Pnkbstra.exe Scans for Hacks and Cheats

PnkBstrA.exe belongs to the PunkBuster application developed by Even Balance, Inc. in an effort to curb cheating in online games such as Battlefield series, F.E.A.R., Call of Duty series, Quake III Arena and War Rock. PunkBuster.exe actively scans these multi-player games and detects when players are cheating. These players are either kicked out or banned from the game.

PnkBstrA.exe Issues

PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe are background services that need to run at system Startup. If you disable these processes, you will get kicked off the games server and may receive one of the following error messages: Service Communication Failure, Handshaking Failed, or other errors mentioning problems with PnkBstrA.exe or PnkBstrB.exe processes. To prevent the error in this case, you need to ensure that these services are running when you choose to play online games.

Another reason why you may receive errors while playing online games is that your antivirus or firewall is blocking PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe. Because these are relatively new patches, many antivirus and firewall programs consider them to be malware because they are unknown.

To resolve the issue in this case, add both PnkBstrA and PnkBstrB executable files to your security software, antivirus and firewall allow lists to allow these services to run. Once these services run without any issue, you should be able to keep playing online games without any problems.

You must note that some firewall and antivirus programs may still refuse to let PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe files access even after you add them to the allow list. Some security programs do not even allow themselves to be disabled using the built in option in the menu. Symantec, Zone Alarm and Panda are some of the more notorious security programs that do not work well with the PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe processes.

Your best choice in this case would be to completely uninstall these uncooperative security programs and find other programs that will enable you to play your online games without any problems. You may want to try STOPzilla Antivirus and Spyware Cease as antivirus and anti-spyware programs.

Security programs are usually huge in size, so to get rid of them completely you may use a reliable program uninstaller tool, such as Perfect Uninstaller to perform the removal. There may still be remnants of uncooperative security programs in the registry. Run a registry cleaner like RegServe to find missing DLLS and fix other issues that may cause potential errors.

Additional Fixes for PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe Issues

Listed below are a few additional solutions that you can try if you keep receiving error messages related to PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe.

  1. Open Windows Explorer and then navigate to the C:\Windows\System32\ folder.
  2. Locate and then delete the PnkBstrB.exe file.
  3. Reboot and log in to your game.

This should update the B component (PnkBstrB.exe) of the PunkBuster application. You may have to repeat this process up to three times for the B component to update properly. Also note that this method will work only if the complaint is centered on the B component.

If the above method doesn’t work, perform the following steps:

  1. Download Service installer and the Client File Updater from the Even Balance website and save both files in an empty folder and note the location.
  2. Disable your antivirus and/or firewall program prior to installation, as these programs might interfere with the installation process. You must remember to re-enable these programs after the installation is complete.
  3. Right-click on the recently downloaded pbsvc.exe file.
  4. Choose Run As if you are on Windows XP or choose Run as Administrator if you are on Windows Vista.
  5. On Windows XP, select The following user and then select Administrator. For those using Vista, select an account with Administrator privileges. This is required because both PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe need to be run by an Administrator for them to work properly.
  6. Enter the password for the Administrator account and then click OK.If you have both services installed, you will be asked to choose between reinstall and uninstall.
  7. Search your hard drive for all files with “pnk” in the file name and delete them. Most of these files will be located in the game directory and the System32 folder.
  8. Reboot your PC.
  9. Repeat the above listed steps for the PunkBuster program.
  10. The program will now check for updates. A fresh download is unlikely to have any.
  11. Set configuration to update every PunkBuster enabled game on your system.
  12. Click Check for updates.
  13. If you receive a Windows error message, open a trouble ticket on Even Balance’s Ticket System and report it verbatim.

A kick message is very different from a Windows error message. Your Windows error message trouble ticket should not be used to report a kick message.

On a final note, pretty much every new game uses the PB Service version of PunkBuster. This should be a version higher than 1.5xx.

If you no longer want to play the game but find that PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe still reside on your system, disable the service using the System Configuration Utility. .

If you want to delete these programs, you can download and use the pbsvc.exe program. Delete PnkBstrK.sys which resides in the C:\Windows\System32\Drivers folder.