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Private Browsing allows you surf the web without saving any information about the sites you visit - things like passwords, what you search for or enter into forms.

TRY IT: To open a private window, click the Firefox button and choose New Private Window.

What does Private Browsing not save?

Warning: Private Browsing doesn't make you anonymous on the Internet. Your Internet service provider, employer, or the sites themselves can still track what pages you visit. Private Browsing also doesn't protect you from keyloggers or spyware that may be installed on your computer.
  • 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 be listed in the Downloads Window after you turn off Private Browsing.
  • Cookies: Cookies store information about websites you visit such as site preferences, login status, and data used by plugins like Adobe Flash. Cookies can also be used by third parties to track you across websites. For more info about tracking, see How do I turn on the Do Not Track feature?
  • Cached Web Content and Offline Web Content and User Data: No temporary Internet files (cached files) or files that websites save for offline use will be saved.
  • 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, they 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 list.

How do I open a new Private Window?

There are two ways to open a new Private Window.

Open a new, blank Private Window

  • At the top of the Firefox window, click the Firefox button and select New Private Window. A new Private Window will open.
    New Private Window Fx20 Win7
  • Right-click on any link and choose Open Link in New Private Window from the context menu. A new Private Window will open with the link you selected.
    Link in Private Window Fx20 Win7
Important: When in Private Browsing mode, the Firefox button will be purple. You may also have other windows open that are not Private Browsing windows.

Normal - Private Fx20 Win7

How do I always start Firefox in Private Browsing?

There is a setting in the OptionsPreferences window that automatically enables Private Browsing whenever you start Firefox.

Note: If you enter Private Browsing this way, the Firefox button won't turn purple but Firefox will still not retain your history as described above.
  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select Options
  2. Select the Privacy panel.
  3. Set Firefox will: to Never remember history.
    Never Remember History Win7
  4. You will see a message that Firefox needs to restart to enable this feature. Click OK and Firefox will restart in permanent Private Browsing mode.


// These fine people helped write this article:Michael Verdi. You can help too - find out how.
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