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I’ve set the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\DatabasePath registry entry in Windows XP and it works as expected; the system loads and uses the HOSTS file in the directory I’ve pointed it to.

However, in Windows 7, it seems to ignore the entry, but I can find no information relating that it is not supported and/or an alternative way to relocate the HOSTS file in Windows 7. I have confirmed that it is still using the default path (%systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc) by renaming HOSTS to disable it, and renaming it back to re-enable it.

(Yes, I have made sure the directory is correct, made sure it does not include the filename, and made sure that the datatype is correct.(

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Got the word from the people at Windows Client TechCenter > Windows 7 IT Pro Forums:

After researching on this, I found that Windows 7 does not support moving hosts file to the other place. You may refer to the following link to use script to copy hosts file to etc folder.

http://www.techimo.com/forum/networking-internet/108391-using-hosts-file-across-network.html

Important Note: Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

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Thanks for the official response. Microsoft yet again did something brain-dead (the key is still present for no good reason). This is highly inconvenient and copying it defeats the purpose of a centralized copy. As a temporary measure, I had added a line to a batch file to copy it (which means wasting 6MB), but I guess it’s now permanent. :-| –  Synetech Oct 18 '11 at 18:06

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