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Windows 7: HOSTS file add-ons - what's your take?

27 Jan 2018   #1

HOSTS file add-ons - what's your take?

As most of you know, the HOSTS file (C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts) can be loaded with lists of dodgy domains that tells Windows to avoid.

What's your opinion about using the HOSTS file this way? Some lists have over 40,000 entries.

If you do use these lists, whose is the best?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jan 2018   #2

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

The hosts file dates back to the earliest days of the Internet when it was arpanet. It's purpose is to associate names with IP addresses, what DNS now does. A large hosts file has been known to cause performance problems. Many have found it necessary to disable the DNS client in services. This means all DNS requests will have to go to a DNS server rather than being resolved from the local cache.

I have not used a hosts file for this purpose. All I know is from Internet searches.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jan 2018   #3

Windows 7/8.1/10 multiboot

I've been customizing my hosts file for around 15 years. For almost 10 years now I've used the one from To that I've added a few more entries, principally URLs that seem to be solely devoted to Microsoft telemetry. As LMiller7 mentioned, to improve performance I've also set "DNS Client" to "Manual" in services.msc.

Below are screenshots of the same page rendered on a machine with the default hosts file (left) and a machine with my custom hosts file (right). It's obvious to see a couple of ads that were blocked, and there were more further down the page. The page on the right loaded about 10 times faster than the one on the left. I would not run without a custom hosts file on my main machine.

Attached Images
HOSTS file add-ons - what's your take?-hosts-blocking.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Jan 2018   #4

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit 7601

I was using my hosts file to block stuff for probably close to 20 years, But for the last year or so I have switched to running my own DNS server's (2) on my local lan using a neat project called PiHole.

One DNS server is is running on a virtual machine and the other is running on an old crappy laptop.

Links to Pihole:
GitHub - pi-hole/pi-hole: A black hole for Internet advertisements
Pi-hole Userspace
A subreddit dedicated to Pi-holeĀ®
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 HOSTS file add-ons - what's your take?

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