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I've edited my hosts file in a Windows 7 VM, but it doesn't work in IE. It works with Firefox, though. I hope this itemized list will help more than a verbose description.


  • Windows 7 in a VirtualBox VM, Linux (ArchLinux) host
  • VM has a bridged network adapter
  • The hosts file has a series of entries to the same IP for different hosts names:    one.local    two.local
  • The Internet options has no proxy configured and no automatic configuration.

What I've done

  • Restarted IE
  • Restarted Windows
  • Ran ipconfig /flushdns
  • ping one.local returns


  • Firefox works; requests to one.local return the webpage from my Windows VM's host.
  • IE returns Bing search results for one.local.
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

What happens if you change the domain to

local. is not an available TLD, so IE might be auto-redirecting anything that can't be a valid URL on the internet to whatever search provider you have configured.

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Thank you, Darth Android. It worked. Do you know off hand if I can change that behavior with a configuration change? – mqsoh Jun 22 '11 at 22:22
I was looking through that now; The company I'm at uses *.local for their internal websites, but that's configured by the DNS server and not via the hosts file. You might try turning off search suggestions from the providers in Tools -> Internet Options -> General tab -> Search section -> Settings -> Search Providers tab -> disable suggestions for each provider. – Darth Android Jun 22 '11 at 22:25
That was it! Thank you, Darth Android. I hate Windows, but I like you. – mqsoh Jun 22 '11 at 22:33

actually you just need to put http:// in front of it, Firefox tries this automatically for everything before going to search, IE will only do it with known TLDs. (like .com)

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Can you expand upon this? It's not obvious how this addresses the question. – bwDraco Oct 1 '15 at 23:18

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