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Forum >> Support >> Battlefield 2 » How to update PunkBuster
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Enlisted On: 31.01.2016

[LS] Rangers
14.08.2016, 17:20  Homepage

How to update PunkBuster

Post revision 2.8e - 18/06/2019

First, consider searching your error message in this thread: List of PunkBuster errors.
Then, try to manually update PunkBuster (as it does not officially support BF2 anymore), with the following method. It is the most complete and successful way I could find, but more techniques are listed at the bottom, under "Other ways to update it".

Step 1) Reinstall the PunkBuster Services

If you are being kicked with an error message regarding PnkBstrA.exe or PnkBstrB.exe, "This PB Server Requires (A1393 C2.306) - Error loading pbag", "No Packet Flow", and (sometimes manually updating helps with the Losing Key Packets 9005 / Service Communication Failure as well), start from here:
  1. Download the pbsvc.exe tool, directly from (backup here);
  2. Run it as an Administrator, choose "Un-Install/Remove PunkBuster Service" and click "Next".
    If you don't see the "Run as administrator" option, you can find other ways on this page;

    F.A.Q.: Why do I have to run it as an administrator?
    read more Show/Hide Spoiler
  3. Once it has finished, restart your Computer in order to free its memory from any trace of PunkBuster.
    It's merely a rule of thumb, but don't be lazy and just do it; wink
  4. Locate the pbsvc.exe file in your Downloads and run it again, always as an Administrator;
  5. This time select "Install/Re-Install PunkBuster Service" and click "Next";
  6. After the installation and the tests are done, you should see a "Tests completed successfully without error" message pop up, and the tests' output should look more or less like the following:
    read more Code
  7. After you are done with the next set of instructions too - Step 2) Manually update the PunkBuster Client files - don't forget to read the "FIREWALL & ANTIVIRUS" paragraph to make sure that both your Firewall and your AntiVirus have rules / exceptions that allow all the PunkBuster's executable files that I've mentioned;
  8. It is very important that you make sure to reboot your PC now, after the PB services have been reinstalled! No seriously, you must do it! amused
  9. Finally, as an additional confirmation - after you have rebooted your Computer - that the PunkBuster services have been installed correctly and are going to initialize properly when you boot the PC, refer to this article on the website, in particular steps 4 and 5 of the "Update PunkBuster" section.
    read more Copied here in case the web page is removed

Step 2) Manually update the PunkBuster Client files

Then update the PunkBuster Client files to the latest version that was released for Battlefield 2, which would be Client Version v2.306 | A1393. If you want to check what's your current version (out of curiosity), ...
read more read more

Complete the manual update process by following these last steps:
  1. Delete all the files and folders in the ..\Battlefield 2\pb\ folder, usually found under C:\Program Files (x86)\EA GAMES\.. (for 64 bit Systems) or C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\.. (for 32 bit Systems);
  2. Download a copy of this folder's contents from one of the following links: (backup) - (backup) - (backup);
  3. Copy the .zip archive and paste it in the - empty - ..\Battlefield 2\pb\ folder, then extract its contents there, in the same folder. You can delete the .zip archive afterwards, or move it somewhere else;
  4. Read the "FIREWALL & ANTIVIRUS" paragraph below this list.
    Double-checking that your Firewall is set up correctly is a good idea as well;
  5. Eventually, restart your PC again, just to be extra cautious. smile


In the end you should read this paragraph about your Firewall / AntiVirus and the quote that has been added at the bottom of this section as well (especially if you are experiencing the "Losing Key Packets 9005" issue).

Check that your Firewall has been configured correctly to have rules for "at least PnkBstrA.exe, PnkBstrB.exe, PnkBstrK.sys" (quoted from the "Losing Key Packets" paragraph), and that your AntiVirus has the necessary exceptions in case it is prone to block executable files from running / scan them in real time. All the folders - that I am aware of - where these files can be found, are written in the last paragraph of this section.

