Create Shortcuts to Start Any Browser in Private or Incognito Browsing

There are certain situations where users prefer to use Private Browsing to make sure they don't leave any trace of their browsing history on the computer they use. Every web browser has this feature and you can easily switch from normal browsing to private browsing. If you need to use private browsing more frequently, you may want to create a set of special shortcuts that start the browser you are using directly in Private Browsing. Here's how this is done in all the major browsers: Internet Explore (both the desktop and the app version), Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera.

First Create a Shortcut on the Desktop for Your Browser

If you want to start your favorite browser directly in Private Browsing mode, you first need to create a shortcut on the Desktop and edit its properties, so that that it starts in this mode. If you need any help with creating shortcuts in Windows, try this guide: How to Create Shortcuts in Windows 7 & Windows 8.1.

Once this is done, follow the instructions shared for the browser you are using. The only browser that has a different procedure for starting directly in Private Browsing is the Internet Explorer app, for which we have a separate section with instructions.

How to Create an InPrivate Shortcut for Internet Explorer on the Desktop

First, create a shortcut for Internet Explorer on the Desktop. Then you have to edit its properties.

Right-click or press and hold the Internet Explorer 11 shortcut, and select Properties in the contextual menu that shows up.

Click or tap the Shortcut tab.

In the Target field, type " -private" (space, hyphen, private) after the closing quotation mark.

Click or tap OK to apply your changes.

When you use this shortcut, Internet Explorer starts directly in InPrivate mode.

How to Start the Internet Explorer App Directly in InPrivate Mode

The Internet Explorer app doesn't allow you to create shortcuts for it on the Desktop which can be edited like you do for the desktop version of this browser. However, there's a tweak you can make to open an InPrivate tab directly from the Windows 8.1 Start screen.

First open the Internet Explorer 11 app using its tile on the Start screen. Then, click or tap the Tab tools button above the address bar.

Click or tap New InPrivate tab in the menu that is shown.

A new InPrivate tab is opened and you can pin it to the Start screen. To do this, click or tap the Favorites button.

Then, click or tap the Pin site button.

Lastly, click or tap the Pin to Start button.

The InPrivate tab is now pinned to the Start Screen and you can use it to quickly start the Internet Explorer app directly in InPrivate browsing.

Please keep in mind that the Internet Explorer app has only an InPrivate tab option rather that an InPrivate window like the desktop version does. This means that the next tab you open is a normal tab, unless you follow the instructions shared in this article which details how to open a new InPrivate tab.

How to Create a Private Browsing Shortcut for Firefox

First create a shortcut for Mozilla Firefox on the Desktop, then edit its properties. To do this, right-click or press and hold the newly created shortcut and click or tap Properties.

Click or tap the Shortcut tab.

Then, in the Target field, type " -private" (space, hyphen, private) after the closing quotation mark.

Click or tap OK to apply your changes.

When you use this shortcut, Mozilla Firefox starts in a Private Browsing window.