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Find out what to do next if you were banned or kicked by PunkBuster, and troubleshoot your PunkBuster installation.

Bans and error codes Kicks Installing and updating Troubleshooting Need more help?

PunkBuster is cheat detection software—designed and maintained by Even Balance—that we used in some classic EA games.

PunkBuster is required for online play in:

  • Battlefield 2
  • Battlefield 3
  • Battlefield 2142
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  • Battlefield Heroes
  • Battlefield Play4Free
  • Battlefield Vietnam
  • Medal of Honor
  • Medal of Honor Warfighter

PunkBuster is not owned or operated by EA. We can’t overturn any bans or suspensions issued by PunkBuster.

To appeal a PunkBuster ban or suspension, you need to contact Even Balance directly.

To understand why PunkBuster has banned you, check for the code you received in the lists below.

Cheats or Hacks

PunkBuster will ban or suspend you if it detects a cheat or hack on your computer. The violation code numbers for cheats and hacks range from 5000 to 139,000.

  • #50000s - Aimbot
  • #60000s - Wallhack
  • #70000s - Multihack
  • #80000s - Gamehack
  • #90000s - “Cheat” Video Drivers
  • #100000s - Speedhack
  • #110000s - Autofire
  • #120000s - Game Hook
  • #130000s - Attempted PunkBuster Hack

If you’ve received one of these codes, you can fix it by removing any cheat software or hacks from your computer.

Integrity Violations

PunkBuster will ban or suspend you with an Integrity Violation if it suspects you’ve altered the game environment through modified game files or modified PunkBuster files.

The code numbers for integrity violations range between 10000-29999.


  • #111 - Bad Name
    • Try changing your player name or playing on a different server to help resolve this.
  • #112 - Too Many Bad Names
  • #113 - Too Many Name Changes
    • This is designed to stop you from spamming name changes.
  • #114 - Protected Name
    • This can mean that the name you’ve chosen is already in use or is reserved. You can also see this if you’re using symbols in your name. Switch servers or use a name made up of letters and numbers to fix this.
  • #121 - Negative Score Too Low
    • This means you’ve racked up too many friendly fire kills.
  • #151 - Extended ASCII Characters in Player Name
    • This one means you’re using unusual symbols instead of letters or numbers in your name. To fix it, try creating a simpler name with fewer special characters in it.
  • #9001 - Console variable (CVAR) value failed range check


To fix these, reinstall PunkBuster from the latest game update patch.

  • #101 - Communication Failure
  • #102 - Communication Failure
  • #131 - Initialization Failure
  • #132 - Protocol Error
  • #141 - Distress
    • These codes mean your game couldn’t connect to the Punkbuster servers or Punkbuster couldn’t install an update. If you see any of these, check your firewall settings, and make sure Punkbuster is fully updated and running properly.

If you see either of these messages while playing:

  • You've been kicked from this server by PunkBuster.
  • We couldn't keep you connected to this server because you have been kicked by the PunkBuster system.

Make sure that PunkBuster is running and fully updated.

If you keep seeing this error you may need to reinstall PunkBuster.

If you were kicked and didn’t see a message, follow the steps in this PunkBuster support article to find out how to see the kick reason in your logs.

PunkBuster is installed along with your game, but if you need to install it again, here’s how:

  1. Go to Even Balance’s Punkbuster site.
  2. Download PunkBuster Setup (PBSetup).
  3. Double-click on the downloaded file.
  4. Extract it when you’re asked to.
  5. Run the extracted file and agree to the license terms.
  6. When PunkBuster opens, click Add a Game, and choose your game from the dropdown menu:
  7. Menu option for how to add a game to PunkBuster.

  8. PunkBuster should auto-detect the game’s installation folder. If it doesn’t, click the Browse button and select the folder yourself.
  9. Click OK, then click Add Game to confirm.
    • If you’ve got more than one game that uses PunkBuster, add each of them individually.
  10. When you’re done, PunkBuster should check for updates automatically. If it doesn’t, click Update PunkBuster.
  11. Click OK on the pop-up window, and you’re done.

To update PunkBuster:

  1. Head to your game installation folder (For Battlefield 4, it’s C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\Battlefield 4 by default).
  2. Open the _Installer folder.
  3. Inside it, open the PunkBuster folder.
  4. Open the redist folder.
  5. Find and run pbsvc.exe to update or repair Punkbuster.

If you don’t have those folders:

  1. Click Add a Game.
  2. In the dropdown menu, choose your game.
  3. Click Add Game.
  4. Finally, before trying to run your game again, click Check for Updates.

Uninstalling PunkBuster

Remember, if you uninstall PunkBuster, you won’t have multiplayer access in your game until you reinstall it.

  1. Quit any game you have running.
  2. Follow the steps in this Punkbuster article.
  3. Restart your computer before launching your game again.

General troubleshooting

PunkBuster has three components it needs to run properly.

If you get Losing Key Packets kicks, make sure that PnkBstrA.exe, PnkBstrB.exe, and PnkBstrK.sys are all on the exceptions list of your firewall/anti-virus software. This will stop you getting communication errors, and will help with PunkBuster updates.

Playing on Steam?

Update the Steam launcher

We released an update through Steam to help with Battlefield 4 multiplayer access. If you haven’t restarted the Steam app in a while, you may not have gotten it yet.

To update it:

  1. Quit Battlefield 4 if you have it running.
  2. Exit Steam completely.
  3. Restart Steam and allow it to update.
  4. Try Battlefield 4 again.

If you’re still seeing problems after that, try repairing Battlefield 4 through Steam.

Install Punkbuster manually

If you’ve tried the workaround above and are still not able to join multiplayer, try downloading Punkbuster and installing it manually.

Playing on Origin?

Punkbuster is either out of date or not installed

To fix this, update or redownload and reinstall PunkBuster.

PunkBuster kicked player 'your name' (for 0 minutes) ... RESTRICTION: Service Communication Failure: PnkBstrA.exe

This one is usually fixed by reinstalling PunkBuster.

If you see a GAME HACK #89265 error and it’s blocking you from multiplayer

You might see this error if you’re running a program that Punkbuster misidentifies as cheat software. If you keep seeing this error, contact Punkbuster support to let them know about it. They should be able to help you fix the problem.

For help with PunkBuster errors and bans, contact PunkBuster support.

EA Advisors can’t help with or overturn PunkBuster bans.

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