Posts Tagged ‘notepad’

How to Block Facebook access on Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 7 and 8

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Disable facebook on Windows computers using windows hosts fileIn Office home network, there is a Windows XP computer which is spending all his official work time in facebook.
Hanging in facebook makes this social network freak work quite inefficient so something had to be done immediately … and guess who had to do it …

 Usually I do facebook filtering via iptables rules directly from Linux NAT router, but filtering facebook https (port 443 traffic) is real pain in the ass and moreover facebook has a bunch of hosts so filtering from Linux i-net router is not always best solution. In this specific case the Linux router deliving internet to the Win host was also having complete routing so filtering with iptables wasn't so easy.
To save myself from loosing few hours trying to discover why I can't manage to filter facebook from Linux router, checked online if it possible to filter facebook using standard Windows method.
It turns out on Windows computer it is possible filter facebook by simply mapping all Facebook main hosts to localhost ( using hosts map file. In my case Win computer was running Windows XP, however on All Windows XP / Vista / 7 and 8, default location of hosts file is in: 


Microsoft Windows c:\system32\drivers\etc\hosts file Windows explorer screenshot

Therefore I used  Windows Explorer, navigated to C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\ copied hosts file to Desktop, edited with Notepad and placed at the end of it following lines:

# Block Facebook

how to block facebook Windows hosts file opened in Notepad

Then copied the new modified hosts files from Desktop back to C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc
Following same logic, its possible to disable access to any host on the Internet. There are even some software like SpyBot which does by default change Windows default hosts file with pre-mapped well known spammer / spyware / malware hosts to prevent viruses and spyware to download more of themselves.

 Finally to make Windows re-read new hosts file I had to restart the PC, and Voila! Facebook access was cut 🙂

Delete 2nd Windows installation from Windows boot screen menu

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Lets say you re-installed Windows with keeping old installation, because you already have numer of programs installed in Program Files – some of which take too long to pre-install or even you don't have installer. Then you end up in situation with one Windows installed in C:\Windows and one in C:\Windows.0. Respectively before Windows boot screen appears, you have choice to load Windows installed in C:\Windows or one installed in C:\Windows.0.

This is pretty annoying as the WIndows boot manager screen appears on every computer start / restart and the prompts keeps there until you press enter to start newer installed Windows.

Here is how to fix that

  1. Click Start -> My Computer -> Properties.
  2. Then Advanced tab, under Startup and Recovery -> Settings.
    The Startup and Recovery dialog box appears.
  3. Under System startup -> Edit to modify the Boot.ini file.

Windows XP My Computer Properties System Start-up, Edit boot ini, delete 2nd Windows from boot

[boot loader] timeout=30 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS [operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS.0="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home" /fastdetect

Delete 2nd line offering to load from \WINDOWS and Save and exit notepad. After restarting system, Windows Boot prompt should be no more.

After changes, file should look like so:

[boot loader] timeout=30 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS [operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS.0="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

N.B. ! Be very cautious when deleting things from this file, messing up with it will leave system in un-bootable state.