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HOSTS File (edit, rename, delete)

I can no longer edit, rename or delete the HOSTS file without booting up in the safe mode and doing it from there. This just started with the June 30, 2006 release. I get the following message:

"Cannot delete HOSTS: access is denied.
Make sure the disk is not full or erite-protected
and that the file is currently not in use."

I'm sure this is a new anti-hijacking scheme but if I can't access some sites that it blocks it will be rendered useless.
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1 Solution
Which release from June 30 do you mean specifically?

I have applied all the latest XP updates and can still edit and rename the HOSTS file.

Which version of Windows?
I would probably check permissions and run FILEMON from SysInternals to monitor what program is locking it.
I'm guessing that you've installed some anti-spyware utility that has "immunized" the HOSTS file.  This is not uncommon.  Either configure your anti-spyware to let you edit the HOSTS or disable it so you can edit.
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Try and Download Hoster, 
This will restore your Hosts file.
Press "Restore Original Hosts" and press "OK"

If that doesn't work, then let us look at your hijackthis log to eliminate malware\viruses as being the caused.

Please download HijackThis 1.99.1
Open Hijackthis, click "Do a system scan and save a logfile" don't fix anything yet.

Then go to the below link and login using your Experts-Exchange username and password.
Click on "Expert Area" tab
type or paste the link to your Question
"Browse" your pc to the location of your Hijackthis log and click "Upload"
Copy the resulting "url" and post it back here.

OR: paste the log to either of these sites:
then at the bottom left corner click "paste"
Copy the address/url and post it here.

2. or at --> 
and click "Analyse", click "Save".  Then post the link to the saved list here.
I've run into this problem with files of different types, and although I haven't yet figured out what is causing the problem HijackThis hasn't been much help as it seems the problem is more like a "flipped switch"  something in the target file signals the OS that the target is in use.  If you have loads o' spare time, you can examine the files bit by bit, or you can try this work-around:  

Use Easy Recovery and recover the file to a different location.  After that's done, restart in safe mode, delete the old file, and copy the recovered file to the correct location

good luck
wfmitchellAuthor Commented:
I am running Windows XP home edition with all the updates and the June 30th HOSTS file.
wfmitchellAuthor Commented:
I have done what rpggamergirl suggested and analysed the Hijack This Log but nothing seems suspicous.
wfmitchellAuthor Commented:

Why do I see "Access Denied when updating the HOSTS file?

There is a problem with certain versions of ZoneAlarm Firewall (v 6.5.700.000 -
6.5.714.000) where the HOSTS file is "locked" even though that option is unchecked in
the options. To resolve this problem:
1) ZoneAlarm Control Center > Firewall (left pane) > Main (tab in the right pane)
2) Advanced (button at the bottom) > and find "Lock hosts file" Check "Lock hosts file". Click OK.
3) Click Advanced (button at the bottom) Uncheck "Lock hosts file". Click OK.

You should now be able to update the HOSTS file, however until ZA resolves this problem, on the
next Windows restart the file will be locked again (even if that option is unchecked) ... hopefully ZA
will correct this shortly!
Oh I see, I know the recent updates of ZA locks the Homepage but I didn't know it locks hosts file as well.
Thanks for sharing the answer to your own question.
If you like, you can ask for this question to be FAQed and your points refunded.
Or asks for it to be deleted and points also refunded.

How do I close a question?

I answered the question myself what do I do?
do this in safe mode

ZoneAlarm->Firewall->Advanced->''check the lock host file check box''->OK->Advanced->''uncheck the the lock host file check box''->OK----------> host file is unlocked for SS&D to update.

Do you have spybot search and detroy?

If you do, open the program -> go to tools -> IE tweaks -> uncheck 'lock hosts file'
wfmitchell  any updates

wfmitchellAuthor Commented:
As I said above I have solved the problem myself. It is a anomaly in ZoneAlarm. It does not require being in Safe mode. I would like for the question to be FAQed and added to the database for future searchers.
jhance mentioned that possibility early on
wfmitchellAuthor Commented:
I consider Zone Alarm a firewall as opposed to anti-spyware like Spybot and Adaware.
Closed, 100 points refunded.
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