Windows 2000 - hosts file system slowdown conflict

This report was written and submitted by Daniel McCoy September 13, 2000 from a solution he received fifth-hand from its originator, Robert Egea of France, who posted the procedure in one of Steve Gibson's newsgroups.


Numerous Windows 2000 users have reported and attempted to resolve a consistent problem with large host files in any Windows 2000 environment.

This [report] provides a solution for the single PC setting. For those who are networked, even with one other PC in a LAN, and especially LANs that use a dial-up connection to the Internet, this offers no solution, although it may clarify the problem and offer hints toward one.

The problem is dual. When a large hosts file is established on a Win2k system, there is a problem of a dramatic slowdown of Win2K and the inability to obtain an ISP verification and registration after a dial-up connection is made. Even if a hosts file has only four URL redirectives, ISP verification can be interrupted.

The solution is simple:

1. Close the modem (if it's connected).

2. Stop and Disable two Windows Services - DHCP Client and DNS Server *

Go to: Start => Programs => Admin Tools => Services,

or Settings => Control Panel =>Admin Tools => Services.

Right-click => Properties for each of these services.

Service Status: Stop button.

Startup type: Disabled.

Apply button, then OK button.

3. Restore your personal hosts file (by renaming active and inactive files).

4. Reboot.

When these services are disabled, dial-up connections and browsing will be much faster than ever! These services are not helpful if you are not networked. Microsoft tends to include many features which are installed and enabled by default, although they may be unutilized and slow down the computer. They get less technical support calls if they keep things simple and uniform.

The DNS Server determines and caches Domain Name System (DNS) names for the network. The DHCP Client (for Dynamic Host Control Protocol) automatically assigns IP addresses and domain names to the computers on the network -- desirable features only if you have one.



* Just to clarify a little, make sure that you are disabling the DNS Server and not the DNS Client. If the DNS Client is disabled the OS will not be able to resolve IP addresses. This suggestion was submitted by LA.

* Also it has been reported that if you are a cable modem user, specifically Road Runner, then disabling DHCP Client is not necessary. This suggestion was submitted to Steve Martin by S. Homily.

* George G. reported that on his W2K Pro SP1 system disabling DHCP client resulted in all DNS queries failing. See Microsoft article for reference:

If you have this problem I recommend setting your W2K machine up using the DNSKong W2K configuration instructions available on this site.