How to change host file in Windows

On occasion, you will need to edit the hosts file on your machine. Sometimes because of an attack or prank, and others so that you can simply and freely control access to websites and network traffic.

hosts files have been in use since ARPANET. They were used to resolve hosts names before DNS. hosts files would be massive documents used to aide the network name resolution.

Microsoft kept the hosts file alive in Windows networking which is why it varies very little whether used in Windows, macOS, or Linux. The syntax stays mostly the same across all platforms. Most hosts files will have several entries for loopback. We can use that for the basic example for the typical syntax.

The first part will be the location to redirect the address to, the second part will be the address that you will want to redirect, and the third part is the comment. They can be separated by a space, but for ease of reading are typically separated by one or two tabs. localhosts #loopback

Now let’s look at accessing the hosts files in the different operating systems…


Windows 8 or 8.1 or 10

Open notepad using administrator rights.

Once you’ve done so, open up the following file using the File -> Open feature. c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts. Then you can edit as normal file.


Windows 7

To access the hosts file in Windows 7 you can use the following command in the Run Line to open notepad and the file.

notepad c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Once notepad is open you can edit the file. In this example, we will block Facebook. To do this just enter in the following after the # mark.

Now that you have edited your Hosts file make sure to save it.