- Private browsing is no longer a perk, but a rather common feature that all modern browsers provide.
- Want to know exactly how to set it up? Check out this detailed guide, locate your browser, and follow the steps. It's easy!
- Get your privacy on for real with this Best Privacy Protector Software.
- Explore our Browsers Hub as well to get more tips on how to enhance your interaction with the world wide web.
If you’re sharing your PC with someone, or if you don’t want someone to accidentally see your browsing history, you might want to try using the private browsing feature.
This feature is incredibly useful if you want to protect your privacy, and today we’re going to show you how to enable private browsing in all major browsers on Windows 10.
What does private browsing do?
Before we show you how to use the private browsing feature, let’s quickly explain what it does. Private browsing isn’t similar to VPN or proxy, meaning that this feature won’t make you anonymous on the Internet.
So what does private browsing do? Basically, it just prevents other users on your PC from accessing your browsing history and visited websites. This is rather useful if you’re sharing your PC with a family member or a roommate.
By using the private browsing feature you won’t save any cache or cookies, so your Internet activity won’t leave any traces on your PC.
Once again, using private browsing won’t hide your IP address, so your ISP and network administrator will be able to monitor your internet traffic and activity.
In addition to not storing your browsing history, private browsing will also keep you logged off from any websites you visit.
For example, if you try to access Facebook while in private browsing mode, you’ll have to log in again. Private browsing mode doesn’t save any cookies, so it won’t remember your passwords or websites that you automatically log in to.
As you can see, the private browsing feature is incredibly useful for all users that share their PC with others. Now that you know how private browsing works and what it can do, let’s see how to use it with popular web browsers.
What is the best browser for private browsing?
All the browsers available on the market feature a dedicated private browsing option. Sometimes, enabling this feature requires you to follow a few specific steps.
If you’re looking for a browser with a simpler user interface that allows you to quickly turn on private browsing, you can install Opera.
This privacy-focused browser comes with an advanced private browsing mode called that automatically deletes all the trackers after you closed your tabs.
In this manner, you no longer have to clear your browsing history each time after visiting particular websites.
Just like all other major browsers, Opera also supports private browsing features. In addition to private browsing, this browser also has a built-in Opera VPN tool that you can use if you want extra security and privacy.
To start a private browsing session in Opera, you need to do the following:
- In the top left corner click the Menu icon. The icon usually has the Opera logo next to it, so you’ll easily recognize it.
- Now choose New private window option from the menu.
- After doing that, a new private browsing window will appear.
Just like all other browsers, Opera also has a keyboard shortcut for private browsing so you can quickly activate it. To start private browsing, simply press Ctrl + Shift + N.
If needed, you can also open any link in a private browsing window with ease. To do that, follow these simple steps:
- Locate the link that you want to open.
- Right-click it and choose Open link in the private window from the menu.
- After doing that, the selected link will open in a private browsing window.
You can also start Opera in private browsing mode using its Taskbar or Start Menu icon. This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:
- Locate Opera’s shortcut on your Taskbar or in Start Menu.
- Right-click the shortcut and choose New private window from the menu.
This method is rather useful if you want to start Opera in private mode without starting it in regular mode first.
If you want to run Opera in private browsing mode by default, you can do so by changing its shortcut properties. To do that, follow these steps:
- Locate Opera’s shortcut, right-click it, and choose Properties from the menu.
- Once the Properties window opens, locate the Target field and add –private after the quotes. Click on Apply and OK to save changes.
- If you get a security prompt, click on Continue.
After doing that, you just need to use that shortcut and Opera will automatically start in private browsing mode. Keep in mind that only this shortcut will start Opera in private mode meaning you can use the regular shortcut to start it normally.
Opera supports private browsing, but it also has a built-in VPN feature that can offer an extra layer of security. Other browsers also support VPN, but in order to use it, you need to download various third-party plugins.
By default, Opera offers its own VPN, so if you want to protect your online privacy from your ISP, you might want to try Opera.
Not convinced yet?
Opera offers additional privacy and security features including:
- Tracking cookies are automatically blocked
- You can decide which ads to block and which you allow
- Companies can’t profile your online activity
- The built-in VPN fully encrypts your connection
OperaGet a taste of ultra-fast, ultra-secure, 100% private browsing with the most privacy-focused browser out there!
