How to Start Chrome and Firefox in Private Browsing Mode by Default
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How to Start Chrome and Firefox in Private Browsing Mode by Default

Private browsing mode (referred as “incognito mode” in Chrome) doesn’t get opened in Google Chrome and Firefox web browsers by default.

However, you can make that happen and here’s how:

Open Chrome in Incognito by Default

Right-click on the Google Chrome shortcut. If you don’t have one, then create and right-click on it.

Select “Properties.”

In the “Target” field, go to the end, hit the “Space Bar” key, and then type  “-incognito” (without double quotes) (see screenshot).

Added -incognito
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Hit the “Ok” button (If you see “Access Denied” popup, then click on the “Continue” button in it.).

That’s it. From now on, the shortcut will launch Google Chrome in incognito mode by default.

Remember that still there are some instances (like a double-click on HTML file, clicking on a URL, or opening a site from Run Command) opens the Chrome in normal mode.

If you want to revert, remove the command we’ve added from the shortcut.

See: How to Clear Browsing History

Open Firefox in Private Browsing Mode by Default

Right-click on the Firefox shortcut. If you don’t have one, then create and right-click on it.

Select “Properties.”

In the “Target” field, go to the end, hit the “Space Bar” key, and then type “-private” (without double quotes) (see screenshot).

Added -private
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Hit the “Ok” button. If you see “Access Denied” popup, then click on the “Continue” button in it.

That’s it. From now on, the shortcut will open Firefox in private browsing mode by default.

Keep in mind that still there are some instances (like a double-click on HTML file, clicking on a URL, or opening a site from Run Command) opens the Firefox in normal mode. Note that this is not the case with the below methods.

If you want to revert, then remove the command you’ve added to the shortcut.

You can do the same task using any one of the below alternative methods too:

Method #1

Open Firefox.

In the Address Bar, type “about:config” (without double quotes) and then hit “Enter” key.

Hit “I accept the risk” button.

Type “private” (without double quotes) in the Search Box at the top.

Now, you can see “browser.privatebrowsing.autostart.” Double-click on it, and you can see its value changed to “True.”

Value changed from False to True
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That’s it. Restart your browser to see the change.

To revert: follow the above steps.

Method #2

Open Firefox.

Click on Hamburger icon (three vertical lines) > Options > Privacy & Security.

Scroll down until you see “History” section. In it, you can see a drop-down list beside “Firefox will.”

Open it and then choose “Use custom settings for history.”

Selected Use custom settings for history
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Now, select “Always use private browsing mode.”

In the popup, click on “Restart Firefox now” button.

Restart Firefox popup
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That’s all. Firefox will be opened in private browsing mode by default from now on.

If you want to revert, open the drop-down list we’ve talked earlier and then select “Remember history.”

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Also see:

How to Reset Chrome and Firefox

How to Clear Cookies

How to Find Chrome or Firefox Version