Wondering how PunkBuster Services got on your computer and whether or not it is safe? In this guide, we’ve covered what PunkBuster Services is, how it likely got on your computer, and whether or not it is safe to keep.
If you’ve found a program called PunkBuster Services on your computer and you’re not sure of where it came from, you’re probably concerned over whether or not it’s a safe program to have on your computer.
The quick answer is that, it’s not harmful to your computer and it’s probably fine to uninstall it. But, in this guide, we’ll discuss how it likely ended up on your system and whether or not you should uninstall it.
1. What is PunkBuster Services?
PunkBuster Services is a computer program designed by Even Balance, Inc. that was made to help prevent cheating in online multi-player games. The program was developed by Even Balance founder, Tony Ray, after he was fed up with cheating in Team Fortress Classic.
The program was readily used in many popular titles, including some Battlefield games, some Call of Duty games, some Far Cry games, Assassin’s Creed 3, and many others. However, PunkBuster hasn’t been used in a game since Battlefield Hardline, which was released in 2015.
2. How Did PunkBuster Get on My Computer?
As mentioned above, PunkBuster was used to help combat cheating in popular online games like the Battlefield series and some older Call of Duty games.
So, if you used to play any game that used PunkBuster, or if you recently installed one of those older games, that is likely how PunkBuster ended up on your computer. To check a full list of games that currently use PunkBuster, keep scrolling down.
3. Is PunkBuster Services Safe?
If you’ve found PunkBuster on your computer, the program is running at all times. (Check your Services menu or task manager and you’ll likely see PnkBstrA.exe listed.)
However, PunkBuster probably isn’t using a lot of resources—if any at all—and it is not a virus. It is 100% safe to have installed on your computer.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to keep it on your computer…
4. Should I Uninstall PunkBuster Services?
As PunkBuster Services isn’t used in newer games, as long as you aren’t playing the older games that it is utilized in, you can remove it from your computer.
However, if you still play multi-player mode on older titles that use PunkBuster, you’ll want to keep it on your computer. Check the list of games that still use PunkBuster below.
5. How to Uninstall PunkBuster Services
If you don’t need PunkBuster, to uninstall it follow these steps:
- Type remove programs into the Windows search bar and hit enter
- In the ‘Apps & features’ window, scroll down and locate PunkBuster Services
- Left-click on it to highlight it and then hit ‘Uninstall’
6. List of Games that Use PunkBuster Services
If you’re unsure of whether or not you play a game that uses PunkBuster Services, the following list is all the games that still use the program:
- America’s Army Proving Grounds
- Battlefield 3
- Battlefield 4
- Battlefield Hardline
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2
- Blacklight: Retribution
- Far Cry 3
- Ghost Recon Future Soldier
- Medal of Honor
- Medal of Honor Warfighter
- Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
*NOTE: While most of these games still use PunkBuster, you may not need to keep PunkBuster installed on your computer to play them in single-player mode. However, if you want to play their multi-player online modes, you will need to keep PunkBuster on your computer.