How to View Hosts File in Windows 11: Step-by-Step Guide

Looking to view your hosts file in Windows 11? Don’t worry, it’s a breeze! All you need to do is open Notepad as an administrator, then find and open the hosts file. It’s tucked away in the ‘etc’ folder within the ‘Windows’ directory. Once you’ve opened it up, you can check out all the nitty-gritty details it contains.

Step by Step Tutorial: Viewing Hosts File in Windows 11

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re about to do. We’re going to locate and open the hosts file on your Windows 11 computer. This file is used to map hostnames to IP addresses, and it can be pretty handy for various networking tasks or troubleshooting issues. Ready? Let’s go!

Step 1: Open Notepad as Administrator

The first step is to open Notepad with administrative privileges.

To do this, simply search for ‘Notepad’ in the Start menu, right-click on it, and select ‘Run as administrator’. This will give you the permission needed to access and edit the hosts file, which is a protected system file.

Step 2: Open the Hosts File

Next, you’ll want to open the hosts file using Notepad.

In Notepad, click on ‘File’ then ‘Open’, and navigate to C:WindowsSystem32driversetc. Here, you’ll see the hosts file. It might not be immediately visible if Notepad is set to only show text documents. If that’s the case, just change the file type dropdown to ‘All Files (.)’ and the hosts file should appear.

After completing these steps, you will have successfully opened your hosts file and can view or edit it as needed.

Tips for Viewing Hosts File in Windows 11

  • Make sure to run Notepad as an administrator, or you won’t have the necessary permissions to view the hosts file.
  • If you can’t see the hosts file, ensure you’ve changed the file type to ‘All Files’ in the open dialog.
  • Remember that making changes to the hosts file can affect your system’s networking. Be cautious and make sure you know what you’re editing.
  • It’s a good idea to make a backup of the hosts file before making any changes, just in case.
  • The hosts file does not have a file extension, so don’t be surprised when you don’t see ‘.txt’ or any other typical file suffix.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the hosts file used for?

The hosts file is a system file that maps hostnames to IP addresses. It is used to block websites, create shortcuts to networked devices, or override DNS settings for testing purposes.

Can I edit the hosts file?

Yes, you can edit the hosts file, but you should do so with caution. Incorrect entries can cause connectivity issues. Always make sure to back up the file before making changes.

Why do I need to run Notepad as an administrator to view the hosts file?

The hosts file is a protected system file, and standard users do not have permission to access it. Running Notepad as an administrator grants you the necessary permissions.

What should I do if I make a mistake while editing the hosts file?

If you’ve made a backup as suggested, you can simply restore the original file. If you haven’t made a backup, you’ll need to manually correct the mistake.

Can the hosts file be used to improve internet security?

Yes, the hosts file can be used to block known malicious websites by redirecting their DNS entries to a non-routable IP address.


  1. Open Notepad as an Administrator.
  2. Open the Hosts File in Notepad.


Navigating the inner workings of Windows 11 doesn’t have to be intimidating, especially when it comes to something as essential as the hosts file. As you’ve seen, accessing this file is straightforward when you know where to look and how to gain the proper permissions. Whether you’re troubleshooting network issues or taking control of your web navigation, the hosts file is a powerful tool that’s just a few clicks away. It’s important to proceed with caution, however, as improper edits can lead to connectivity problems. Always back up your files, and if you’re ever in doubt, seek guidance from knowledgeable sources. There’s a wealth of information out there to help you master the ins and outs of Windows 11, so never hesitate to learn more. With a little practice and patience, you’ll be handling system files like a pro in no time!

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