Tech Tip of the Week: Automatically Start Your Browser in 'Private' Mode

By on June 17, 2010, 1:16 AM
People have been making a lot of noise as of late over privacy on the Internet -- and rightfully so. Never before have our personal identities been so broadly exposed. The average web-goer hops from one social infrastructure to the next, leaving behind a humiliating trail of drunken college photos and revealing quizzes that would flush Ron Jeremy's cheeks.

We covered the state of online privacy in a recent mini-series, outlining particulars about covering your tracks on services like Facebook, search engines, and even torrents. Adding to those articles, we thought it'd be handy to provide a short tip explaining how you can automatically start today's most popular browsers in private mode. Note that in Firefox 3.6 and Chrome 5 there is more than one way of doing this, so you only need to choose one of the methods listed.

This feature allows you to browse the Internet without storing local data that could be retrieved at a later date, such as your browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, and usernames and passwords. Keep in mind that private browsing offers virtually no protection beyond the local level -- for example, the websites you have visited will still be able to view your IP address on the server end and log your activity.

Continue reading our Tech Tip of the Week.

User Comments: 7

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Reloader2 said:

[sarcasm] I wonder why someone would start a browser in private mode... [/sarcasm]

Guest said:

Internet Explorer 8 also has a shortcut to launch in InPrivate Browsing mode from its jumplist. I'd rather use that than modify the shortcut.

Still, at my office we share a PC in the kitchen for personal use but it uses XP. I think I might change the shortcut on that to help other people protect there privacy.

Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Thanks for the note guest, I've added that to the tip.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

For chrome users, remember that while in the new release, some of your add-ons will work, they also put you out of private browsing.

Also, Firefox doesn't save any open tabs. So if you're in private mode and have some tabs open that you want to view the next time you launch firefox...too bad, lol.

Also, I though I had read somewhere that going into private browsing mode doesn't really keep what you do private, it just doesn't store your information for someone else to see who gets on after you do. I use HotSpot Shield for keeping my business private, and when I REALLY want make sure what i'm doing is private (checking bank account, visiting, I mean, certain sites...) then I open up and use Tor Browser.

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

@matrix86, that is correct, here we are dealing with a local privacy mode for browsers, for more in-depth Web privacy controls that go beyond your local storage check out our managing your privacy series (also linked from this article on the intro paragraphs).

Guest said:

What annoys me is that privacy is something i must

fight for at every corner. It's not the default.

dextermat said:

This is all nice but people must know that it's still not 100% private:

For sure people can't see easily what you brows Directly in the browser.

Buy you still leave you ip adress on the website, you still gather up cookies.

People must know that you ip adress is related to your Internet provider and therefore government, FBI, police will still have access to that.

So Pedophiles, racism, pirates, illegals downloads can still be traced. Unless other means are used

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