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Private Browsing Guide

By DominicD
03-21-2011
As you browse the web, browsers remember lots of information for you – sites you've visited, files you've downloaded and more. However, there may be times when you don't want other users of your computer to see this information. If you use a shared computer and do not want others to know the history of the websites you visit, use Private Browsing!



For example, if you share a computer with someone and have been shopping for their birthday present, you might want to keep it a secret. Browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer helpfully remember your visited webpages. It would spoil the surprise if the next person who uses the computer would see the history of your last visited online gift websites.

Private browsing is a feature of modern browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer. It enables you to browse websites and download files while NOT keeping a browsing/download history. This spares you the trouble of needing to delete your browser’s cookies and visited websites history. Private browsing is a good security and privacy measure to prevent the other users of the shared computer from viewing your browsing history. This also spares you the trouble of others being able to login to your email or facebook account when you have not properly signed-out or logged-off.


Firefox Private Browsing – Ctrl+Shift+P

Mozilla Firefox simply calls this feature as “Private Browsing”. You can press the shortcut key Ctrl+Shift+P to start private browsing. You can also navigate to the menu, click Tools, click Start Private Browsing.


Internet Explorer InPrivate Browsing – Ctrl+Shift+P

Internet Explorer named this feature as “InPrivate Browsing”. Similar to FireFox, You can press the shortcut key Ctrl+Shift+P to start InPrivate Browsing. You can also navigate to the menu, click Safety, click InPrivate Browsing.


Google Chrome Incognito Browsing – Ctrl+Shift+N

Google Chrome wanted to be a bit unique, and named this feature as “Incognito Browsing”. Taking a slightly different shortcut key, you can start Incognito Browsing by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N, or by navigating to the Chrome Options, and selecting New icongnito window


Common private browsing features among these browsers are:
  • Browser history lists and cookies are disabled and not saved
  • File Downloads and their history are not saved
  • Search history and input on the browser address bar are not saved
  • Browser add-ons/plugins are disabled
  • Closing the browser immediately deletes the temporary record of the website links you have previously visited while in private browsing mode


Private browsing mode allows you to freely use a browser while keeping the current browsing history and cookies untouched. This means that you no longer have to worry about deleting website cookies and history lists. Important browsing history possibly needed by other users are left intact and untouched. You leave not traces of your browsing activity on the computer while in private browsing mode.

Remember though, that private browsing only keeps your browsing activities on the computer unrecorded. Your ISP and network admin may still have an advanced log of your internet activity.
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