If it doesn't find the domain name there, it looks it up using your Internet Service Provider's (ISP's) domain name server (DNS).
Thus, altering the Hosts file can make Internet sites unreachable by misdirecting packets intended for one Internet site to the wrong place (the wrong IP address).
# # For example: # # 1.97 com # source server # .10 com # x client host 127.0.0.1 localhost x.x.x.x my.hostname1 #x.x.x.x my.hostname2 x.x.x.x is my actual IP.
This file is loaded into memory (cache) at startup, then Windows checks the Hosts file before it queries any DNS servers, which enables it to override addresses in the DNS.
This prevents access to the listed sites by redirecting any connection attempts back to the local machine.
After testing is complete, don’t forget to delete, or comment out, these entries in your hosts file to avoid confusion.
In return, you’ll get echos of the ping that return from the IP address associated with the domain you’re pinging.
The steps for investigating and cleaning the Hosts file: Here are the standard Hosts file locations: Windows XP & Vista: C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC Windows 2K: C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC Win 98\ME: C:\WINDOWS First, locate the Hosts file; it is a file named "Hosts" with no extension. Now, right-click in the clear space to the right of the Hosts file and select paste.