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ristar's picture
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Joined: 2016 May 27
How to set up hosts file in OS 9

I'm trying to set up a hosts file in OS 9, so I can connect to the private AIM Phoenix server, which requires a custom hosts file. However, I'm not sure I'm doing this right. I created a text file in the System/Preferences folder called "hosts" that had all of the IP/Hostname info, but it doesn't seem to do anything. Am I doing this wrong?

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WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

Just putting the Hosts file in the System Folder > Preferences folder won't change anything. You apparently also need to change the TCP/IP settings:

Mac OS 9 does let you select the hosts file, but not in Basic mode. You need to switch the TCP/IP control panel to Advanced or Administrator mode (command-k). You can then select a hosts file with the button in the upper right.

The Hosts file also needs to be plain text.

ristar's picture
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Joined: 2016 May 27

When trying to import the plaintext hosts file (No file extension, of course), the file picker window doesn't seem to recognize the file as a valid option, as it doesn't appear at all.

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

Try adding the ".TXT" extension.

It may also depend on how you made that text file. If you've transferred it from another OS, then OS 9 may not know what type of file it is. You might have to change the attributes via ResEdit, File Buddy, or similar Finder Info changing application ... or just open and reserve it from Teach Text / Simple Text.

I never had any need to play with Hosts files under "Classic" versions of MacOS. The quote above was the only thing I could find in a Google search.

ristar's picture
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Joined: 2016 May 27

I made sure to make the file with OS 9 SimpleText. Also, adding the .txt didn't seem to make the importer recognize the file, sadly...

Just to be clear, CMD+K when in the TCP/IP control panel should open up the Configurations window, and then I should press the Import button, right? That's what I've been doing and I want to be absolutely sure I'm not missing something.

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

I would think so. I've just done a quick trial in SheepShaver with OS9 and you're right that it doesn't recognise plain text files.

Exporting the 'Default' setting creates a special file format (not a text file) with a pile of stuff in the resource fork that you can see with ResEdit, but it doesn't seem readable in any useful way.

That was the only thing I could find about Hosts and OS 9 via Google, so I don't know what else to suggest. Sorry.

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

I think I've found it!

The Apple-K command advice on the website I found earlier is wrong. I'm not sure what that is for, other than allowing you to import, export, and define setups to swap between.

What you really need to do is:

  • Create the Hosts plain text file and put it in the System Folder > Preferences (or pretty much anywhere you want where it won't get deleted).
  • Go to the Control Panels > TCP/IP
    [I'm assuming you're using Ethernet, rather than AppleTalk - I can't enable AppleTalk to check what the process is for that - it may or may not be the same.]
  • Go to the Edit menu and choose User Mode. Then pick either Advanced or Administration - it doesn't matter which. (Administration just allows you to set a password and lock the Control Panel from being changed by other people.)
  • Back in the TCP/IP window there is now a new Select Hosts File button in the top-right corner. Click on that and find your Hosts file and Open it.
  • Close the TCP/IP cControl Panel and click Save

Hopefully that should work. Smile

I got that from this Microsloth webpage (via The Wayback Machine) ... Microsloth may be useful for something afterall ... nah, they're never useful. Wink

ristar's picture
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Joined: 2016 May 27

Thank you so much for the help - I'm really close to getting this working! As of now, when I try and load in the hosts file, I get this error:

"The ttl value '184.15.124.70' on line 1 is not valid."

Is there something I'm missing?

And here is my hosts file's contents:

login.oscar.aol.com 184.15.124.70
slogin.oscar.aol.com 184.15.124.70
toc.oscar.aol.com 184.15.124.70

I've also tried reversing the order of each element (IP/hostname and hostname/IP), with no luck. Am I missing something simple with formatting here?

Protocol 7's picture
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Joined: 2010 Aug 7

Have a look at the Hosts file section near the end for formatting details.

ristar's picture
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Joined: 2016 May 27

Ah, my mistake - thank you very much! ^u^

swamprock's picture
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Joined: 2010 May 31

Read this for more info about the OS 9 hosts format, and a constantly-updated hosts file in OS 9 format: http://pgl.yoyo.org/as/news.php#macinfo

Just hide the header on the hosts page, select all and copy into BBEdit or other text editor, save it as "hosts" in plain text format in your System Folder, open TCP/IP control panel, and load it in.