45 Responses

  1. Varun’s Blog on Technology » Blog Archive » Security and usability - Google Chrome’s Incognito mode

    […] tells us about Firefox’s Incognito mode and asks us to stop drooling over Google Chrome’s privacy mode labeled Incognito. Does […]

  2. Amit
    Amit at |

    Yeah.. I knew this long ago. Its just that chrome’s incognito is simpler to execute with a dedicated key. With firefox i’ve to type that command (btw, i didn’t know that -no-remote option, which makes it better) for which i’ve to open cmd.exe, because if I type it directly into the ‘run’ box, that command will remain in history. Thats a lot of keys to go undercover.

  3. Rohit.Kumar
    Rohit.Kumar at |

    Good post, babaji 🙂 Very hands on.

  4. Firefox Incognito / Private Browsing Mode - Part II | Shantanu's Technophilic Musings

    […] Firefox Incognito Mode Is Here: Move Over Chrome/IE8 Sep […]

  5. Frank
    Frank at |

    incognito doesn’t store history/cookies/etc. deleting them with firefox isn’t the same thing and they can easily be undeleted using any undelete utility. we get it, you’re a firefox fanboy, quit trying to compare apples and oranges and admit that chrome has a feature that didn’t make it in time for firefox 3.

  6. design
    design at |

    Good one, but this is not the real ‘Incognito’ mode.
    Cookies and temp files are still saved to the disk and then get deleted later.
    If anyone wanted, they could retrieve/undelete the files later.

  7. ingiltere dil okulu
    ingiltere dil okulu at |

    I am not surprısıng to anything. But thanks..

  8. Sentinel A
    Sentinel A at |

    Wow! So interesting.

    Firefox is so complicated to use (and insecure, compared to Chrome)… Thanks God, Google people have come to the rescue of mere mortal users who just want a simple, secure, nice and better way to navigate on the Web.

  9. Aen
    Aen at |

    You call that setup “simple”? LOL… what, you have to “set it up”?

    Have you actually ran Chrome Incognito? Button –> Start New Incognito Window. Done.

  10. Anjan
    Anjan at |

    Check out the Firefox extension “Stealther” here:
    It does the same thing as Incognito …I guess

  11. Aen
    Aen at |


    Stealther does the same thing as Incognito, but does NOT work the same way. eg. If I turned on Stealther, Facebook would NOT accept my login, because “cookies are not enabled”…

    And Stealther affects ALL of Firefox when it is turned on, not just that particular window.

    May Google Chrome come to Linux soon soon soon.

  12. ADTC
    ADTC at |

    Reading the description, I find that the add-on Distrust – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1559 – does something similar to what Incognito mode does, and it’s much easier than the hack here, and better than the Stealther add-on.

    It works by monitoring everything that Firefox does in terms of browsing history, personal information, etc. during a Distrust session, then delete all the items recorded when ending the Distrust session. Only cookies remain, but they are marked to expire upon exiting Firefox.

    Yes, it’s true that Firefox writes all the data to disk even when using Distrust. But I’m not too sure about Chrome/IE8 keeping everything inside the RAM. Especially if you surf the really “private” thing you never want to reveal to anyone.

    It’s easier than this hack because you don’t need to have two profiles. Having two profiles means I end up having to customize them separately with my favorite add-ons and I miss my normal browsing history and other data. It’s more trouble than it sounds.

    It’s better than Stealther because Firefox continues to work as normal even when the add-on is engaged. Distrust does not touch Firefox privacy settings at all, preventing any accidental deletion of the normal non-private history data.

    PS: It seems FF 3.1 may have private browsing.

    Okay, time to test it. Restarting Firefox…

  13. ADTC
    ADTC at |

    No, Distrust does not do anything to existing history (etc.) of Firefox. I already tested Distrust and it works just great. It doesn’t disable history (etc.) of Firefox [unlike Stealther], but simply monitors what Firefox adds to history (etc.) during a Distrust session (not a normal session). Once the session is ended, Distrust simply removes these additions. It never touches anything outside the Distrust session.

    Best part is, you can turn on Distrust any time and continue using your browser. Every previous configuration, every previous saved passwords, everything in history (etc.) will still be available to you, and Firefox works without any hiccups, as though the Distrust add-on was never there. Isn’t that much better than having two profiles and having to configure them separately? And it is much similar to Incognito and InPrivate than your hack, where nothing is available.

    You said “distrust etc.” but here I’m only talking for Distrust. The etc. part, I’m not sure. I’m not gonna try Stealther, and I haven’t found any other add-ons that give proper private browsing.

    About your point 2, yes I noticed that. I wasn’t sure about what I said in my comment. Can you confirm if Google Chrome and IE8 keeps everything in RAM and never writes anything to disk cache during an Incognito or InPrivate session? I think that would slow things down, so instead, it would use a cache, but the cache will be wiped out when you end the session. But I could be wrong.

  14. ADTC
    ADTC at |

    Just to add, the Distrust add-on doesn’t support having one window as normal and another in Distrust mode. It is global and affects all windows. No, that doesn’t mean already open tabs and windows get wiped from history. It just means that any tab or window you create (or anything you surf) from the point of turning Distrust mode on, it will be “distrusted”.

  15. mr.anonymous
    mr.anonymous at |

    It is not true incognito if there is -profile- called “INCOGNITO” that is listed when someone looks at the profile manager !!!! I know you can call it whatever you want..but that is still a clue as to “yep, somone is definitely going incognito on this computer”.

    It’s a hack until true incongnito mode becomes a feature in some future version of firefox.

