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Frederick S.
Frederick S., Computer Specialist
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 8694
Experience:  Computer technician and founder of a home PC repair company.
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How do I access the Windows System32 Drivers etc HOSTS file

Resolved Question:

How do I access the Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\HOSTS file to delete it? I'm a beginner with computers.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Computer
Expert:  Frederick S. replied 6 years ago.
Hi! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to assisting you with this and providing you with the information you need.

You should not delete the HOSTS file... you can clear out entries from it, though.

On Windows XP, you can go to:

C --> Windows --> System32 --> Drivers --> etc

Then in the etc folder, you can edit the hosts file there.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
but I'm trying to get rid of Personal Shield Pro, and deleting that file is part of the instructions. I also don't understand your directions of C --> Windows --> System32 > Drivers --> etc. And unless there are specific instructions there, I wouldn't know how to edit those files. I'm new at this -- remember?
Expert:  Frederick S. replied 6 years ago.
I'm sorry you aren't familiar with navigating folders in Windows. Start menu --> My Computer --> C Drive... etc...

If you need instructions on how to remove Personal Shield Pro, it would've been best for you to ask for advice on that instead. I'll provide you with instructions on how to remove it.

Please click on (download) and run Rkill from the following link which will terminate known bad processes and reverse a lot of harmful/unusual settings changes:

You will want to click on the link that says “iExplore.exe Download Link” and select Open or Run. Once you start running it, it should take less than 1-2 minutes to run.

Then, please go to this page:
(Type exactly as it appears if you cannot click it)

and download Malwarebytes for free. Simply click on Download file under the download link and forum link. Download, save, and run (install) it. You do not have to pay for the program at any time. It may prompt you for a trial; click “Decline”. Malwarebytes will then download updates, and then run the Quick Scan (Perform quick scan > Scan) and "Remove Selected" if it finds any items.

Let me know how it goes; thank you.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Sorry I didn't ask for the advice on Shield Pro, but I've been at bleeping computer and have already done what you just suggested. Now I'm stuck as per the 1st question. Instructions say that this infection changes the host files (whatever those are) and need to be deleted, then download a different host file for XP.
Expert:  Frederick S. replied 6 years ago.
You don't need to download a different file, and twice I have given you the instructions on where to go. If you want to delete the HOSTS file, go ahead, although there's no need and I do not recommend it. Again, here's what you need to do -

Start menu --> My Computer --> C Drive (double click) --> Windows (double click) --> System32 (double click) --> Drivers (double click) --> etc (double click). HOSTS is located in that folder.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'll try it. I'm not a stupid person, just stupid about computers
Expert:  Frederick S. replied 6 years ago.
No problem; let me know if you still run into issues.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm in the host files, and I chose Internet Explorer. Have no idea what to do next as the terminology is completely foreign to me.
Expert:  Frederick S. replied 6 years ago.
Hi - I thought you just wanted to delete the file. If you want to open it up, simply right-click --> Open With ... Choose/select program --> Notepad.

I have answered your initial question, so feel free to click ACCEPT at this time - thanks!

Frederick S. and 6 other Computer Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'll take your advice and not delete it and hope that this gets rid of the infection. Thanks for your help.