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How to Enable/Disable Firefox Private Browsing ?

Private Browsing is one of the new feature in Firefox 3.5 browser. Sometimes you do not want other users of your computer to see or access previously visited or the username and password information.

In a Private Browsing session, Firefox won’t keep any browser history, search history, download history, web form history, cookies, or temporary internet files. However, files you download and bookmarks you make will be kept.

To start Private Browsing

Select Tools > Start Private Browsing.

Note: When you start private browsing in firefox, it will save your current opened tabs and open it when you are done with your private browsing session.


To stop Private Browsing

Select Tools > Stop Private Browsing, or close Firefox.

What Private Browsing will not retain

Visited pages
Form and Search Bar entries
Download List entries
Web cache files

Start Firefox in a private browsing session

If you want automatically enable Private Browsing mode whenever you start Firefox, follow the steps below.

1. Select Tools
2. Select Options
3. Select Privacy panel tab.
4. Select Use custom settings for history in the Firefox will: select box
5. Check the box Automatically start Firefox in a private browsing session.

Also Read: How to enable Private Browsing in Apple Safari Browser.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Lane Hale December 2, 2009, 12:33 am

    Please provide an option to disable private browsing. Not all of us want that feature on our computers.

  • Smrgg December 27, 2009, 2:09 am

    Lane is right. Please give us some options.

  • Angela February 22, 2010, 2:14 pm

    People have children and no one should be hiding information from there spouse or partner.

  • Jon June 17, 2010, 7:36 pm

    Great way for my son to look at porn without me knowing. Thanks!

  • Laura August 18, 2010, 3:08 pm

    How to ENABLE history on Firefox? My boyfriend doesn’t want me to see sites he has visited and uses Firefox, but it is in my interest to know.

    Please help. Simple directions please. He has Windows 7.

  • Julie December 1, 2010, 11:50 pm

    Do not want the private browsing. How can I delete this from safari and google chrome. My computer is not an apple/mac. Thank you!

  • Joe King December 29, 2010, 12:30 pm

    I also agree. There should be a way to disable this function. If you don’t want it on your own personal computer, why should you HAVE to?
    If possible, firefox should make a way to disable it. Thanx.

  • Jane February 14, 2011, 12:55 pm

    I also agree. This private browsing feature should be able to be removed.

  • Joseph Ross February 22, 2011, 9:47 pm

    Please provide an option to disable private browsing. Not all of us want that feature on our computers.

  • Desiree February 28, 2011, 10:50 pm

    I agree with everyone else. How are we supposed to be able to disable the private browsing altogether?

  • deborah March 1, 2011, 3:25 pm

    ditto!!! How insane to not give us the option!!!

  • NiteOwls April 1, 2011, 8:01 am

    The title of this article is wrong, it should state
    ‘How to USE Firefox Private Browsing?’ it’s not telling anything on how to enable or disable private browsing.

  • Dad April 19, 2011, 3:35 pm

    Here’s what I’ve been doing since version 3.5 came out and made it impossible to know where my kids have been. http://www.justanswer.com/computer/3k7cg-disable-private-browsing-firefox.html

    When you update Firefox, the file is reinstalled, so you have to make deleting this file part of your PC maintenance.


  • Snails and Whales April 25, 2011, 9:46 am

    Thanks.. now people can look at porn on my computer, and I won’t have any way of knowing. (:
    And don’t say they can just delete the few pieces of history.. because cookies save them too.
    However, this does not save cookies..
    Please just give us the option..

  • andres July 12, 2011, 1:56 am

    OK this is wut i did n it gave me an error MSG when i tried starting Firefox 5. went to C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\components (its a 64 bit system) and i opened browsercomps.dll with notepad and went to edit then replace and replaced private-browsing for a 0 by selecting replace all
    hope it helps i spent hrs google’n and found nothing so i try ed tempering with the files

  • andres July 12, 2011, 1:57 am

    my bad “when i tried starting Firefox 5” no only starting inprivate firefox started ok

  • Danice October 18, 2011, 12:27 am

    That file doesn’t seem to be there anymore in Firefox 7.
    Or at least I looked in the folder and there where only 2 .dll files in it.

    Unfortunately that cheating husband of mine knows how firefox addons work, so that addon https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/disable-private-browsing/ will only work temporarely -.-

  • Mei October 13, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Seriously Firefox. Are you supporting Kids watching porn on computers when parents can not watch??? Get rid of this stupid feature. I’m a parent and don’t want it on my computer. What were you even thinking?

  • Mei October 13, 2012, 12:29 pm

    and by watch, I mean watch what the kids are doing and keep it from happening. Stressed at the moment, due to your feature. Just a thought, you can likely get sued for having this a locked feature. Keep that in mind.

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