What Did I Do To You, Turbine?

So the past couple days, internet speeds in our house have been abysmal.  Like, dial-up slow bad.  After doing a couple speed tests and seeing ping numbers off the chart (well into the four digits) and upload/download speeds crawling, we got worried that our internet provider was throttling us or something happened to the service.

Today I spent over an hour with two different technicians trying to fix the problem, restarting the modem, testing each computer one at a time, only to discover that the issue was my computer.  The tech thought I had a virus or spyware that was eating up all of our bandwidth, and I ran a full series of scans to verify that it was clean.  Then we went into the processes and started shutting them down one at a time until we found the one that was crippling our internet.

Turns out, it was a program called Pando Media Booster (pmb.exe).  Disabled it and *poof*, my speeds are back to normal.

So how’d it get on my machine?  Google search for the program instantly turned up DDO and LOTRO as the top search results.

PMB is supposed to help with downloading large files (like MMOs), but there’s quite a few reports on it doing what it’s done to me — slowing a computer’s internet speeds down by running in the background and engaging in cloud computing without you knowing about it.  Some players have even labeled it malware.

Seriously, I didn’t know this was on my computer until today, and once I did, I found a nice FAQ on the DDO forums telling you how to get rid of it or disable it.  Nice to know.  I don’t mind downloader helpers, fine, but keeping it running without asking me about it and having it choke up my internet connection got me pretty ticked off.  Why is Turbine using this again?

Anyway, a general FYI — if you have this on your computer, at least go into msconfig.exe and uncheck it from starting up every time you turn your machine on.

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32 thoughts on “What Did I Do To You, Turbine?

  1. Just as an FYI, Pando Media Booster is in about every game you will be trying these days (or so it seems to me). And just out of my experience, removing it will slow some game download functions to a crawl. It’s the nature of the beast. Can’t win with or without it :P

  2. External 3rd-party “Download helpers” are generally nonsense and usually a bad idea. Most of them I’d classify as malware and many include spyware to track your browsing habits, etc..

    I understand things like WoW’s bittorrent client, or NCSoft’s tray app, but these are dedicated patch-related applications with distinct benefits like leveraging P2P for greater sppeed, or fetching patches early. I don’t know of any 3rd party download helper that actually does those things, instead they usually claim to be speed boosters for no apparent reason on typical http connections.

  3. It’s kind of obnoxious, but it’s not quite malware. You can also uninstall it from the Add/Remove Programs entry on the control panel. Just look for “Pando Media Booster”.

    Not sure why Turbine’s using it. It seems a bit shady, even if it is easy to uninstall.

  4. I’m surprised turbine is using it, I thought they used their own dedicated launcher. Pando you’ll find in almost all F2P games, its what they use as download launchers. Not sure how it works with DDO, but the cynical me wonders if turbine struck a deal with em to include it. SInce they already have a download manager, they dont need pando.

  5. I only have half-baked opinions, so take them with a giant chunk of salt. I wouldn’t exactly label them malware. They annoy people in the way that some of the well-known security programs annoy people (If you’ve played enough free-to-play MMOs you know I’m talking about X-trap and similar programs).

    I believe it comes down to money. Paying a third party to cover some aspect of your security or delivery isn’t really a bad idea, but it’s not the best either.

    I was very happy to see that both Runes of Magic and Allods use a bit torrent-like P2P client that seems to be totally in-house built and operated.

    I think they are a bit shady, because it’s not clear what kind of attachments or terms of service the third-party software is allowed to mandate.

    I definitely think there’s cleaner, more straight-forward ways of operating. I agree with Brian. I’m not sure why Turbine is using Pando. I think I’ve downloaded some other companies’ MMOs using it too. Can’t remember for sure but I know other games use it.

    Maybe they are just vying, behind the scenes, for some market space. Like they want to become the universal company that provides all games with this type of service. Who knows.

  6. I was wondering where I got that Pando thing… I thought I downloaded it as part of a software upgrade so I left it alone.

    Hmm…. now to figure out if I should disable it or keep it.

  7. Oh please..i have been a software developer since over a decade..it is maleware..no..it is spyware..there is no real reason for it to be on your pc. Yes, almost everyone is doing it, and no you don´t know about it. And because American law sucks balls and Blizzard won the law suit with their build in spyware (that is a fact) we all have to suffer.

    At last in Turbins case you actualy CAN uninstall it..that is not given with most games out there.

  8. Ouch.

    any idea what it is doing that consumes so much bandwidth? Perhaps using your computer to upload files to other users ina kind of peer to peer arrangement?

  9. Ugh that’s horrible. Classic example of poorly designed software. It shouldn’t be doing unnecessary things in the background when it doesn’t have to! Makes me wonder what exactly it’s up to…

  10. Kind of obnoxious? That is REALLY obnoxious.I am all for cloud computing and background downloading, but not at the cost of having my connection speed slow down to a mindless crawl. And I am especially not a fan of my computer being used as a cloud computing node without my consent.

