hosts file broke my Internet
May 24, 2007 3:08 AM   Subscribe

The hosts file on my Windows machine seems to have broken the Internets...

When Metafilter made the change to new IP addresses, a good samaritan showed me how to change the hosts file in C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc so I would not have to wait for the change to register.

It worked beautifully when I was in Afghanistan. My hosts file has this in it: localhost

Now I am in Bishkek, on my friend's wireless network, and everything EXCEPT Metafilter times out. If I mem out the above Metafilter lines, Metafilter also times out and won't load.

I know the actual network connection is good because Metafilter will load (when those lines are in the hosts file), and the googletalk program fetches my email headers, my antivirus auto-downloads its updates, etc.

I would love to solve this stupid problem myself, but as it is I can only connect to you nice people, no google, no email... please help me?
posted by Meatbomb to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's not the hosts file. Your machine can't find a DNS server, so metafilter's the only thing left working (you've "hardcoded" meatfilter IPs so you don't need to look them up).

Start->Settings->Network Connections
Right-click your active connection
Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

Is "Obtain DNS server address automatically" set?

(If not, try setting it. If yes, someone will be along in a minute with an open DNS server you can plug in).
posted by Leon at 3:25 AM on May 24, 2007

Oh! And if there's currently an IP address for a server set, write it down just in case.
posted by Leon at 3:28 AM on May 24, 2007

Meatbomb! I just clicked your profile a few minutes ago, wondering where you'd been for the past month. Welcome back to the internet!

You might want to look at this MetaTalk thread and this AskMe. I can't say for sure whether they're relevant, but they feel relevant. Good luck!
posted by cgc373 at 3:35 AM on May 24, 2007

Response by poster: Leon: yes, my automatic DNS server box is checked. You sounded like you had the easy fix, but sadly that is not it. Thanks anyways though.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:47 AM on May 24, 2007

Best answer: Definitely sounds like DNS isn't working; you could try switching to OpenDNS (there are guides on the site) to see if that solves it.
posted by malevolent at 3:49 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Could be that the network you're connected to isn't offering you DNS. The fact that googletalk/AV are working is weird; maybe they connect to IPs.

For diagnostics, try this for us:

Run a Command Prompt. Type:

ipconfig /all

What do you get back? You should get a line like this:

DNS Servers . . . . . :

If you don't, then I'm sure that's the problem.
posted by Leon at 4:02 AM on May 24, 2007

Something to get you to Google and it's cache, at least, so you can do some searching of your own. Add this to your hosts file:
posted by Leon at 4:06 AM on May 24, 2007

Best answer: As has been mentioned, your hosts file has saved you. One more thing to try is just setting your gateway IP as a DNS server. It may relay DNS.

Apologies for the ugliness, but here are a bunch of publicly accessible DNS servers: (Cologne, DE) (Tokyo, JP) (Tokyo, JP) (Auckland, NZ) (London, UK) (Phoenix, AZ, US) (San Francisco, CA, US) (Longmont, CO, US) (Los Angeles, CA, US) - Nederlands
SpeakEasy Nameservers
Sprintlink General DNS
posted by pompomtom at 4:39 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: DING DING DING!! We have a winner!!

Thank you very much malevolent, that did the trick. pompomtom, you get best answer too, as that stuff you provided would have worked, if my problem had not already been solved.

And to all the other contestants, thanks for playing. We are all winners today.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:48 AM on May 24, 2007

No worries.

Last time I moved ISP I ended up stuck for a while without DNS and it shat me to tears (I just rang a friend in the end).

I'm impressed that your dedication to mefi allowed you a little keyhole view of the name-space.
posted by pompomtom at 5:02 AM on May 24, 2007

pompomtom: nice resource

The ones I use when I'm stuck in a situation like this are, and If anyone has got a more memorable set of IPs, I'd like to hear it.
posted by lodev at 5:30 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

« Older Red screens of death even without Vista   |   Can you recommend a book on small group leadership... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.