Quite easy. Windows will fight you on this because you will go where the reprobates of Redmond would rather you did not. The file you need to edit is a simple text file and it has no extension. The path to it is C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts and you need to edit this with notepad. And when you save it you cannot allow notepad to add a .txt extension to it. The file format is simple and looks like this:
Specifically, parallels.com would look like this if you added it to your host table:
Your local host looks like this:
It is appropriate to add any records to this table for which there are no DNS entries available. TCP/IP printers come to mind, as might other systems that exist on your local area network.
The column on the left is separated by spaces or tabs from the column on the right and you can have as many rows as you wish. The right hand side can also be a simple hostname (or printer name). A fully qualified domain name is not required. For example:
10.132.0.196 laser5m laser5m.local # HP Laserjet in cafeteria
This provides both the short host name and it's fully qualified name assuming you have established a local tld (top level domain) of .local (.com, .net, etc. are a subset of the available domain names you can have on your personal network). Anything after the # is ignored and allows you to append human readable specifics to your entries.
Any changes you make to your host table override DNS and take effect immediately, meaning no reboot of Windows is required. If the address of the remote host changes you are required to edit your host table or you won't be able to connect.
Last edited: Mar 19, 2007