Private browsing is a very useful feature which allows you to keep your internet session safe, secure and hidden, as it don’t store any browsing data while you surf. It also prevents browser from storing information about web pages you visit, search and download history, saved form information, passwords and other data like cookies and temporary internet files. This means there won’t be any traces left behind after you close your browser. This feature is present in all major browsers viz. Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera etc.

Private browsing is particularly very useful when you are using a public computer or you share your computer with someone else. It also helps in protecting your online transaction information like credit or debit card numbers, URL of payment gateways etc. from others. Toolbar and extensions (add-ons) are also disabled in private browsing mode by default. However, only bookmarks and downloaded files will be preserved.

The feature has different name in different browsers. In Firefox it is known as Private Browsing, while in Chrome it is called Incognito mode and in Opera it is called Private Tab. The names are different, but the functionality remains same in every browser.

Keyboard Shortcuts and Menu Commands to Start Private Browsing

After launching your web browser in Normal Mode, you can instantly start Private Browsing using following commands:

Mozilla Firefox: Click on Tools menu (Firefox button) and then click on Start Private Browsing:

firefox private browsing

Or simply press Ctrl+Shift+P keys together.

Google Chrome: Click on the Wrench button (Tools icon) and then select New incognito window:

chrome incognito mode

Or press Ctrl+Shift+N keys together.

Opera: Click on Tools menu, then go to Tabs and Windows and select New Private Tab:

opera private tab

Or press Ctrl+Shift+N keys together.

In case you want to use Private Browsing every time as soon as your browser starts, then you need to follow the steps mentioned below.

Start Private Browsing Mode by Default

Mozilla Firefox:

1. Click on the Tools Button (Firefox button) and then select Options:


2. Now go to the Privacy tab and and select Use custom settings for history from the drop-down menu present under History:

Use custom settings for history

3. Check the box Always use private browsing mode and click on OK button to apply the settings:

Always use private browsing mode

Firefox will now always open in private browsing mode as soon as it starts. If you want to quit private browsing, then just go to Tools menu and select Stop private browsing.

Note: In the Privacy tab, you can also check Tell Websites I do not want to be tracked under Tracking. When you turn this feature ON, all websites and advertisers will not be able to track your browsing behavior and data.

Google Chrome:

1. To begin, right click on Google Chrome’s application shortcut on your desktop and select Properties:

chrome properties

2. Now go to the Target field and give a space after .exe and type -incognito:


3. Click on Apply button to save your settings. Now after this whenever you launch Google Chrome from this shortcut, it will always start in incognito mode.

Note: Whenever you want to delete this setting, just remove -incognito written after chrome.exe.


1. Right click on Opera’s application shortcut and select Properties:

opera properties

2. Now go to the Target field and give a space after .exe and type -newprivatetab:


3. Finally, click on Apply button to save your settings. Now whenever you launch Opera from this shortcut, it will always open with two tabs: Your default start-up page and a Private Tab. This is because Opera uses Per-Tab private browsing mode, instead of full window.

Note: Whenever you want to delete this setting, all you need to do is to remove -newprivatetab written after opera.exe.