Pnkbstra.exe | The PunkBuster Service Component

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If you just opened your task manager just to check how things are going then came across this pnkbstra.exe, an executable file you do not recognize, what should you do?

In this article, we explore everything you need to know about this pnkbstra.exe file – what it is, what it does, whether it’s safe or harmful if you should remove it or not, and how to remove it (when necessary).

What is Pnkbstra.exe?

PnkBstrA is short for PunkBuster Service Component, and it refers to a downloadable cheat-detection application/ utility for multiplayer’ online video games. It is used in PC games such as America’s Army, Far Cry 3, Battlefield 2 or Call of Duty.

The application was developed by Even Buster, and PnkBstrA.exe is an important component of PnkBstrA Client.

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About Even Balance Inc.

Founded in 2010 in Austin, Texas, Even Balance Inc. is the licensing company for the application to interested publishers and game developers.

Upon PnkBstrA.exe’s installation, this application will automatically launch every time you start up your computer. Upon the startup of your computer, the application also connects to the internet immediately; in the process, it prevents players from cheating in any of the online games.

PnkBstrA, therefore, works as an anti-cheat program by monitoring processes in the background, discreetly as you play any of its supported games. PunkBuster provides players with a real-time kernel-based protection system featuring both permanent and dynamic scanning of the multiplayer systems using generic detection or heuristic. 

Besides working as a deterrent against cheating, the application also monitors and detects the use of hacks for the enhancement of gameplay in the different multi-player online matches.

For all these PunkBuster has background scripts and updates, as well as administrative tools that will take screenshots, run live streams, and manage your ban list. On PunkBuster’s server-side, PunkBuster sometimes allows its players Admin privileges to resolve issues among players.

Note that PnkBstrA.exe is a non-essential process in Windows meaning that you could disable it if it causes problems or if you no longer play the associated online games. 

 While this non-essential file is likely to cause few issues to your computer system if it’s a genuine file, things change quite fast when it turns out that you are dealing with a virus or spyware masquerading as a safe executable file for the online games. 

You could tell whether you are dealing with a genuine PnkBstrA.exe file or not by checking the file’s location. If yours is a legitimate .exe file, you will find it in your C:\Windows\System32 folder where it’s available in about 6 or more variants.

As a Verisign-signed executable file, it has no file information, which means that the program does not have a visible window. Even so, the file carries a digital signature.

As we mentioned above, the file will connect to the internet via your network whenever you start up your computer – the reason for this is that the PnkBstrA.exe bears a digital signature.

This application will, therefore, listen in and send data on your open ports through the internet. Given this design or development feature of the application, PnkBstrA.exe has a high-security rating which, according to, stands at 49%. 

Is PnkBstrA.exe a Safe File? Should You Remove It?

PnkBstrA.exe will listen for information and send data over the internet. In our books and those of others (mentioned above), this PnkBstrA.exe is not the safest file in your computer system. 

And even though the file is necessary for online multigame players, you might want to remove it if you wish to protect your files or if you no longer have no need for the file having stopped playing the associated games. 

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When is PnkBstrA.exe Not Safe?

The main reason why you should consider removing the file is if it’s corrupted. If this file is corrupted, but you need it for your next game, consider fixing the issue and then reinstalling it. Otherwise, its permanent removal is essential.

Removal is also necessary if it turns out that the file is eating up too much of your CPU’s power or RAM. Note that the dangerous security rating of the file goes up if the location of the file is in a different folder or subfolder other the one mentioned above.

What this means is that you should take immediate actions if the file is in the C:\Program Files subfolder or in the C:\Windows subfolder instead of the C:\Windows\System32 folder.

The PnkBstrA.exe file is also quite unsafe if you suspect a malware or virus infection. With most malware camouflaging as genuine PnkBstrA.exe files, for example, trojans and viruses, a suspicion of malware, virus, or trojan should necessitate immediate removal of the file.

How to Remove It?

1. Scan for Viruses

To confirm or set to rest your suspicions about the file, the best (smartest) thing you should do is to run a scan for viruses. For the scan, you need to find and use the best antivirus and anti-malware tools. You could also use a malware scanner.

2. Uninstall the Infected/ Affected PnkBstrA.exe Variant

You cannot leave anything to chance. If you suspect an infection and if those fears are confirmed, you must remove the affected file. To remove the file, go to the Uninstall Programs option in your computer’s Control Panel and then click on the Uninstall program option. Next, select the file named Medal of Honor Airborne. 

3. Update your operating System

Before you download and the install new updates for your operating system, you might want first to check the security risk your system is exposed to. You could do this in your system’s task manager.

Once you confirm your fears, you might want to update the operating system. Installing new updates for your system is the best way for you to protect your computer system.

4. Update your Drivers 

Even with pre-loaded programs, the drivers of the computer require new updates for optimal function, and system security. A tool like the DriverDoc will help you apply new updates to your computer.

Don’t forget to run a clean restart of the system after the update.

And now, you know all you need to know about PnkBstrA.exe, and you also know how to fix issues associated with the file. If you are an online gamer, the updates and scans will help you a great deal!

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