Enable / Turn On Private Browsing in Mozilla Firefox

As you browse the web, Firefox helpfully remembers 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. For example, if you share a computer with someone and have been shopping for their birthday present.

Firefox 3.5 and later includes the Private Browsing feature which allows you to browse the Internet without saving any information about which sites and pages you’ve visited. This article explains what information is not saved when in Private Browsing and gives you step-by-step instructions for using it.

What does Private Browsing not save?

  • Visited pages: No pages will be added to the list of sites in the History menu, the Library window’s History list, or the Awesome Bar address list.
  • Form and Search Bar entries: Nothing you enter into text boxes on web pages or the Search bar will be saved for Form autocomplete.
  • Passwords: No new passwords will be saved.
  • Download List entries: No files you download will remain in the list in the Downloads window after you turn off Private Browsing.
  • Cookies: Cookies are file​s created ​by websites​ that​ store information ​on your​ computer​, such​ as your​ preferences ​when​ visiting​ a certain site​. These will​ not ​be stored. For more information on cookies, see Cookies.
  • Web cache files: No temporary Internet files or cached files from web pages will be saved until you turn off Private Browsing.

  • [advt]If you create new Bookmarks while using Private Browsing, they will not be removed when you stop Private Browsing.
  • If you save files to your computer while using Private Browsing, those files will not be deleted when you stop Private Browsing. However, any files you open in an external application will be cleared from the system’s temporary folder, and none of the files you download will appear in the Downloads window list.

How do I turn on Private Browsing?

To start a Private Browsing session:

  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click the Firefox menu (Tools menu in Windows XP), and select Start Private Browsing.
  2. When you turn on Private Browsing, Firefox will alert you that it will save your current windows and tabs for after you finish using Private Browsing. Click on Start Private Browsing to continue.
  3. Put a check mark next to “Do not show this message again” if you do not want to receive this alert the next time you turn on Private Browsing.
  4. You will then enter Private Browsing mode, and the Private Browsing information screen will appear.
  5. When browsing in Private Browsing mode, the Firefox menu will be purple (for Windows XP the window title will say (Private Browsing) instead) during your session.

How do I turn off Private Browsing?

To end a Private Browsing session:

  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click the Firefox menu (Tools menu in Windows XP), and select Stop Private Browsing.
  2. The windows and tabs you were using when you enabled Private Browsing will appear, and you can use Firefox normally. The Firefox menu will turn orange again (for Windows XP the Firefox window title will no longer say(Private Browsing)) when Private Browsing is off.

How do I always start Firefox in Private Browsing?

There is a setting in the Options window which will automatically enable Private Browsing whenever you start Firefox.

If you enter Private Browsing this way the Firefoxmenu won’t turn purple (Windows XP, the Firefox title bar won’t say (Private Browsing)) but Firefox will still not retain history as described above.
  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button (Tools menu in Windows XP) and then clickOptions .
  2. Select the Privacy panel.
  3. Set Firefox will: to Use custom settings for history.
  4. Check the box next to Permanent Private Browsing mode.
  5. Click OK to close the Options window[source]

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