Quote Originally Posted by JohnOrion View Post
I tried adding the offending addresses to my host file. Funny thing is.... I try to ping the address and it says its not a good address so the host file is working but ... check my monitoring program and the addy I added is connected to Explorer.exe and even if I kill it it just comes right back... connects fully established. Seems that Microsoft has figured out that people are blocking their efforts and has made it so their spying can bypass the host file.
I know this is a little old but I wanted to explain why editing your hosts file didn't work. The hosts file is part of the DNS lookup process. What editing the hosts file does is it loads those addresses into your DNS Resolver Cache so that instead of going to your public DNS, it already has an IP for the hostname (try ipconfig /displaydns)

Adding an IP/hostname pair to your hosts file simply loads those addresses into your DNS resolver cache. Simply put, the IP that is getting connected to by explorer.exe is probably getting connected to directly, which means it never goes through a DNS lookup.

To see this in action, you can "ping google.com" and keep track of the IP that you ping. Then add google.com into your hosts file as You will now be unable to ping google.com, but you will be able to ping the IP directly.