As a developer, I find myself editing the hosts file quite often to add a local virtual host.

As the hosts file needs to be edited as an administrator, I have to:

  1. Click on the start menu
  2. Type notepad
  3. Right-click on the notepad icon, click Run as administrator
  4. Click Yes
  5. Then Open... C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

Quite cumbersome.

I've tried to create a shortcut to the hosts file on the desktop, then right-click it to change the shortcut advanced properties, but I can't select Run as administrator.

Shortcut advanced properties

I guess this is because I'm creating a shortcut to a file, and not to the notepad program.

How can I create a shortcut to notepad that runs as an administrator and opens the hosts file? It's OK if I have to click Yes every time to confirm that I want to run the program as an administrator.


Here you go:

  1. Right click on the desktop

  2. New > Shortcut

  3. type "notepad" as the location

  4. Give the shortcut a name

  5. Right click -> Properties on the shortcut

  6. to the end of the "target" text box, append "%SYSTEMROOT%\System32\drivers\etc\hosts" (remember to leave a space)

  7. Click on "Advanced"

  8. Check Run as Administrator

  9. then press OK, on both windows

There you are, you will need to confirm with UAC each time you use this.

  • 1
    Works, thanks! Missing a backslash after %SYSTEMROOT% though, and I can't edit your post without editing at least 6 chars.
    – BenMorel
    Jul 29 '13 at 20:22
  • @Benjamin got it on my end!, thanks for letting me know Jul 29 '13 at 20:25
  • 1
    Works with VSCode with target: "C:\Program Files\VSCode\Code.exe" %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\drivers\etc\hosts
    – Nick Tsai
    May 19 '18 at 7:02
  • +1 for niceness! Jul 8 '20 at 6:28
  • I hate how cumbersome windows makes this, thank you so much!
    – Novocaine
    Aug 18 '20 at 14:40
  • CMD batch without UAC confirmation

    Open a new text file, copy&paste the line and save it as something.cmd

    runas /profile /user:Administrator /savecred "notepad C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts"
  • Shortcut without UAC confirmation

    Right-click on desktop » New » Shortcut

    cmd /c runas /profile /user:Administrator /savecred "notepad C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts"

Both methods will ask for the administrator password first time and save it.
This only works if your administrator account is enabled.

enter image description here

  • Elegant solution, but: 1/ I don't understand what you mean with Open a new text file, did you mean New shortcut? 2/ I don't use the Administrator account unfortunately, and indeed this doesn't work with my user account (even though I have the privileges to run as administrator).
    – BenMorel
    Jul 29 '13 at 20:16
  • Edited my answer for clarification
    – nixda
    Jul 29 '13 at 20:22
  • 1
    Thanks! Best solution if you have the Administrator account enabled.
    – BenMorel
    Jul 29 '13 at 20:25

Create a folder with full permissions for everyone and add it to PATH.

Inside it create a file called sudo.cmd with following text inside:

@echo Set objShell = CreateObject("Shell.Application") > %temp%\sudo.tmp.vbs
@echo args = Right("%*", (Len("%*") - Len("%1"))) >> %temp%\sudo.tmp.vbs
@echo objShell.ShellExecute "%1", args, "", "runas" >> %temp%\sudo.tmp.vbs
@cscript %temp%\sudo.tmp.vbs

Now, typing sudo notepad will start Notepad with Administrator privileges (with UAC prompt first). It's really handy (you can also sudo cmd or sudo AnyAppYouCanThinkOf).

Then create a file called hosts.cmd and save it with following line:

@sudo notepad %systemroot%\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

Now just press Win and type hosts, then press Enter and you have an UAC prompt to open the hosts file in Notepad!

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