also a good idea to reboot your machine after doing this.

 

Advanced/Rare Solution 7 - Improve Punkbuster Permissions Beyond Standard

  1. Right click your game folder, make sure the "Read Only" setting is not ticked off.
  2. Enter "services.msc". (picture can be found in Simple Solutions 4)
  3. Find "PnkBstrA" and "PnkbStrB".
  4. Right click both and select "properties", click the "log on" tab and check the box that says "allow services to interact with desktop".

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Answer HQ or EA cannot help with bans. Even if you have not cheated. See this link for more details included how to dispute the ban: 

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Message 1 of 2 (24,821 Views)

Re: [READ FIRST] Common issues, Fixes & Guides

[ Edited ]
★★★★★ Expert

Battlefield Hardline ban codes issued by FairFight

Fairfight helps ensure a fair game in Battlefield Hardline. Actions like acking, cracking, using cheats, or bots may result in a FairFight ban.

Battlefield Hardline Khai.

FairFight violation messages in Battlefield Hardline

 

If you've received any of the following FairFight messages, your Battlefield Hardline account has been found to be in violation of our Terms of Service: 

You were kicked by FairFight. Stated reason: Banned Code #P5Kes7

  • We have permanently blocked your access to the online gameplay portion of Battlefield Hardline and your stats have been reset. 

You were kicked by FairFight. Stated reason: 1 Week Suspension - LvL3 Monitoring Active #Td7w23

  • We have temporarily blocked your access to the online gameplay portion of Battlefield Hardline for 1 week (168 hours) and your stats have been reset. 

You were kicked by FairFight. Stated reason: Restricted Area

  • You have been kicked from a server for entering an area not designed for players by using an exploit in the terrain. We have taken no further action at this time however please note that continual use of this type of exploit may lead to sanctions being taken against your account. 

 

Understanding the Terms of Service

 

You may have violated the Terms of Service, as determined by EA in its sole discretion, if you: 

  • Promote, encourage, or take part in any activity involving hacking, cracking, phishing, taking advantage of exploits or cheats and/or distribution of counterfeit software and/or virtual currency or items. 

Examples of such behavior in Battlefield Hardline include, but are not limited to: 

  • Use of third-party software, such as aimbots, wallhacks, and other similar cheats in order to gain an unfair advantage over other players 
  • Abuse of game features in an unintended manner to stack on scores in an artificial manner--also known as "stat padding." 

Our penalty system is cumulative, meaning that if you continue to violate our Terms of Service, the penalty applied may increase in severity, and may ultimately result in permanent account closure. 

 

Account closure is reserved for the most serious breaches of our Terms of Service, but can also be applied in cases where an account has accumulated a number of violations over a period of time. 

 

If you'd like to review our Terms of Service, you can find them at http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBTERMS/US/en/PC/

 

Disputing a violation

 

If you feel you have received this suspension in error, please contact us at accountdisputes@ea.com.

 

Any changes or updates to this guide can be found in this thread or here: http://help.ea.com/en/article/battlefield-hardline-ban-codes-issued-by-fairfight/ .

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