Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history

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  • Revision id: 15130
  • Created:
  • Creator: wareta
  • Comment: istoric
  • Reviewed: Yes
  • Reviewed:
  • Reviewed by: Verdi
  • Is approved? No
  • Is current revision? No
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This article describes a feature available in Firefox 3.5, Private Browsing, which allows you to browse the Internet without Firefox retaining any data about which sites and pages you have visited:

History is used by the browser to enhance your experience on the Internet. When the browser remembers a website you previously visited or the username and password for your favorite web site, this information is considered your history.

However, there may be times when you do not want other users of your computer to see or access such information. For example, if a friend or family member shares your computer, you might prefer for them not to be able to see what websites you've visited or what files you've downloaded.

Firefox 3.5 and later provide "Private Browsing," which allows you to browse the Internet without Firefox saving any data about which sites and pages you have visited.

Note: Private Browsing prevents information from being recorded on your computer. It does not make you anonymous on the Internet.

What Private Browsing will not retain

  • If you create new Bookmarks in Firefox 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 Where to find and manage downloaded files in Firefox list.

Turn on Private Browsing

To start a Private Browsing session:

  1. Click on the Tools menu and select Start Private Browsing.

Not there? If Start Private Browsing is not in the Tools menu, you are not using the latest version of Firefox. To use this feature, update to Firefox 3.5.
  1. The first time 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.

    • 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.
  1. You will then enter Private Browsing mode, and the Private Browsing information screen will appear.


When browsing in Private Browsing mode, the Firefox window's title will show (Private Browsing) during your session.


Turn off Private Browsing

To end a Private Browsing session:

  1. Click on the Tools menu and select the Stop Private Browsing entry.

  2. The windows and tabs you were using when you enabled Private Browsing will appear, and you can use Firefox normally. The Firefox window's title will no longer show (Private Browsing) when Private Browsing is off.

Always start Firefox in a private browsing session

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

If you enter Private Browsing this way (Private Browsing) won't show in the Firefox title bar.

  1. Click the menu button New Fx Menu Fx57Menu and choose Options.Preferences.

Select the Privacy & Security panel and go to the History section.

  • In the drop-down menu next to Firefox will, choose Use custom settings for history.
    Fx60HistorySettings-UseCustom Fx63CustomHistory
    1. Click to select Automatically start Firefox in a private browsing session.

    2. Close the about:preferences page. Any changes you've made will automatically be saved.