    I understand why Turbine or Blizzard may use a background downloader. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t inform users about sapping their connectivity.

  11. Nice tip, thanks for the heads-up. I’d noticed that it installed when I last downloaded the DDO Hi-Res installer, but I wasn’t aware that it kept running, or that I could uninstall it and not break LotRO/DDO.

    Thanks!

  12. WHOA. I swore I was just going crazy and that my Internet speeds hadn’t changed. I need to check this out as soon as I get home, though, because that could explain a lot. Thanks, man.

  13. Wow, thanks for the info. I have that thing on my computer too, and knew it was related to DDO so I’d left it alone, but didn’t know what it did. My internet has been painfully slow for a while, and I just assumed it was AT&T yanking my chain again. I’ll have to disable this thing and see if that helps, I SHOULD have really fast internet.

  14. Pando was messing up my system a while back. I used CCleaner to get rid of it, and I’ve not had trouble with any recurring issues since.

    I might have to take a second look at my laptop, though, come to think of it…

  15. And there is was…the nasty bit of software…despite the fact that the producers of said software claim it is not malware, anything that parks itself on my hard drive without my permission I DO consider malware.

    Thanks so much

    Julie

  16. good info; thanks!
    ill have to lookout for that when i’m done with Allods and try ddo with my pals :)

  17. If I turn it off through msconfig, do I have to restart my computer to get it to stop slowing me down?

  18. My all time worst pet peeve is programs that install, what is best described as, sub-programs. It sucks when they’re there at all, it’s even worse when you have to go out of your way to stop them from running in the background (i.e. msconfig).

    Most of the time they don’t do much (just sit there) and you have to get quite a few for it to start affecting anything. It looks like you found a nasty one. Shame on Turbine.

  19. One easy way to tell what app is hogging bandwidth on a Windows 7 machine (possibly Windows Vista, not sure) is to open the Resource Monitor utility. Go to the Network tab and it shows you exactly what processes are using what amount of bandwidth and allows you to suspend and end the processes. It even shows the latency of the connection(s) that any given app is getting.

  20. I had the fortune of foreknowledge, so I knew what I was getting with the installer. So what I did was I throttled pmb.exe’s outgoing band with a traffic shaper.

  21. I know most of these posts are a few months old, but I just had to throw this out there: When you installed LotRO or DDO, Turbine DID tell you about Pando in the little thing called EULA that you have to agree to. In fact, it’s in the very top two lines stating clearly that Pando will be installed and will seed in the background unless you take steps to disable it. So, yeah, it’s a crappy deal, but don’t say you weren’t warned. Just because you sign a contract without reading it (or clicking AGREE on a EULA) doesn’t mean Turbine was pulling the wool over your eyes. You helped them do it.

  22. Pando is for real a big pandont it cost me 50 gb of my dload limit because it wasn’t functioning properly and would constantly access the internet in little 10-15 Kb sessions thus in 11 days i racked up 53 Gb along with normal usage keep an eye on this program its not bad but it will mess things up pretty bad if not kept in check.

  23. Yes this is a really crap software… effectively , it slow down your computer using all ressources …
    Just delete it on config pannel when download of Lord of the Ring online is finished …
    And Thankx Turbine for this piece of shit ^^

  24. I noticed it right off when I tried DDO but thats been months and I had forgotten. I disabled it immediately then. This time it took me two day to realize the problem-having seen the pando blip on install and decided to worry later play now. I remeber it ruining the internet on my dad’s computer-I break out the flamethrowers when it gets within 10 feet of my system. Couldn’t play flash games, ff was going nuts, hell ddo and lotro were lagging! Uninstall Pando: POOF! Clerics aint got shit on THIS kinda healing. Pando is a leech that occasionally poisons you. BURN THE FUCKER!

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  27. This installed for me through League of Legends (the only way I know is because it shows up as installed on the exact same date). It didn’t cause massive downloads (maybe because I played LoL very shortly), but I had noticed my internet was a little wonky these days. Not 100% sure that this was the cause of the issue, nevertheless both LoL and this POS are off my system.

  28. The program is designed solely to steal bandwidth. It’s actually based on the same types of software that have been used as viruses for at least a decade now, except updated to work along the lines of bit torrent. Officially, it’s purpose is to facilitate the download of your game, by leeching bandwidth off of other players, which it does… but what it also does is to set up your computer as a slave. Anything the operators of this program want your computer to transmit, it transmits. In my opinion, the fact that this program has been so widely spread through legitimate means is very very worrisome, as it could be used for much more malicious intents, essentially on a whim. It would take very little effort to weaponise this, as it’s essentially one of the largest botnets ever assembled.

  29. ty kevin for that info i was going to say the same thing plus if i delete panda booster will the download for update be slow i thought panda booster is suppose to make the downloades faster

  30. Looks like they have added something new now to annoy us even further: Happy Cloud Service!

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