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How to Set Firefox to Always Run in Private Browsing Mode

Firefox 4 - Always run in incognito mode

If you frequently find yourself using Firefox 4’s “Private” mode, you could save yourself a lot of time and trouble by making Firefox behave just like it is in Private Browsing mode all the time.  This fix doesn’t require any plugins or installations, and it can be applied quickly through the normal  Firefox options menu -you just need to know what boxes to check, and we’ve got that part covered.

 

Step 1

Click the Firefox menu button at the top-left of the browser.  From the menu, Select Options

firefox 4 menu options

Step 2

In the Options window, Click the Privacy tab.  Here under “Firefox will” you have 3 options.  The first is the default: Remember history.  The other two are what we will talk about here.

If you set this option to Never remember history, your browser will always act like it is in private browsing mode.  This means Firefox 4 will not save any information about the websites or pages that you visit.  But, this has the problem of clearing out all of your logins from webapps and services that you use, which is bad if you use a lot of them; it is one heck of a pain to constantly go around relogging into all the websites you use.  To get around this, we’ll use the custom settings list.

Firefox 4 never remembe history

Step 3

Rather than setting Firefox to Never remember history, set it to: Use custom settings for history.  Now from the list that appears, you’ll need to change a few things around as follows:

Uncheck these boxes:

  • Permanent Private Browsing Mode
    • Remember my browsing history
    • Remember download history
    • Remember search and form history

Check these boxes:

  • Accept cookies from sites
    • Accept third-party cookies
  • Clear history when Firefox closes

Once you have all of those checked as shown, Click Settings

Firefox 4 privacy options customization

Step 4

Now the smaller settings window should appear.  Check everything except for Cookies and Active LoginsClick OK to save change.s

Firefox 4 cookies and active logins let alone

Done!

Now you have your custom Firefox privacy options set up.  With these settings Firefox 4 will always act just like it does in Private Browsing mode, except it will hang onto cookies and still allow you to save your login state for most webapps and services.  Yes, your history will be gone every time you close Firefox, but at the same it will keep you logged into some sites; like Gmail.  If you are concerned about storing unwanted cookies on your computer, you can add trusted sites to your exceptions list quite easily.

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2 Responses to How to Set Firefox to Always Run in Private Browsing Mode

  1. Giagos January 25, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    Excellent article! Well done and keep up the good job!

  2. marci m December 22, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    Thanks! This is most helpful

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