Lock, Manage, Edit Hosts File in Windows 10/8/7

The Hosts file in Windows 10/8/7, is used to map hostnames to IP addresses. This Hosts file is located deep down in the Windows folder. It is a plain text file, and the size of the original default Hosts file is around 824 bytes.

Hosts File in Windows

In this post, we will see its location and also how to manage, lock or edit the Hosts file.

Host file location

The Hosts file in Windows is located at the following location:


Lock Hosts file to prevent hijacking

Imagine clicking on www.thewindowsclub.com and seeing a completely different website load in your browser. Malware can redirect Web addresses on your computer by altering your hosts file. This is referred to as the Host File Hijack.

To prevent Host file hijacks, you may navigate to it, right-click on it, select Properties and make it a Read-only file. This will lock down your Hosts file and prevent anyone or any malware from writing to it.

Block website using Hosts file

To block a website using the Hosts File, simply add the following entry:       blocksite.com

Although I do not do it, many users like to manually add entries to it in order to block the opening of one or more particular websites. Others, like to download and use List from well-known sources like mvps.org, to add entries which block malware sites from opening.

Edit Hosts file

If you need to edit the Hosts file, navigate to the following folder location:


Here you will see the Hosts file. Right-click on it and select Notepad. Make the changes and Save.

But sometimes, even when you are logged on with administrative credentials, you may receive the following error message:

Access to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\ hosts was denied


Cannot create the C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts file. Make sure that the path and file name are correct.

In this case, type Notepad in start search and right-click on the Notepad result. Select Run as administrator. Open the Hosts file, make the necessary changes, and then click Save.


While you can always manually manage or edit Hosts file manually, I would like to suggest that you use a third-party freeware tool like HostsMan to do it.

Hosts file in Windows 8

HostsMan is a feature-rich tool that lets you add, remove, edit entries in the Hosts file. It also lets you easily add third-party Hosts lists that help in blocking malware sites and lets you easily enable or disable the hosts file. It includes a built-in hosts file updater & a hosts editor. It lets you scan the hosts file for errors, duplicates, and possible hijacks – and also lets you create an Exclusion list. One more useful feature it offers is the Hosts file backup manager. Backup your Hosts file to a safe place and use it to restore it, should the need arise.

Hostman also lets you Flush DNS cache, open Hosts with a text editor, count the number of hosts, find duplicates, replace IP, scan hosts for malicious entries, rearrange hosts, manage DNS Client Service and more. In short, its the only Hosts Manager that you will even need. You can download it from its home page. SysMate Hosts File Manager is another tool that lets you do so.

How to manually reset Hosts file back to default in Windows may also interest you.

If your browser has been hijacked, you might find this post on Browser Hijacking and Free Browser Hijacker Removal Tools helpful.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. gail

    I need help with browser hijacking

  2. annoyed

    boy, this site sucks — it takes 50-75% cpu. done with MS products?

  3. Pranab Das

    Often windows host files have commented entries, e.g. # localhost; still, localhost is resolved by the DNS. Is it not wasting networking resources-i.e. having to check DNS to know I have to use a local port?

  4. Joe

    This line is commented out. There is no need to uncomment it. It is purely for explanatory purposes and you should not really do that

  5. Hestia

    I need to come back every few times because I keep forgetting the file path to the file. >_<

  6. akulkis

    Wrong. Any software writer who tries to connect to “localhost” needs an address. Why pester the DNS server when it’s not needed. Furthermore, by not including localhost in the hosts file, if a program wants to connect to a localhost port, and the computer is NOT hooked up to a working network, then the program won’t work as designed — because now there HAS to be a DNS lookup, which REQUIRES connection to a working network.





    belongs in the hosts file, WITHOUT a # comment marker.

  7. Still Out of Service

    I did get the denial to change the host file.
    I was unable to edit the allow list & did not want to dwnld anything to ‘help’.
    I opened msconfig, chose safe boot
    and changed the host file there, no problem

  8. Eden Hazard

    It’s useful, Thank you so much

  9. Tom Swift

    Wrong. Since Windows 7, dnsapi.dll has localhost, local machine, local and loopback embedded in its code. This is why the hosts file provided with Windows7+ has both the v4 and v6 localhost entries commented.

  10. Tom Swift

    Very true. It also ran on 300/110 split-baud modems. Times change and improvements are made.

  11. Mike Lile

    Are you Right Clicking the Notepad app and using ‘Run As Administrator’ to open the HOSTS file after you are done with ur msconfig edit?

  12. I broke my computer trying this. 🙁

  13. Couldn’t be because of this. At most you may not be able to connect to the Internet. Reset the Hosts file – https://www.thewindowsclub.com/how-to-set-the-windows-7-hosts-file-back-to-default

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