InPrivate browsing

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA
August 1, 2012

Q: I prefer to browse the internet using Internet Explorer’s InPrivate Browsing mode to better protect my computer, but I find it time-consuming to constantly switch to this mode. Is there a way to make InPrivate Browsing my default setting?

A: As you mentioned, Microsoft Internet Explorer offers InPrivate Browsing, which better protects your privacy by preventing your computer from saving browsing history, temporary internet files, form data, cookies, usernames, and passwords. To open an InPrivate Browsing window, select InPrivate Browsing from the Safety menu on the Internet Explorer browser’s Command Bar (or press Ctrl+Shift+P), and then click the InPrivate Browsing option near the bottom of each new browsing tab window.

To launch an InPrivate Browsing session by clicking a hyperlink within an email, Word or Excel document, or PDF file, etc., you need to make InPrivate your default setting. To do this, download the file ie8-inpriv-context.zip, unzip and extract its contents to a folder, then double-click the file inprivate-context.reg to run the tweak. This action edits the registry so that, thereafter, Internet Explorer will always launch using InPrivate mode as a default. To undo this change, run the file undo.reg included in the zip file.

Note 1: As another option, you could also download TweakIE9 (free), which provides tools for making InPrivate Browsing the default setting.

Private Browsing Using Google Chrome

The Google Chrome browser also provides private browsing, called Incognito mode. Launch Chrome in this mode by default, as follows:

1. Create a Google Chrome shortcut on your desktop by right-click dragging the Chrome icon to your desktop and selecting Create shortcuts here from the pop-up menu.

2. Rename the shortcut to Chrome Private Browsing.

3. Right-click the shortcut and select Properties.

4. In the Shortcut tab’s Target field, add -incognito to the end of the program path (as pictured in the next column). ( Note: Make sure there is a space before the hyphen).

Thereafter, clicking this icon will launch Chrome in Incognito mode.

Private Browsing Using Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla’s Firefox browser also offers private browsing. To make this your default setting:

1. From the Firefox browser, select Tools, Options.

2. Click the Privacy menu option and, from the Firefox will dropdown box, select Use custom settings for history.

3. Check the box labeled Automatically start Firefox in a private browsing session, and then click OK.

4. Restart your browser. Thereafter, Firefox will always launch in privacy mode.

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