Windows 8 Hosts File Is Uncooperative

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Though there are now better ways to do it, in the past, I used a “hosts” file to prevent Windows users from accessing porn and other inappropriate Web sites.

At my current employer, my hosts file used to include hundreds of entries.

Whenever I witnessed someone accessing inappropriate Web sites, I would wait until they left. Then I would go to that computer and examine its browser history file — making careful note of any inappropriate sites.

Then I would add the URLs of those sites to the hosts file, which lived on the network, and — thanks to a couple of batch files — updated itself on each computer during each logon.

So the next time anyone tried to go to those same inappropriate sites, they were no longer available.

Like I said, I no longer use a hosts file to stop that type of behavior, but — for those who still do — you should be aware that, currently, Windows 8 (with Windows Defender) will — without your knowledge or permission — automatically edit your hosts file, to remove certain URLs that you intentionallly added to it.

Is it a bug or is it intended behavior?

As of this writing, no one knows for sure, but the comments following the story contain some theories.

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