Punkbuster Troubleshooting and Error Codes

14660 postsMember, Moderator, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Battlefield, Battlefield 1, CTE, BF1IncursionsAlpha, Battlefield V Moderator
Before you begin:

PunkBuster is not an EA-made program. It is developed by Even Balance and used in many online games.

This guide will have all available information regarding troubleshooting PunkBuster issues for EA games. For more help, reach out to PunkBuster Support

You must appeal any PunkBuster Ban with Even Balance by opening a ticket by finding and clicking your game on the Support page and then clicking "Web Ticket System." EA Advisors cannot overturn PunkBuster Bans

What games use PunkBuster?
Quite a few games run the PunkBuster services, you can find a full list on their homepage. Here are just a few EA titles:
Battlefield 2
Battlefield 3
Battlefield 4
Battlefield 2142
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Battlefield Heroes
Battlefield Play4Free
Battlefield Vietnam
Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor Warfighter

Can I play without it?
You are not required to use PunkBuster. However, you will not be able to join any server that runs PunkBuster Services. There are servers that do not use PunkBuster services, but lack of anti-cheat software can definitely degrade your gaming experience.

How do I install PunkBuster?
Even Balance, Inc. are the developers of the anti-cheat software, PunkBuster. Working with game developers, they have created a tool to help identify cheaters in-game and remove them. Any server that runs PunkBuster enforces PunkBuster bans because no one wants to play with a cheater.

1. Get the latest version of PunkBuster Updater HERE

2. Double click pbsetup.zip.

3. Extract pbsetup.exe to somewhere on your computer.

4. Double click pbsetup.exe (For Vista/Win7/Win8 users, right-click the file and select to run as Admin).

5. Click on Add Game.

6. Click on the Game drop down menu and select your title, in this case, Battlefield 3 / Battlefield 4 / BF:H.

7. The box Game Path should automatically complete itself, but if it doesn’t click Browse and navigate to where you installed the game and then click on Add Game.

8. You will now see your game in the main window, click Check for Updates.

9. A window should pop up with a progress bar and update to the newest version of PunkBuster for the game, after it has finished a notification will appear, click Ok and you are done.

How do I update PunkBuster?
While PunkBuster is designed to update itself, there can be an error and manually updating via PBSetup is recommended.

Occasionally, you may receive various errors regarding PunkBuster Services not running. Some other software programs such as virus scanners, firewalls and Internet security software packages are suspicious of any new services and kernel drivers when they are first released. Some of these will block PunkBuster components thereby causing the "Losing Key Packets" kicking. Until these various packages are updated to correctly identify PnkBstrA.exe, PnkBstrB.exe, and PnkBstrK.sys as components of the PunkBuster Anti-Cheat System, players who experience PunkBuster kicks due to these conflicts need to either manually adjust the settings of the other software running on their system or disable the other software while playing on PunkBuster enabled servers.

Make sure PnkBstr.exe is on your exceptions list of your firewall/anti-virus software to ensure it can communicate properly with the PunkBuster servers. You can check your anti-virus/firewall software manual for instructions on adding exceptions.

Make sure all PunkBuster Services are installed and running by downloading PBSVC.EXE from Even Balance.
Save the file to your Desktop for easy access.

Double click the file and select “Run”.

Choose “Install/Re-Install PunkBuster Service”.
This will ensure PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe are installed and running properly.

If you still get kicks, such as “Can’t Initialize PnkBstrB.exe”, go to the Start Menu. In the “Run/Search” bar, type “services.msc” and press Enter.

Scroll through the list and find PnkBstrA and PnkBstrB. If they are not running (Check the Status column), right click each and select “Start”.

How do I uninstall PunkBuster?
You can remove PunkBuster for PC by going to the Control Panel – Programs & Features (Add/Remove Programs for Classic View) within Windows. If you’re having trouble auto-updating or running PBSetup.exe, it may help by removing PunkBuster from your system for a clean installation.

Click Uninstall/Change to remove PunkBuster Services from your computer. Note: You will not be able to join any matches of games that user Punkbuster until you re-install it. As with any uninstallation procedures, make sure to restart your PC to finalize any system changes.

You can also uninstall PunkBuster Services by running PBSVC.EXE and choose the “Uninstall PunkBuster Services” option.
For more detailed information, check out the PunkBuster Player Manual or the Even Balance Support Page at www. evenbalance.com for your particular game.