  16. Um Yeah
    Um Yeah at |

    The first step just opens a new firefox window.

    Besides Chrome is much easier, so if I “want to buy a secret present” I’ll just open chrome instead of a new firefox window.

  17. NotImportant
    NotImportant at |

    I love this. Thanks for the instructions. I now have three profiles! General surfing (locked down so I can goof around with minimal concern); Financial (locked down except for the few websites this one is allowed to visit); Research (slightly protected).

    I have two things to note on this. First, for those of us who didn’t already know this, in Windows, when you make the shortcut, the switches are placed OUTSIDE of the quotes. Took me a while to figure that out. Second, Adobe Flash still dumps its own cache on you, so if you are using this for ‘porn mode’, you still have to clear that out. Here for the utility: http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager07.html

  18. CBS
    CBS at |

    thank you so much for this tutorial!

    i have it set up and working, just one annoyance really, and i know it has been mentioned in the comments but as i am not familiar with this process, i was wondering if you could perhaps literally spell it out for me?

    the code used to run Firefox in it’s incognito mode can be placed in a shortcut,

    how exactly is this achieved?

    (i am running windows xp – in case the changes things)

  19. Ryan
    Ryan at |

    Great, now I just have to figure out how to do this in OSX.

  20. me
    me at |

    my problem is:
    with chrome incognito mode when i close it everything goes back to normal but with firefox when i close, next tym i open it it goes bak 2 the incognito mode i use. also i cannot create the shortcut key. it says “the firefox cannot be found”

  21. vicky
    vicky at |

    nywyz..chrome is nt tat gr8..compared to firefox and its addons..its yet to hav updates..to say the least..chrome doesnt hav a shortcut to clear browsing history..!!

  22. moocow
    moocow at |

    The fact of the matter is, I can right click on a link in Chrome and say “open this link in incognito mode”, and then I have my incognito mode. This is vastly different from having to go through all this stuff, and then having to click on a different shortcut when I want incognito mode. “But you can code/DL an add-on to have that menu option for you!” Yes, true, but I don’t want to! It’s all available already.

    Also whenever I install / re-install firefox I’d have to go through this again.

  23. moocow
    moocow at |

    @Shantanu: Ah, all right. When taking the article from the perspective you mentioned, it makes more sense =). Thanks,
    – moocow

  24. Google Chrome: A Time Tested Revisit « Man: Seeking Mind for Casual Enlightenment

    […] It’s not to go unmentioned however that Chrome does have some traits that really do shine despite its otherwise lack of depth. The very clean and sleek interface is easy on the eyes and optimizes viewing space for sites very well. It also carries a handy task manager feature that can really come in handy when a runaway web application causes the current tab to crash. This feature can, most of the time, prevent the need to entirely close out of the browser to recover. Lastly while the incognito feature is very enjoyable it isn’t much other than a one-click profile switch that comes standard in IE8 and can be set up with a few easy steps in Firefox. […]

  25. Eliot Lash
    Eliot Lash at |

    Thanks for posting this guide!
    Since passing arguments to programs via the Mac OS X GUI is more complicated than just making a shortcut, I’ve written two launcher applications for OSX and updated the setup instructions. It’s pretty simple unless Firefox is not in the Applications folder, but I have included instructions on what to do in that case.

    You can download the launchers here:

  26. Rainbox
    Rainbox at |

    Incognito browsing mode for Firefox on Mac OS X…

    Regarding the recent re-purposing of this blog: I guess that if I have tech-related stuff, this is still the best place to post it!
    Windows users currently have a nice browsing feature in Google Chrome and IE8 called incognito mode, which means that an…

  27. Prabhakar
    Prabhakar at |

    Yeah Good One Guys !
    Now add that incognito as a plugin button to Firefox !
    For who knows everything – Firefox is the Best
    For who knows something – Google Chrome is the best!!
    For who knows nothing – Internet Explorer is the best !!
    Firefox Rocks !
    I am a fan of Google, still when it comes to functionality and simplicity Firefox is the best. Ofcourse Chrome is a simple browser.


  28. Wow
    Wow at |

    you guys actin like you wanna make watchin porn private LOL

  29. Vandroiy
    Vandroiy at |

    Wait, isn’t there like… this new feature in firefox 3.5 that’s “private browsing” under the Tools tab? Ctrl+shift+P

  30. ADTC
    ADTC at |

    Yea, this article is outdated. Written in Sep 2008, that’s like a year ago. Well, everything gets outdated in the blink of an eye these days. The latest Firefox has built-in private browsing, so you don’t need add-ins or messing with profile managers.

  31. William
    William at |

    for those of use new to linux you should advise that you need to cd to /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.3 before you run ./firefox -profilemanager

  32. yurtdışı eğitim
    yurtdışı eğitim at |

    Thank you, this realm firefoxsu single cross

  33. vize işlemleri
    vize işlemleri at |

    The information you gave thanks for the post really worked this wonder of your site to another multi-language support yet?

  34. Aabhas Garg
    Aabhas Garg at |


    Where is syntax of permanent incognito mode on Firefox browser ?
    “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” –incognito is it correct ?

    Something like the link: http://goo.gl/O03a for Google chrome
    Please let me know

  35. Umesh
    Umesh at |

    Or just press “ctrl+shift+p” in firefox 4

  36. cv
    cv at |

    Thanks a lot…This works perfectly…:-)

  37. Mikey
    Mikey at |

    Doesn’t work in Firefox 5. “Firefox -ProfileManager” just launches firefox. Don’t see any incognito mode anywhere.

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