PunkBuster is an anti-cheat program installed by some PC games. It includes two processes—PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe—that run in the background on your computer. PunkBuster monitors your system for evidence of cheating in online games. Know what is PunkBuster Services.
PunkBuster Services is a computer program that is designed to detect software used for cheating in online games. It does this by scanning the memory contents of the local machine. A computer identified as using cheats may be banned from connecting to protected servers. The aim of the program is to isolate cheaters and prevent them from disrupting legitimate games. PunkBuster is developed and published by Even Balance, Inc. Overview – Read more at https://www.shouldiremoveit.com/PunkBuster-Services-5888-program.aspx
The most used version is 0.993, with over 98% of all installations currently using this version. A scheduled task is added to Windows Task Scheduler in order to launch the program at various scheduled times (the schedule varies depending on the version). The software is designed to connect to the Internet and adds a Windows Firewall exception in order to do so without being interfered with it. The main program executable is pbsvc_p4f.exe. The software installer includes 227 files and is usually about 75.06 MB (78,710,693 bytes). FC3Updater.exe is the automatic update component of the software designed to download and apply new updates should new versions be released.
PunkBuster Services software runs in the background on your PC. If you’re playing an online multiplayer game that uses PunkBuster, and you’re connected to a PunkBuster-secured server, it scans your PC’s memory for any evidence of known “cheat” or “hack” programs. PunkBuster has an automatic update feature that downloads a database of new “definitions” of known cheat programs.
In other words, it works a lot like an antivirus program, except it scans your PC for cheat programs instead of malware. Specifically, PunkBuster is looking for utilities like “aimbots” that aim for you in shooter games, “map hacks” that show you the full map in online games, tools that let you see through walls, and anything else that gives you an unfair advantage by breaking the rules of a multiplayer game. It doesn’t care if you cheat in single-player games.
PunkBuster doesn’t just look at the processes running on your PC—it can also check to see if you’ve modified game files. It’s designed to bust those cheating “punks.” After all, it’s not fun to be stomped in an online game by someone who’s cheating.
When Is PunkBuster Services Active?
The anti-cheat features are only activated while you’re playing a PunkBuster-enabled game on a PunkBuster-enabled server. Games must be specifically designed to support PunkBuster, and it’s up to each game server’s operator to choose whether PunkBuster is required or not. But, while you’re connected to a server that requires PunkBuster, it will monitor your PC in the background to ensure you’re not cheating.
While you’re connected to the server, the server administrator has a variety of tools they can use to check on your system, including taking screenshots of your game and viewing information about your key bindings.
If PunkBuster notices anything suspicious, the PunkBuster-enabled servers can ban you. You will sometimes receive a warning, but you could also be permanently banned based on the CD key of the game you’re playing or the hardware details of the PC you’re playing it on. These permanent bans could prevent you from playing any PunkBuster-enabled games on any PunkBuster-enabled servers on that PC.
Is PunkBuster Services Harmful?
If PunkBuster is installed, it’s always running in the background on your PC. That’s why you’ll see the PnkBstrA.exe process in the task manager and the PnkBstrA service in the services application.
However, PunkBuster isn’t actually doing anything most of the time. It only kicks in when you’re playing an online game that integrates with PunkBuster and you’re playing on a PunkBuster-enabled server. If you aren’t, PunkBuster won’t do anything more than download definition updates.
Can I Uninstall PunkBuster?
You probably don’t actively play a multiplayer game that requires the PunkBuster anti-cheat software, so you can uninstall it if you want.
To do so, head to Control Panel > Uninstall a Program. Select “PunkBuster Services” in the list of installed software, and then click the “Uninstall/Change” button.
Hopefully, all the doubts you were having is clear. Let us know if you still have any doubts.