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I'm in the process of migrating a forum setup from one version of the software on one machine (older shared Windows host) to a new VPS (Windows Server 2008). To install the software, I used my hosts file to temporarily point the domain at the new IP address. To see the old site, I obviously re-edit the hosts file to remove the reference.

But this leaves me constantly adding/removing a # from my hosts file just so I can switch back and forth between the two servers.

Is there a way to do this more rapidly? I've found a handful of toggling batch scripts, but all they do is automate the addition/removal of the # character ... so there's still a noticeable lag where I have to repeatedly hit F5 to force my system to detect the new settings.

Ideally, I could view both servers at the same time on the same machine. Maybe one through a regular browser session and one through some kind of a proxy. Unfortunately, I don't have the first idea how to set that up.

Ideas?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 5 '12 at 12:22

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Use a virtual machine or two to run, in effect, a second and third copy of the operating system, and keep each configured to use the appropriate host-IP entry.

Use a second computer entirely, such as a laptop, configured to use the appropriate host entry.

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Not an ideal solution (requires extra hardware or software that I just don't have), but still the best I've seen so far. – EAMann Aug 30 '11 at 21:50

Seems like there are a number of small executables that will do this for you. I personally use this one http://archive.msdn.microsoft.com/HostFileManager which does a great job of just overwriting a few values.

If you had to do a lot of hosts, one of these might be better: http://www.tools.toflo.de/HostsSwitcher/ or http://hostprofiles.codeplex.com/

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