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Before running batch file how to detect the available entry in host file

Hello Experts,

Need urgent help!

I want to update windows hosts file for certain entries like IP-Address & Host-name by a DOS batch script.

But before adding these entries i want to check if any entry already exists in
hosts file or not. If exists, it will not be added.

In hosts file, existing entries i.e. ip and hostname may be separated by white-space
or tab-space which i don't know before hand. So while checking if the entry exists or not i just have to compare the strings ignoring the tab/white-space in between ip and host-name.

Valuable advices will be highly appreciated.

4 Solutions
TechnoChatWintel Administrator / Cloud ComputingCommented:
You can use following command to check a specific entry on host file..

more %windir%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts | findstr string

Following command will output the current localhost details.
more %windir%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts | findstr localhost

Steve KnightIT ConsultancyCommented:
Personally I'd do it slightly different but same sort of tact. The /i deals with upper/lower case in findstr and you can use || to check if the errorlevel returned is 0 (i.e. not found) and then display the need to add and append it to the file.  Give it a try anyway:


@echo off
set hosts="%windir%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts"

call :check host1
call :check host2
call :check host3

exit /b

REM Check if first parameter exists in hosts file.  If it doesn't then echo new value to end of file
findstr /i "%1" || (
  echo %1  %2 >>%hosts%
  echo Adding %1  %2 to HOSTS table

Bill PrewCommented:
Keep in mind though that on Windows 7 and Vista the hosts file is typically protected, and you'll need admin access to update it.

Also, is it important that the exact match of hostname and IP address already be in the table, or as Steve has demonstrated, is looking only one okay?  The other thing Steve's code won't catch is if that line is commented out.

Steve, what do you think about using FINDSTR with a regex expression, looking for the hostname followed by the IP address with just white space between them?  In addition, maybe we could rig a regex that makes sure there isn't a semi colon at the left of those?

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Steve KnightIT ConsultancyCommented:
Good idea. I didn't have much time so went for the easy option, I suppose it depends what is likely to be in the table for this environment, and as you say many users may not be able to update / access HOSTS for writing anyway.

I'm busy at the mo. so go for it with the alternate regex version as you wish.

Bill PrewCommented:
Okay, here's a change that would get closer.  The problem with this is that FINDSTR regex support doesn't include any way to look for tab characters.  So if that is really needed, we would need to use a more ribust GREP tool, like GNU GREP.  @newbie27, would that be acceptable?

@echo offset hosts="%windir%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts"call :check host1 :check host2 :check host3 /b:checkREM Check if entry exists in hosts file.  If it doesn't then echo new value to end of filefindstr /i /r /c:"^ *%2  *%1 " || (  echo %1  %2 >>%hosts%  echo Adding %1  %2 to HOSTS table)
newbie27Author Commented:
ok thanks for your input folks, let me try and get back to you shortly !!
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