Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Glendora, California
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Rogue Registry file: where are you?

    Hi Guys
    I play the video game Battlefield 1942. I have been playing this game since it came out. I’m a real die hard. Every once in a while I start crashing to the desktop and the only thing that seems to fix it is to uninstall and reinstall the game. I’ve done this about 12 times over the years not counting PC upgrades where I have to do a fresh install. Recently the game has been crashing to the desktop on map changes. It got so bad that I can’t connect to a game server now. So I figure I have corrupted game files and need to do the old uninstall/reinstall to get back to normal.

    I now have Windows 7 OS and have successfully uninstalled and reinstalled the game a couple of times but today I’m having problems. After uninstalling the mods Desert Combat Final and Desert Combat v7 the uninstaller for the main Battlefield 1942 game went south. The icon looked normal but clicking on it didn’t work. So I deleted the game from the 32 bit Program Files Folder and I deleted the “Start”/”Programs” /EA Games/ folder.

    I used the app “RegCleaner” to remove the software registry “connections’ in the registry. I’ve been using “RegCleaner” for many years now to “manually” remove programs out of the registry when the “uninstaller” fails or doesn’t properly remove the registry files for an uninstalled program.
    RegCleaner has a feature that when you install a program, those freshly installed registry file settings display as “New”. So what I do is keep a record of the registry files that each newly installed program created. I make a screen shot and keep those screen shots in a folder for reference when I want to verify that the uninstaller completely removed all registry files that were created when the program was installed or upgraded. It’s a little time consuming but I like it.

    Now for the problem….. Since “PunkBuster” was discontinued a couple of years ago for Battlefield1942 the work around is to manually install PunkBuster Apps from game websites. I use “TanksPB update.exe” There are many that work.

    My problem is that I have a Phantom PunkBuster file showing up on the Task Manager’s “Services Tab” that shows the Status “Stopped” and on the “Services” Maintenance section. They should not be there.
    On the Folders Options I have Hidden files and Folders “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” checked and “Hide protected operation system files” unchecked so that I can search all files.
    I did a search of “C drive” for “PnkBstr” which located 2 PunkBuster folders and PnkBstr A.exe file and PnkBstr B.exe file. I deleted both folders and PnkBstrB.exe . I had to go into “Safe Mode” to delete the“PnkBstrA.exe file.

    So I found all of the physical files and folders but I have a stray Registry File that is preventing me from doing a new install. The Battlefield installer “sees” and reports that PunkBuster is already installed and creates a situation that won’t allow me to install the game. I get a message that “Maintenance” has completed when I click Install on the game’s installer.

    So I have a rogue registry file that is displaying “PnkBstrA” on the Task Manager Services Tab which apparently is blocking Battlefield1942 from installing properly and under “Services” there is also a “PnkBstrA” file name that the rogue registry file is displaying. I disabled it but no help installing Battlefield1942.

    The “Properties” dialog box shows that the Path to the executable is C:\Windows\system32\PnkBstrA.exe which I have already deleted as a result of my search and removed/deleted that file from the recycle bin. As I said before I had to delete that file in safe mode. But I didn’t stop the service before I deleted it. I don’t even know if it was running at the time since the PC was in safe mode. I had not thought to look at the task manager’s services tab yet or look at the Services Maintenance page yet. I looked after the game failed to install. I never had this problem before. Maybe all of my installs on Windows 7 were because of new/upgraded hard drive or SSD. I didn’t have this problem on Windows XP.
    So can somebody tell me where in the registry that rogue file may be? Which HKEY should I look in?
    I have looked around in the registry and made some changes before so I am familiar with moving around in the registry. I’ll make a backup of the registry and save it to “C:/” drive’s root before I make a change of course.

    I appreciate any help anyone can offer. Sorry for the length of this problem.
    Jimmy

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    12,625
    Thanks
    161
    Thanked 932 Times in 853 Posts
    Have you performed a search of the registry using the Edit, Find for the pnkbsttra string. I might abbreviate it to pnk or bstra or some such as well.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  3. #3
    Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    1,168
    Thanks
    44
    Thanked 134 Times in 115 Posts
    The Services Tab of Task Manager shows a rogue service, but that it is stopped. That doesn't necessarily mean the software for that service is installed, just that there is a registry key still lurking. So, follow Ted's tip to try to locate the key that has loaded the service.

