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Strange COD2 + Punkbuster Issue

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I bought a copy of COD2 so I could play with my clan online a while back. We play a mod for the game (Merciless 2) on our server. I've downloaded and installed the 1.3 patch

The game itself seems to be perfectly fine (I don't experience any undue lag or errors, nor do I get booted from servers for weird reasons), except for one major headache issue: Punkbuster settings get turned off, and turning them on crashes the game, right at the multiplayer options screen. I've tried a couple ways of fixing this. I've downloaded the most recent stuff from evenbalance. I've tried it in safe mode, and I've tried filtering servers to match. The only thing that works is to uninstall and then reinstall the game. There has to be a better way.

Here's what I know:

I'll load COD2 MP, and select my profile. Try to join the clan server. Get the "punkbuster must be enabled" box. Go into Multiplayer Options and change the "Punkbuster?" line from "No" to "Yes." Then the screen turns black and the game closes. When I load it up again, Punkbuster is still No. Trying the game in Safe Mode causes it to do the same thing, except I can see the Punkbuster? line flip itself back to No just before the game crashes.

Here's what I suspect:

It might involve something with the Single Player game. I finished Single Player before I started playing Multiplayer, so I hadn't downloaded the 1.3 patch or even the Merciless Mod. But, my dad plays the single player. Its only happened twice (so far) but he's only played the game since I started playing multiplayer that many times.

So, is there something I can do to stop this? I've already uninstalled/reinstalled twice this week (once monday, once today) and I don't envy doing it a third time.
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what I recommend is to uninstall the game. delete the install folder. reboot and then reinstall the game. apply the patches. check to see if pb is enabled and downloads is turned on. Join your server and see what happens.

your settings for the game are stored in the mpconfig file. You have one in the main install folder and one in your profile. Often settings wont stay applied until you manually edit both files to contain the settings. Also make sure you are playing the game in administrator privliages
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