In order to add exceptions to your AntiVirus, you should read its manual online or search for instructions on google. About the Windows Firewall, you can find how to add programs to it in this guide: in particular you will have to click "Browse" in step 5, navigate to the folders written below and click on PnkBstrA.exe, then check both the "Private" and "Public" checkboxes. Then click "Browse" again and select PnkBstrB.exe this time, after browsing to the same folder, and check both the aforementioned checkboxes.

Repeat this procedure for the second folder as well, where you will find PnkBstrK.sys: add that file to your allowed programs as well. Finally remember to apply the changes by clicking the "Ok" button in the main Allowed Programs panel!

1° Folder: C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ (for 64 bit Systems) or C:\Windows\System32\ (for 32 bit Systems);
2° Folder: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\PunkBuster\BF2\pb\
(paste this second string as is it is, in the address bar of an Explorer window, because you might not be able to browse to this folder since it is hidden by default. You will have to enable "show hidden files and folders" in your Folder Options to be able to browse to that path, like a normal directory).

About that "Losing Key Packets 9005" error, you should also make sure to read the following spoiler:
read more Quote

Other ways to update it:

If you still have issues with PunkBuster, and the main way listed above does not work for you,
try to read these useful threads or posts.

Each one of them has been personally hand-picked by me because it discloses different approaches (or points to alternative file downloads) in order to perform the manual update process; so you will surely find a way of doing it that works for you.
  1. Editing the pbgame.htm file (read last post), fix suggested by LOCHATRONAS and Hayato.
  2. The same as above, but scripted, (you might have to use the "PBsetup" file present in the Downloads page - dead link, backup here!);
  3. Head to the .\Redist\PunkBuster\ folder and run pbsetup.exe (download here).
    read more More info
  4. Download pbsetup+legacy.rar 3.35 MB (backup here), unpack it somewhere and run pbsetup.exe. Read the "More info" spoiler above for additional informations, as well as the "Readme.txt" file inside the archive. Do not trash the .zip archive because you may need the original zipped files in the future (because the extracted files will be changed after you use them: read the bottom of the "More info" part above to understand why);
  5. Download yet another copy of the "pb" folder and then use DIESoft to repair yours.
    (outdated method, software no longer supported by its author Air-Zen)
  6. Use the Revive Launcher's "Advanced Mode" to update some of the PunkBuster Client files. I wrote "some" because I actually tested it and it just updated some .dll files and only the wa001393.htm and wc002306.htm files. (Revive BF2 Launcher Phoenix V4 has been replaced long ago, but you can still get its files here if you really want to. *it's not necessary for this tutorial)
Other useful web pages, with additional informations or file downloads:
  1. - contains informations on how to fix the "Can’t Initialize PnkBstrB.exe" error, by starting the PnkBstrA and PnkBstrB services in the Windows Services console (services.msc);
  2. - contains several Frequently Asked Questions about the PunkBuster Services and the PunkBuster software as well. (Although this FAQ webpage has been revamped and it's not the same as it used to be. The old version can be found over here - dead link);
  3. - contains lots of legacy files to download, for Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 and for Linux and Windows as well;
  4. - is the copy (probably done by Livius) of the old Battlefield 2 support webpage on the website, which unfortunately has been deleted. The PunkBuster files are still on their website though, here.

Did you find this post helpful? Let me know by thanking this post: click >> Thank You <<
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Given By: StarLine
2000 Posts
Enlisted On: 30.01.2016

[LS] Rangers
15.08.2016, 01:06 

Thank-you for this guide and your hard work to help this community! smiling
Given By: S_h_a_r_k_93
3831 Posts
Enlisted On: 31.01.2016

[LS] Rangers
15.08.2016, 01:48  Homepage

5tarLine wrote:

Thank-you for this guide and your hard work to help this community! smiling

Likewise, for picking me up at the start. smile
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3831 Posts
Enlisted On: 31.01.2016

[LS] Rangers
17.11.2017, 22:24  Homepage

Thread cleaned up of dead links and outdated parts; the main procedure stays the same though. In case there are any unclear parts, or you face any difficulties, just add a reply!! smiling

Staff Officer Italy S_h_a_r_k_93
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Given By: StarLine
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