Now, if you prefer to stick to your current browser, read on to learn what are the steps you need to follow in order to enable private browsing.
How to use private browsing in 2020?
- Use private browsing in Firefox
- Use private browsing mode in Chrome
- Use private browsing in Edge
- Use private browsing in Internet Explorer
1. Use private browsing in Firefox
Firefox is a web browser focused on user privacy, and just like any major browser it fully supports private browsing features. To start a private browsing session in Firefox, do the following:
- In the top right corner click the menu icon.
- Now click on New Private Window.
- After doing that, a new private browsing window will appear.
If you don’t want to save your internet history, be sure to use the new private browsing window. If you want, you can use it alongside your regular Firefox window without any problems or privacy concerns.
As for private browsing in Firefox, it won’t save any visited websites or form and search bar entries. In addition, this mode doesn’t save new passwords and it doesn’t show you the list of downloaded files in Firefox.
Lastly, the private browsing mode won’t save any cookies or cached web content. We have to mention that all your bookmarks created during a private browsing session will be saved, so you’ll be able to access them using the normal mode.
Even though the downloaded files won’t be shown in download history, they will remain on your computer.
It’s worth mentioning that you can also open a private browsing window simply by pressing Ctrl + Shift + P on your keyboard.
You can also start a private browsing session for any link simply by right-clicking the link you want to visit and choose Open Link in New Private Window from the menu.
Another way to start Firefox in a private browsing mode is to use its Taskbar or Start Menu icon. This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:
- Locate the Firefox icon in Start Menu or on your Taskbar and right-click it.
- Choose New private window from the menu.
You can also automatically start Firefox in private browsing mode. Keep in mind that this method won’t show you a notification message, but you can rest assured that your browsing history isn’t saved.
To automatically start Firefox in private browsing mode, do the following:
- Click the menu icon and choose Options from the menu.
- Navigate to Privacy tab and in History section set Firefox will to Never remember history.
- Now you’ll get a confirmation dialog asking you to restart Firefox in order to apply changes. Click on Restart Firefox now button.
After doing that, Firefox will always run in private browsing mode whenever you start it.
If you want, you can even create a shortcut that will start a private browsing session. To do that, follow these steps:
- Locate Firefox shortcut, right-click it, and choose Properties from the menu.
- In the Target field add -private-window after the quotes. After doing that, click on Apply and OK to save changes.
Once you save the changes, you can use that shortcut to quickly start Firefox in private browsing mode. Of course, you can also have another shortcut that you can use to start Firefox in regular mode.
2. Use private browsing mode in Chrome
Chrome also fully supports private browsing, and this feature is called Incognito Mode in Chrome. To use Incognito Mode, you need to do the following:
- Click the menu icon in the top right corner.
- Choose New incognito window from the menu.
- A new private browsing window will now appear.
Just like in any other private browsing mode, your history, cookies, and input data won’t be saved, so your privacy will remain protected from other users on your PC.
Chrome won’t keep any downloaded files in its records, but the files will remain on your hard drive once you’re done browsing. In addition, all bookmarks saved during the private browsing session will remain.
If you want, you can also quickly start Incognito Mode by using a Ctrl + Shift + N shortcut. You can also open any link in Incognito Mode by right-clicking the link you want to visit and choosing Open link in incognito window option.
You can also start Chrome in Incognito Mode right from its shortcut in Taskbar or Start Menu. To do that, follow these simple steps:
- Locate Chrome shortcut in Start Menu or on your Taskbar.
- Right-click the shortcut and choose the New incognito window from the menu.
- After doing that, Chrome in Incognito Mode will start.
If you want to always start Chrome in Incognito Mode, you can do that by modifying its shortcut. This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:
- Locate Chrome’s shortcut and right-click it. Choose Properties from the menu.
- When the Properties window opens, locate the Target field and add –incognito after the quotes. Now click on Apply and OK to save changes.
After doing that, you can use that shortcut to always start Chrome in Incognito Mode.
Just like with Firefox, Incognito Mode doesn’t interfere with your browser, so you can have a regular and private browsing window open side by side and use them together without any problems.Editor's Note: This article was originally published in September 2017 and was revamped and updated in August 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.