    On the same vein, you mention that clicking Properties shows a path to the executable. Is that on the Processes Tab? - I don't think a service has a path. If it is on the Processes Tab in Task Manager and it has a memory allocation and a process identifier, then it exists and has been loaded from the path that is pointed to in the objects' properties.

    In the properties of the object, can you check the size on disk, and the Created, Modified and Accessed dates - do they make sense given the deletion of the file? In the Properties Window under Security, are there any special permissions set - do you, in your user account, have full permissions to access the file. The reason for all that is that I think the service is an anti-cheat mechanism, so may it be protected?

    Lastly, I encountered something similar a while back where a file was reported as present, but I could not access, delete it or take ownership of it. Booting from a Linux Live CD I was able to verify the file was not physically present. Running sfc /scannow from a elevated command prompt fixed an error in the NTFS index. Maybe you have something similar - try the sfc /scannow and see what it brings up.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

  4. #4
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Glendora, California
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Hi Guys
    Thank you for your help and support.

    Ted, I have to tell you that I didn’t know about the Edit function on the registry. I’ll have to keep it in mind.

    I fixed my problem this morning using CCleaner but I did a “search” using Edit and no results showed up. I did a search for “Battlefield1942” and I found the software section. As I was looking around I realized just how complicated the registry is. My experience with it has been to follow written instructions from others for a tweak.

    Can you recommend a book to read to learn more about the registry so that I may gain more knowledge about it?

    Using “CCleaner” you click on the “Tools” icon and “CCleaner” displays programs that are installed on your PC. This is just like the program I use called “RegCleaner” but “RegCleaner” didn’t show the “PunkBuster” registry file while “CCleaner” did. I just deleted that file from the registry and I was able to install “Battlefield1942” normally again.

    “RegCleaner” is a very old App/program that has been around since Windows98 I think. It still works but “CCleaner” displayed the “PunkBuster” file.

    Tinto Tech, in regards to showing the Path to the executable that is on the “Services” page, please excuse my lack of proper terms to describe what I am talking about. The only way I can explain it is to guide you to it. I don’t know Windows terms well enough to tell you in any other way. Please excuse me again.

    Click “Start” and type “service” in the “Search programs and files” window. The result I got showed Programs (2) entries and Control Panel (9) entries. Either click on the 2nd Program entry called “Services” or click on the 1st entry of the Control Panel section called “View local services”. Both will take you to the same place.

    A window opens named Services with gears as its icon. Right click on a “Service” that you want to investigate and then click “Properties”. On the “General Tab” just above the “Startup Type:” window is the “Path to executable:”
    That will show you where the software executable file resides on your PC.

    On the “Startup Type:” window I disabled the “PunkBuster” file but that didn’t matter to the “Battlefield1942” installer. It apparently just saw the files presence and displayed that “PunkBuster” was already installed and caused the miss install.

    So thanks to both of you guys I learned some things for future reference and I hope I may have done the same.
    BTW, my name is really Ted but that was taken as a user name so I use my cousins name that I always liked.

    Best to All
    Jimmy
    AKA Ted

  5. #5
    Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    1,168
    Thanks
    44
    Thanked 134 Times in 115 Posts
    Glad you got it sorted.

    For more information on the registry, take a look through Technet: here for example (it refers to Win NT, but hasn't changed much and may give you pointers to more recent articles). Sysinternals provides a range of tools for working with the registry. Whenever you make a change to the registry, you should backup it up first and consider taking a full system image too.

    Re the path to the service executable: no problem, I thought you were still looking at Task Manager rather than having switched to the Services MMC Snap-in.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    12,625
    Thanks
    161
    Thanked 932 Times in 853 Posts
    I'm also glad you got it sorted out. I did not recommend CCleaner since you already use a Reg cleaner. I use CCleaner quite a bit for Temp file cleaning. When I uninstall apps I do run the reg cleaner, but very carefully, only cleaning the items specific to the app I uninstall. You can do a lot of damage in the registry. As always I would definitely recommend creating and maintaining up to date Images of your complete system when playing with these type apps in case something really bad happens.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •