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Newbie questions about Hosts file


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#1 Capn Easy

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 04:25 PM

I have checked the FAQs and haven't found the specific info I was looking for. Please feel free to redirect me if the answers already exist.

I'm familiar with the Hosts file from my Unix days back in the early 80s. Back then it was a necessity just for everyday use. These days I (must) use Windows XP Home Edition SP3, and it's Windows that I don't know as well as I should (or would like to).

In reading "The Hosts File and what it can do for you," here at Bleepingcomputer the location of the Hosts file for Windows XP Home is listed as:

Windows XP Home c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

but when I open up to c:\windows\system32\drivers\ I don't have an "etc" directory. Before I assume that I should create the directory I thought I should ask.


Also, I have Spybot installed. I mostly use it for the TeaTimer, but I did use the immunize Firefox feature. This sounded a lot like a Hosts file. Does Firefox have its own Hosts file somewhere else that I should know about?


Thanks very much!

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#2 tos226

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:35 PM

Spybot adds entries to the HOSTS file if that's the setting you did. They put their entries at the end of the HOSTS file. Also they add entries to the restricted sites in IE.
etc directory may not be visible if your folder options are to hide system files Tools > Folder options > View > Show hidden files and folders or Hide Protected system files is on.

I can't comment on the Firefox question, I don't use it.

#3 Capn Easy

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:40 PM

Thanks.

I used "Tools -> Folder Options -> View" to "Show hidden files and folders." It looks like there is no "etc" folder.

#4 Capn Easy

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:47 PM

... But I DIDN'T tell it to un-hide protected system files! :flowers: Thanks! :thumbsup:



Now, can I merely rename (for safe keeping) the current Hosts file and add the MVPS Hosts file?

Thanks in advance!

#5 tos226

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:57 PM

I use hostsman to merge, and remove duplicates, the mvps files into hosts file. The old Spybot entries are retained (I don't use Spybot anymore)
http://www.abelhadigital.com/

It works well, you just click to update and it does it, backing up your current hosts as well.

Edited by tos226, 21 April 2009 - 07:58 PM.


#6 quietman7

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 09:56 AM

The HOSTS file is a text file that has no extension and can be viewed using notepad. At the top is an explanation of the simple syntax. Each line is an IP address, a domain name, and an optional comment placed after a # sign. A HOSTS file maps an IP address to a name. In Windows XP, 127.0.0.1 localhost is the universal IP address of all local computers and is the standard hostname given to the address of the loopback network interface which refers to the local computer only.

The original purpose of HOSTS files was to map the proper address to a site's name but now its also used for blocking purposes. The loopback address is used to stop web ads from displaying because 127.0.0.1 indicates home (the location of your computer) and whatever is redirected home will not leave the system. Anything that appears in your HOSTS file without an # at the beginning, except from the "127.0.0.1 localhost" line, should be viewed with suspicion. In Windows Vista the IPv6 localhost is ::1 localhost by default. To learn more about this, you can read Hosts File FAQS and LMHosts and Hosts files.

ē To view the folder containing your Hosts file, go to Start > Run and type: %windir%\system32\drivers\etc\

The Hosts file has as no extension. The easiest way to access and view the contents is by using notepad.
  • Double-click on the HOSTS file.
  • A message will appear saying Windows can't open the file or Choose the program you want to open this file.
  • Scroll down the list of programs until you see Notepad.
  • Select it and click OK.
ē To view the Hosts file in Notepad automatically, go to Start > Run and type: notepad %windir%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Spybot Search & Destroy: HOSTS file viewer
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#7 Synetech

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 11:51 PM

Itís possible to not have an ETC directory, but since it is present in even a minimal Windows installation, the question is what happened to it? It could be that a bad program erased it (although they usually add entries to the HOSTS file rather than remove it).

What you could try is to just enter the path (C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\ETC) into the address bar of an Explorer window. That will open it regardless of your folder settings.

Aside from the HOSTS file, there are also a few other files that provide standard networking information for the system in the ETC folder, so yes, you can create the directory if itís missing and put a HOSTS file in there, but you will also want to restore the other files as well.

SpyBotís immunization function can add entries to the HOSTS file which affects the whole system and entries to the Restricted Zone (in the registry) that affects IE, OE, etc. (and perhaps Chrome). It also adds some entries for Opera and FireFox that only affect those browsers. For FireFox, what it does is to add entries to some of its SQLite databases which are binary files.
****** *** ****** * ****; * ***** **** ** *** **** ******* *** ****** ************ ****.

-- Synetech




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