BLOCKING WEBSITES IN WINDOWS 7 & WINDOWS 8
In a work environment with internet, it is very common for people to get distracted by numerous addictive sites and end up wasting a major part of the work hours doing everything other than their designated work. Social networking sites, entertainment sites, blogs, gaming sites, chat sites – the list is unending. For this very reason, blocking certain websites on a computer is becoming a major necessity in various places. The access to these websites can be stopped from pre-defined settings present in the internet browsers itself. But for more tech-savvy users, that is very easy to bypass.
There is another much more concrete way of blocking sites from Google Chrome browser locally from the computer by a little modification in the system 32 folder. This is much more effective but it is recommended that only users who are familiar with system 32 files follow the following process. System 32 is what holds the core files of Operating System and even minor changes in it can affect the overall performance or working of a computer. The process is very simple but users with not much idea about system files please proceed with care.
TWEAKING THE HOSTS FILE
- Log in to Windows with the administrator account.
- Click on the start button and then type in the search bar or run: “C:WINDOWS\System32\Drivers\etc”, without the quotes.
- From the page opened, right click on the “hosts” file and select open. When prompted to choose a program to open this file, select Notepad and click OK.
- DO NOT delete or edit anything else in the document.
- At the end of the page, type “127.0.0.1” without the quotes. Then give at least one space and type the URL of the website you want to block. Do not type in “www” or “http:”. For example, to block Facebook from the browser, type “127.0.0.1 facebook.com” without the quotes.
- To block multiple websites, type the whole syntax every time for each URL separately in consecutive lines.
- Once done, save the document and reboot the computer. Once the machine is booted up again, these changes should be effective and any website URL that was added in the hosts file will be blocked from the browser.
Windows 8 does not allow blocking websites by adding them in the Hosts file. Windows Defender automatically removes any blocked website and allows access to the website. But there are ways to bypass the defender and to block websites by the above method.
1. Excluding the Hosts File.
To exclude the Hosts file from being monitored and altered by Windows defender, first press the Windows key and search for Windows Defender and open it. Then we click on the settings tab and select the option “Exclude Files and Location”. Then we click on browse button and navigate to “C:Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts”.
We select this file and click on Add and then click on Save Changes. Hosts file will now be excluded and can be edited in the same procedure as mentioned above for Windows 7.
2. Installing a third party anti-virus.
Installing any third party anti-virus, like AVG, renders the Windows Defender to disable itself automatically. These third party applications are generally free and are not aggressive about monitoring the Hosts file, thus enabling users to bypass the Windows Defender issues and to block websites using the Hosts file.
3. Windows Defender can also be manually disabled without installing any other Anti-virus but that is not recommended. It is very risky and unsafe to keep a computer completely unprotected.
Other than this, there are a few third party applications like HT Employee Monitor which are professional surveillance software to monitor employee activities. It helps to keep a check on unnecessary websites which add as a distraction and hamper work efficiency and productivity. It has customizable features and allows users to block websites based on keywords and categories (such as social networks, games etc). It allows blocking of third party app providing software to prevent usage of instant messengers and games. It also monitors user activity and keeps record of visited websites, keywords used, applications launched and even screenshots.