I enjoyed Battlefield 3 on Xbox, so I signed up for EA Origins and bought the PC version. However, every time I try to join an online match, Punkbuster kicks me from the game before the window even opens:

Game disconnected: you were kicked by Punkbuster. Stated reason: Punkbuster kicked player.

The message says "RESTRICTION: Service Communication Failure: PnkBstrA.exe". What does it mean? I've tried re-installing PunkBuster, Origin, and Battlefield 3. I'm running Windows 7 with only Steam, Silverlight, and mouse and game controller drivers. This is infuriating.

  • 1
    Sounds like something on your computer is blocking PunkBuster from communicating with the server.
    – Frank
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 22:22
  • Thanks fbueckert. Running PBSVC (suggested by Bora) showed that PnkBustrA.exe was blocked by Windows Firewall. Disabled it, and spent several minutes in a game before being kicked again with an error about PnkBusterB.exe unable to initialize. I'm closer to a fix. (-:
    – Steve HHH
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 3:26
  • 1
    Could you open this directory: /windows/system32/logfile/punkbuster and tell us what the log files say?
    – DrFish
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 16:03
  • Are you sure that you put in the BF3 disc before you stared to play? I also have had same problem but when playing with the disc wasn't kicked.
    – user47981
    Commented May 4, 2013 at 9:30
  • If the OP has bought the game for the PC using Origin, it is unlikely that they have a disc.
    – bcpettifer
    Commented May 4, 2013 at 9:56

7 Answers 7


(This assumes you have installed Punkbuster, and added Battlefield 3 to its games list.)

Download PBSVC and run it. If it claims everything is okay ( = green), try running BF3 again.

If BF3 still fails to communicate with "Punkbuster Service A", then, run PBSetup.exe and check whether you have the right path to your BF3.

PBSetup creates a subfolder for the games it registers, and remembers this subfolder's path.
If you have, for any reason, relocated the BF3 install, the service won't be able to validate the game, and fail to communicate.

As Steve himself pointed out, it might also be the Windows Firewall blocking the Service.

  • Thanks Bora. I downloaded PBSVC and it told me that PnkBustr.A.exe was blocked, so I turned off Windows Firewall. I was able to get into a game for a few minutes before getting kicked with an error about "PnkBustrB.exe not initialized." I removed and re-installed Punkbuster with the link from k1DBLITZ, making sure to select my BF3 installation folder, and now I don't seem to have either PnkBustrA.exe or PnkBusterB.exe running. Good old EA (+EB). I think the next step might just be to re-install Windows.
    – Steve HHH
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 3:22
  • have you (re)started service and retried? It is named PnkBstrA. You can run the Services Management Console via Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services
    – DrFish
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 10:01
  • 1
    I did restart the services, but after getting the PnkBstrB.exe error and removing and re-installing PunkBuster multiple times, I had neither PnkBstrA.exe nor PnkBustrB.exe in the service list any more. So I gave up, wiped the hard drive, and re-installed Windows 7 clean, with only the default options. A massive 10 GB download from Origin later, everything now works peachy-keen. Thanks for your great tips, Bora. Here's hoping that PunkBuster stays working after I re-install Steam.
    – Steve HHH
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 6:11
  • Something with the write permissions of PB in the BF3 install folder must have been borked. But, anyway, good to hear it works. +1 to @k1DBLITZ, too - the fastest help you get when you read the documentation properly.
    – DrFish
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 21:40

Try updating your punkbuster specifically for BF3.

Follow the steps outlined here: http://evenbalance.com/index.php?page=pbsetup.php

  • Thanks k1DBLITZ, my PunkBuster installation did not have the folder for BF3 set. Didn't solve the issue, but got me closer to a possible solution.
    – Steve HHH
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 3:23
  • 2
    Just to be sure, you did click the "check for updates" button after adding BF3, yes?
    – k1DBLITZ
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 14:38
  • Yes, and it did help. Great suggestion.
    – Steve HHH
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 23:12

Everyone says to uninstall and install the PBsetup.exe and run the pbsvc.exe. I did all that and still had the same problem of kicking me after a few minutes of play. The check ended good. I finally read what was in the pbsvc.exe window and was enlightened. I went to my services and found that pnkbstrA was running but pnkbstrB was not running. I started the service on B and haven't had the problem of getting kicked.
Hope that helps someone, as I was getting frustrated.


OS: Windows 7 64bit Game: Bf3 Problem: Getting kicked from Bf3 Error: PnkbstrA.exe error

If your getting kicked from Bf3 due to a PnkbstrA.exe error you may need to ensure that PnkbstrA.exe is in fact running. Check your processes list and check to see if PnkbstrA.exe and PnkbstrB.exe are listed along with checking services.msc to see if PnkbstrA.exe and PnkbstrB.exe are listed, if not due to following:

Go here (www.evenbalance.com/index.php) and read the FIRST PARAGRAPH, u'll see a link to the service installation program (called PBSVC). Download and run, PnkbstrA.exe and PnkbstrB.exe will then be installed correctly and running. You should be good to go after that.


This is what you have to do:

  1. Go to your bf3 folder
  2. Delete the pb folder
  3. Go to the installed folder and open pbsec.exe

Should now be fixed, hope this helped.


If you are using a different Windows User than what you installed bf3 on, you punkbuster will not update properly. So I changed back to my original user, and Voila! Punkbuster stopped kicking me.


I got the RESTRICTION: Service Communication Failure: PnkBstrA.exe message. I finally fixed mine after reading lots of forums, I did a few of my own things, some probably not needed, and others probably noobish, but in the end mine works! I did:

  1. Open windows firewall
  2. click advanced settings (on the left) and then inbound (also left)
  3. Find PnkbstrA.exe and PnkbstrB.exe (if you have two of both, it's fine)
  4. right click on each of them > properties > programs and services
  5. make sure that "all programs that meet the spesifications" is checked
  6. then go to the "Advanced" tab and check all 3 boxes. Domain, Private and Public.
  7. REMEMBER TO DO THIS FOR ALL PnkBstr Files. then save and quit.
  8. Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\Battlefield 3 and delete "Pb" folder.
  9. go to these 2 links:
  10. download and install both
  11. Run Pbsetup.exe (the first link)
  12. add a game (eg. bf3)
  13. check for updates.

This should help

PS: for some reason i can no longer launch bf3 from chrome after doing this so i used firefox. (this is not the first time i have done this, although the first time was not the same error.)

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