As a programmer that does a lot of work on web sites, I end up having to edit my hosts file far too often, and in Windows 7 or Vista, you have to use Notepad in Administrator Mode. Tedious.

My quick and easy solution to this problem is so simple that it barely deserves a full article, but we’re going to cover it anyway—basically, you just create a shortcut to edit the file in Notepad, and set the properties to always start as Administrator. The final step is to create that shortcut in the Start Menu, so it will be easily accessible with the start menu search engine.

Once you’re done, all you have to do is type hosts into the start menu, and you can edit the Hosts file.

Let’s Make a Shortcut! 

Open up the start menu folder—for those of you that might be new, we’ve covered how to easily open up the start menu folder in Windows 7. Then right-click and create a shortcut, with the following location:

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

Once you’ve created the shortcut, and make sure you give it a useful name like “Edit Hosts”, you should open up the shortcut properties, click the Advanced button, and then select the “Run as administrator” option.

Once you’ve done so, you can simply type hosts into the start menu to pull up the item…

You’ll be prompted to accept the UAC prompt, since you have to edit the hosts file in administrator mode.

And there we are. Edit away!

And yes, you might point out that you can simply change the permissions on the Hosts file to not require admin mode, but that would lead to a less secure system, since malware often tries to edit the hosts file.

Also, you might point out that this was such a simple and easy topic that I shouldn’t have bothered. But I did! Loss of geek points for me.

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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