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Definition - What does LMHOSTS File mean?

The LMHOSTS file is short for the "Local Area Network (LAN) Manager Hosts File", is a plain text file that that resolves a domain host name to an IP address. The LMHOSTS file does not have a file extension and is only used when a WINS server is unavailable.

Techopedia explains LMHOSTS File

LMHOSTS Files have been replaced by the WINS naming system. "LAN Manager" was an early Microsoft network operating system (NOS).

The LMHOSTS File’s location varies from one OS to another; it is most easily located using a Windows search for the "lmhosts.sam" file (an LMHOSTS sample file). If present, it may be found in the following locations:

  • Windows XP, VISTA and 7: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc
  • Microsoft Windows 98: C:\Windows\
  • Microsoft Windows 2000: C:\Winnt\System32\drivers\etc

The file can be opened with a simple text editor program and then edited or read as needed.

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