Stupid Geek Tricks: Create a Shortcut to Quickly Edit Your Hosts File

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

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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.

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

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

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And there we are. Edit away!

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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.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/23/09
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