Hosts File in Windows® XP

Are you interested in knowing about the various benefits of a hosts file in Windows® XP?

A hosts file is a computer file used in an operating system to map hosts names to IP addresses, which in turn helps in tackling network nodes on a computer network. A hosts file is under the control of the local computer administrator. A hosts file in Windows® XP helps in controlling the ways by which the operating system finds websites. It also allows the user to increase the browsing speed and illustrate the format.

Following are the basic points that need to be kept in mind while working on a hosts file in Windows® XP:

  • Benefits of a hosts file in Windows® XP

  • Modifying a hosts file in Windows® XP

  • Problems with a hosts file in Windows® XP

Benefits of a hosts file in Windows® XP

A hosts file in Windows® XP allows you to block unwanted advertisements while surfing the Internet. While visiting websites, your local machine tries to resolve a domain name to an IP address via a hosts file. Therefore, by adding a number of entries to that file you can prevent your computer from performing that extra step of finding an IP address in a remote DNS server and this increases the browsing speed. A hosts file in Windows® XP also uses very few resources, thus preventing malware. In addition, its auto complete feature allows you to find websites by simply entering abbreviations or reference names.

Modifying a hosts file in Windows® XP

A hosts file in Windows® XP is simply a text file without any extension or hidden content. This feature makes it writable and so you can easily edit a hosts file with any text editor. You always have the option of modifying a hosts file in Notepad. For editing a hosts file in Windows® XP, simply replace the temporary IP address with your real IP and website address. Moreover, you can also add a description for each site after a ‘#’ symbol. This will allow your computer to look at your new website when you use your domain name.

Problems with a hosts file in Windows® XP

The main aim of a hosts file is to represent an attack vector for malicious software. However, this characteristic often poses as a threat as the file can be hijacked by computer viruses, which in turn redirect the traffic from an intended destination to sites hosting content that may be offensive or intrusive to you. Another problem that you can face is that Windows® XP is unable to detect a hosts file during the installation process.

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