Recently a friend tried to install Battlefield 3 after some years and was unable to install Punkbuster due to the error The extract file failed an autheticity check during the services install.

There’s no official solution or reason to this error. basically, Punkbuster services can’t be copied/installed or can’t run correctly.

First of all clean your system from every trace of PB software (regedit, services) and try an admin-install of the PunkBuster Setup (PBSetup) and the PunkBuster Service Installer (pbsvc).

If you keep getting the error, the installer can’t copy the services executables into the windows folder (or it’s copying a corrupt copy of them). We can force this manually moving these files.

You can obtain the PnkBstrA.exe and PnkBstrB.exe files successfully installing PB in another pc and then moving them. However, I’ve uploaded them here (last version avaiable, 02/07/2016).

Copy the two files in C:\Windows\SysWOW64 and run again the PunkBuster Service Installer (pbsvc).

Restart the PC and see if a Punkbuster service is running now (from services.msc)

If it’s still not working, register manually the services using

sc.exe create PnkBstrA binPath= "C:\Windows\SysWOW64\PnkBstrA.exe"
sc.exe create PnkBstrB binPath= "C:\Windows\SysWOW64\PnkBstrB.exe"

At this point you should have finally the Punkbuster services running fine.

Not sure if related or not but worth mentioning: after fixing this, some random errors started popping out (cnext.exe system error, program can’t start because msvcp120.dll is missing at the next startup) causing AMD control center to crash at startup. I simply reinstalled the related Visual C++ Redistributable Packages and that fixed all.