Incognito mode in web browsers is a must-have privacy feature that allows users to surf the web from a temporary session isolated from the primary instance of that browser on your PC. Browsing history is not saved during these sessions and all local data, such as cookies, cache, etc., is erased when the session is closed. Although you might know how to start a private browsing session for your favorite browser, you might not know that you can also configure browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge Chromium, to open in incognito (private) mode by default. time.
Open Chrome, Firefox, and Edge in incognito mode by default
First introduced in Apple Safari as a “private mode” over a decade ago, the Incognito feature has since achieved immense popularity among Internet users. He has since adopted by Google, Mozilla, Microsoft and other browser manufacturers for their respective web browsers. So in this article, we are going to show you several ways to open Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge Chromium in Incognito (or private) mode by default in Windows 10.
Start a private browsing session in any web browser
The easiest way to start a private browsing session in any browser, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge Chromium, is to use its taskbar shortcut. To do this, first pin the shortcut for this app to the taskbar if it isn’t already. Then right click on it and select New incognito window in case of Chromium, New private window for Firefox and New InPrivate window in Edge Chromium.
Always open Google Chrome in incognito mode
To note: You must be logged in as an administrator on your Windows 10 computer to be able to make the following tips work.
Method 1: By Changing Target Path in Desktop Shortcut
- First, check if you have a desktop shortcut for Chrome. If you do, skip this step and go to step 2. Otherwise, create a shortcut by navigating to the Chrome installation folder, then right-clicking the executable file (chrome.exe) > Send To > Desktop (create shortcut).
To note: By default, the 64-bit application installation folder will be C: Program Files Google Chrome Application (64 bit). For 32-bit, select Program Files (x86) in the first step.
- Right-click on the Chrome shortcut icon on your desktop and navigate to Properties.
- In the Properties window, navigate to the Shortcut tongue  and locate the Target box. Then add » -incognito(Without quotes; also insert a space before the hyphen) at the end of the existing path and click Okay. Confirm when asked for admin permission.
- You can also replace the Chrome shortcut icon with Google’s private browsing icon by clicking the icon Change icon and selecting the private browsing icon from the available options.
Method 2: Using Windows Registry (Regedit)
- Open the Windows Registry Editor. To do this, search for “regedit” in the Windows search bar and click on the first result.
- Now navigate to Computer > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Policies using the left pane. If you see a folder called “Google”, skip this step. Alternatively, manually create the folder by right-clicking Strategies > New > Key. Name the new entry google.
- Now right click on the newly created Google folder and create another key and name it Chromium. The final hierarchy should be ” Policies > Google > Chrome“As shown below.
- Now select the new Chrome folder. Then right-click on the blank right pane and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
- Name the new entry IncognitoModeAvailability then right click on it and select To modify.
- Assign the hexadecimal value ” 2(Without quotes) and click Okay to save your setting. Restart Chrome to implement the change.
From now on, whenever you open chrome from anywhere on your computer you get an incognito window whether or not you choose private browsing. To roll back, just change the “IncognitoModeAvailability” value to 0 or remove it altogether.
Open Mozilla Firefox in private mode by default
To always start Mozilla Firefox in private mode, follow the simple steps detailed below:
Method 1: Using Desktop Shortcut
This method is similar to method 1 for Chrome. Here we will change the target path of the Firefox shortcut to ensure that the browser opens in private mode every time.
- Create the Firefox desktop shortcut if it’s not already there by following the Chrome tutorial above. Then right click on it and select Properties.
- Then go to the Shortcut tab and and add ” – private window(without quotes; use a space before the first dash) at the end of the default target path. Click on Okay and provide admin permission if requested.
Method 2: Using In-App Settings
- To access Firefox settings. click the hamburger menu (three parallel lines) in the upper right corner of an open Firefox window and select Options.
- Select now Privacy and Security in the left pane and scroll down to the History section in the right pane.
- Use the drop-down menu to select ‘Use custom settings for history“.
- Now check the box next to ‘Always use private browsing mode“. Once you restart, Firefox will always start in private browsing mode.
Open Microsoft Edge Chromium in InPrivate mode by default
To launch Microsoft Edge Chromium in private mode each time, follow the same process as described in Method 1 for Chrome and Firefox.
- If there is no Edge Chromium shortcut on the desktop, create one by going to C: Program Files (x86) Microsoft Edge Application then right click on msedge.exe > Send To > Desktop (create shortcut).
- Now right click on the Edge Chromium shortcut and select Properties.
- In Properties > Shortcut, add ” – in private(without quotes; use a space before the hyphen) at the end of the default target path. Click on Okay and provide admin permission if requested.
That’s it. Microsoft Edge Chromium will now open in InPrivate mode (private or incognito) on every startup.
Open browsers in private mode to improve your online privacy
Note that if you use method number 1 for Chrome and Firefox, the browsers will open in incognito/private mode only when started from the shortcut with the modified target path. You can undo the changes by deleting the addenda at the end in the “Target” area. If you don’t want to use the default incognito mode on your browser, you can still maintain privacy by deleting browsing history on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge Chromium.
As for Incognito mode, it’s available not only on web browsers, but also in most of Google’s online services and apps, including Maps, YouTube and more. You can enable it in Google Maps and YouTube by following our step-by-step tutorials. To further enhance your online privacy, you can also check out our guide on how to spoof geolocation in your browser and turn off location tracking on Windows 10.