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Old March 3 2009, 07:34 PM   #1
Plecostomus
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Computer Question: Hosts File

Every so often no matter where I'm at my connection craps out. It takes everything down with it (Firefox, Messenger, Collaborate 3D) , but strangely enough running the diagnostic tool for Messenger corrects it.

Every time it goes through it's routine and comes up with the answer, involving a problem with "name resolution" and the "hosts file."

Clicking repair makes the connection work again.


So first of all what is it talking about and second what would be causing my "hosts file" to become encrapulated to the point it needs to be repaired every so often?
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Old March 3 2009, 07:45 PM   #2
Sledder
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Re: Computer Question: Hosts File

Your Hosts file shouldn't really have any information in it on a standard computer. Sometimes spyware puts stuff in there to mess with you.

Back in the old days we used to use the host file all the time, before offices had DNS or WINS servers.
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Old March 3 2009, 07:54 PM   #3
Plecostomus
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Re: Computer Question: Hosts File

Thanks.

That means I got something running on here, time to get technical.
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Old March 3 2009, 08:25 PM   #4
Noname Given
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Re: Computer Question: Hosts File

Sledder wrote: View Post
Your Hosts file shouldn't really have any information in it on a standard computer. Sometimes spyware puts stuff in there to mess with you.

Back in the old days we used to use the host file all the time, before offices had DNS or WINS servers.
Actually, the default HOSTS file will ave info in it - a brief text blurb or how to add domain names to it; and it'll have the default 'localhost' loopback info too.

If it has anything beyond that, you may have a bit of spyware or a virus; but nowadays, hackers have gotten away from using the more obvious exploits. Get a good, reputable Virus and Spyware scanner and give your PC a once over and see what comes up. If you find you can't install, run or update that software, then you do probably have something.

But, remember, once your internet connection drops, you lose all DNS; and if you were connected when that happens, your PC will then look at your HOSTS file to see if it can resolve the hostname for a site; and if it can't then you'll see that error.

Some ISPs actually rotate their DNS servers; requiring that your modem renew and get assigned a new DNS adddress after a certain length of time. It's possible that somethine that glitches; and when you loose DNS you're actually STILL connected to the internet; but you don't have a DNS server connection that (for example) translates the name 'trekbbs.com' to it's actual IP addres of 67.225.136.218 (and no, it's not magic that gave me the trekbbs IP - just a good old 'ping' command.

Everything on the internet actually uses that numeric TCP/IP address to talk to each other what the DNS (Domain Name Servers) do is have a table that 'translates' a domain name to its proper numeric TCP/IP address; thus if tou LOSE a DNS connection; typing "http://trekbbs.com" would get you a 'page can't be found error on your browser; BUT typing "http://67.225.136.218" WOULD get you to the main page (although the ads and anything else that needs DNS still wouldn't work/display).

Basically, what the HOSTS file is (and was in the 'old' days) was effectively a local DNS that the OS could use to resolve domain names into their propper addresses. Your PC will usiually check that file first before it goes out to a DNS over the internet, which is why hackers used to try and drop entries into it.

Thus ends, "Internet 101 and you"

Last edited by Noname Given; March 3 2009 at 08:46 PM.
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Old March 3 2009, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: Computer Question: Hosts File

Thanks for the information.

Now, I opened the hosts file and it is FULL of stuff added by Spybot Search And Destroy.... And the file is HUGE, about 30 pages in Word.

The shear size of the file wouldn't be causing an issue? I know that stuff was added by Spybot as part of it's immunize process... As the list of nastiness gets longer so does the hosts file... I guess.
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Old March 3 2009, 09:02 PM   #6
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Re: Computer Question: Hosts File

I think my ad blocker uses the hosts file somehow. I think. I also think Spybot "immunizes" it against spyware. Not sure what exactly it does though!
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