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Thread: Win7 Hosts File

  1. #1
    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Hi Loungers, just how effective is the hosts file in Win7 ?
    As more experienced users will know, the first thing looked for after inputting a URL is the hosts file.

    Text copied from:- http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm
    What it does ...
    The Hosts file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. This file is loaded into memory (cache) at startup, then Windows checks the Hosts file before it queries any DNS servers, which enables it to override addresses in the DNS. This prevents access to the listed sites by redirecting any connection attempts back to the local (your) machine. Another feature of the HOSTS file is its ability to block other applications from connecting to the Internet, providing the entry exists.
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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roderunner View Post
    Hi Loungers, just how effective is the hosts file in Win7 ?
    Hi RR,

    I'd say it is as effective as the entries in the file. Thus, if you're using a hosts file that hasn't been updated recently there are probably a lot of malicious sites that will get past it. Due to your post I just used the HostsExpert program to update my hosts file to one dated 12/4/10 and set it to read only. I've been using this for quite a few years and had no known problems with it.
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    I think the hosts file is an holdout from a time when there wasn't even a windows. Back in the eighties, unix ruled and unix had this hosts file which was a lot more important back then, even because there really was no internet. Adding entries to the hosts file to be able to communicate with other machines by name was important then. I think Windows copied the concept, but I don't think the hosts file is that useful, these days.
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    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Hi RR,
    I'd say it is as effective as the entries in the file. Thus, if you're using a hosts file that hasn't been updated recently there are probably a lot of malicious sites that will get past it. Due to your post I just used the HostsExpert program to update my hosts file to one dated 12/4/10 and set it to read only. I've been using this for quite a few years and had no known problems with it.
    Thats my point in a nutshell, when was the last time Windows Host File updated ?
    In a previous topic, I told you I was using OpenDNS ( must be used with IP updater to work correctly )
    If using a hosts file, larger than 135kb it slows down PC's running Vista & W7.
    At present, I'm testing the hosts file from http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm without disabling DNS Client. I'm using the suggested alternate method from the same site as per my link.
    -
    Copied from same link:-

    Possible Workaround for using the MVPS HOSTS file and leaving the DNS Client service enabled (set to: Automatic)

    • If you find after a period of time that your browser seems sluggish with the DNS Client service enabled you can manually flush the DNS cache
    • Close all browser windows ... open a "Command Prompt" from the Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt
    • (type) ipconfig /flushdns (press Enter) Then close the Command Prompt ...

    A better Win7/Vista workaround would be to add two Registry entries to control the amount of time the DNS cache is saved.

    • Flush the existing DNS cache (see above)
    • Start > Run (type) regedit
    • Navigate to the following location:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\Dnscache\Parameters
    • Click Edit > New > DWORD Value (type) MaxCacheTtl
    • Click Edit > New > DWORD Value (type) MaxNegativeCacheTtl
    • Next right-click on the MaxCacheTtl entry (right pane) and select: Modify and change the value to 1
    • The MaxNegativeCacheTtl entry should already have a value of 0 (leave it that way - see screenshot)
    • Close Regedit and reboot ...
    • As usual you should always backup your Registry before editing ... see Regedit Help under "Exporting Registry files"
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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    RR,

    I also use OpenDNS but I haven't used their website to setup any account settings and thus don't need to use the IPUpdater program. Everything seems to run just fine on all 3 of my machines.

    Router Settings:
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    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    RR,
    I also use OpenDNS but I haven't used their website to setup any account settings and thus don't need to use the IPUpdater program. Everything seems to run just fine on all 3 of my machines.
    Router Settings:
    RG, If you don't open an account & use the updater you lose out on its security features.

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