How to unblock malware-blocked anti-virus sites

Written by kaia liamson
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How to unblock malware-blocked anti-virus sites
(virus alert image by Pontus Edenberg from Fotolia.com)

When your computer is infected with a virus, troubleshooting becomes extremely difficult. It's even more frustrating when that malware is blocking access to antivirus sites and the other tools you need to clean your computer.

Viruses and malware often block antivirus websites by altering the Windows "hosts" file. The "hosts" file is a text file "that provides name resolution of host names to IP addresses." Every website has both a user-friendly name (the www.yoursite.com that you normally use) and a computer-friendly name called an IP address. The "hosts" file tells the computer which IP to use when given the name of a website.

When a virus changes the "hosts" file, it creates entries that tell the computer that an antivirus website (like www.mcafee.com) is associated with an incorrect IP address. When you try to access that antivirus site, you are taken to a different website or receive an error message.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Click the "Start" button and click "Run."

  2. 2

    Type "c:\system32\drivers\etc" and press the Enter (↵) key on your keyboard.

  3. 3

    Right click on the "hosts" file and select "Rename."

  4. 4

    Type "hosts.bak" in the "Rename" field to rename the file. This will allow a new "hosts" file to be created in its place.

  5. 5

    Click on the "File" menu and select "New."

  6. 6

    Choose "Text Document" from the list of options.

  7. 7

    Type "hosts" in the name field and press Enter. Click "Yes" when you receive a message that the file extension won't be a "text" (.txt) file.

  8. 8

    Copy and paste the following into the new file:

    Windows XP:

    Copyright (c) 1993-1999 Microsoft Corp.

    This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.

    This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each

    entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should

    be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.

    The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one

    space.

    Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual

    lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#' symbol.

    For example:

    102.54.94.97 rhino.acme.com # source server

    38.25.63.10 x.acme.com # x client host

    127.0.0.1 localhost

    Windows Vista:

    Copyright (c) 1993-2006 Microsoft Corp.

    This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.

    This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each

    entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should

    be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.

    The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one

    space.

    Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual

    lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#' symbol.

    For example:

    102.54.94.97 rhino.acme.com # source server

    38.25.63.10 x.acme.com # x client host

    127.0.0.1 localhost

    ::1 localhost

    Windows 7:

    Copyright (c) 1993-2006 Microsoft Corp.

    This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.

    This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each

    entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should

    be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.

    The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one

    space.

    Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual

    lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#' symbol.

    For example:

    102.54.94.97 rhino.acme.com # source server

    38.25.63.10 x.acme.com # x client host

    localhost name resolution is handle within DNS itself.

    127.0.0.1 localhost

    ::1 localhost

  9. 9

    Click on the "File" menu for the document and choose "Save." Close the file.

Tips and warnings

  • If you can't access any websites at all, resetting the "hosts" file is unlikely to solve your problem. It's more likely that Internet Explorer or Firefox has had its connection settings changed.

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