  • LOLGotYerTags
    14660 postsMember, Moderator, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Battlefield, Battlefield 1, CTE, BF1IncursionsAlpha, Battlefield V Moderator
    How do I appeal a PunkBuster ban?

    Please note:
    PunkBuster is not an EA-made program. It is developed by Even Balance and used in many online games.
    You must appeal any PunkBuster Ban with Even Balance by opening a ticket. EA Advisors cannot overturn PunkBuster Bans.

    Bans, Violations and Appeals
    What do I do if I get Banned by PunkBuster?
    You will need to resolve your violation, then place an appeal with Even Balance [evenbalance.com].

    PunkBuster software running on game servers and the computers of connected players during gameplay is continuously validating players to ensure violations are limited. A violation can be raised to PunkBuster for various instances depending on how each Server Administrator chooses to configure PunkBuster on their game server, as explained in further detail below.

    When a violation is raised, PunkBuster announces this violation to all players currently connected to the game and then saves information regarding the violation into a PunkBuster log-file on the server. In most cases, the player associated with the violation will also be removed, or kicked, from the server for a short time. It is up to each Server Administrator whether players raised for violations by PunkBuster become permanently banned for their behavior.
    ***NOTE: Some servers are non-dedicated with a local-host player, meaning that one of the players is running the game server while simultaneously playing the game. If PunkBuster raises a violation on a localhost player, the violation will be reported but the localhost player will not be removed from the game. The other players will be alerted to the fact that PunkBuster is foregoing the kick due to the violation being raised on the localhost player.

    Can I get another copy of the game and play?
    Installing another copy of the game with the same account will not affect your banned status. PunkBuster bans affect your GUID, or Globally Unique Identifier, meaning it prevents your account, or "persona," from accessing any PunkBuster-enabled servers.

    Does this affect all PunkBuster enabled games?
    Yes. A PunkBuster Ban is a global ban that affects all games running PunkBuster Services.

    How to resolve violations:
    Steps to resolve violations are given below with each violation category. Any player who has problems resolving a violation should fill out a trouble ticket with Even Balance here for assistance. When requesting assistance, be sure to specify the violation number raised and give as much additional information as possible.

    Technical Violations: (Resolution: Reinstall PunkBuster from the latest game update patch)
    #101 - Communication Failure
    #102 - Communication Failure
    #131 - Initialization Failure
    #132 - Protocol Error
    #141 - Distress (This indicates a problem trying to update to the latest version of PunkBuster - it may indicate a problem reaching one of our Internet-based Master PB Servers which can be caused by firewalls, router problems, etc.)
    Miscellaneous Violations:
    #111 - Bad Name (To resolve such a violation, simply changing your player name or playing on a different server may help)
    #112 - Too Many Bad Names
    #113 - Too Many Name Changes (Designed to eliminate name change spamming)
    #114 - Protected Name (Can be resolved by changing player name or playing on a different server)
    #121 - Negative Score Too Low (This is usually caused from Killing Teammates)
    #151 - Extended ASCII Characters in Player Name (Can be resolved with the use of regular letters, numbers and symbols in the player name or by playing on a different server)
    #9001 - CVAR value failed range check (see this FAQ for more info)
    Integrity Violations:
    These violation numbers are between 10000 and 29999.
    When PunkBuster is unable to verify that a player's gaming environment is functioning properly and/or has not been altered, an Integrity Violation is raised. This also involves the detection of modified game, or PunkBuster, files.

    Cheat/Hack Violations:
    When PunkBuster detects a cheat or hack by repeated positive identification on a player's computer, a violation is raised. These violation numbers are 50000 and higher. To help resolve issues involving these violations, simply remove cheats and hacks from your computer.
    #50000s - Aimbot
    #60000s - Wallhack
    #70000s - Multihack
    #80000s - Gamehack
    #90000s - 'Cheat' Video Drivers
    #100000s - Speedhack
    #110000s - Autofire
    #120000s - Game Hook
    #130000s - Attempted PunkBuster Hack

    Where can I go to appeal?
    EA Game Advisors cannot overturn a PunkBuster Ban.

    To appeal, you will need to open an appeal ticket with Even Balance [evenbalance.com], who will be able to further assist you with your issues.

    /The Battlefield Mod Team
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