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How can I tell when I'm in a private browsing session - Firefox 35.0.1

  • 7 replies
  • 10 have this problem
  • 5883 views
  • Last reply by H3arkenNot

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When I open a private browsing window in Firefox v 35.0.1, there are no indicators that I'm actually in a private browsing window. In my previous version of Firefox, when using the "New Private Window" command, a new window would pop open that stated in the body: "You are currently browsing in private mode", or something to that effect. It would also display a purple mask in the upper right hand portion of the window near the maximize/minimize/close icons.

Now when I try to open a private window in FF 35, it opens a window that looks identical to the standard FireFox window, with nothing to indicate that i am browsing in private mode. What is happening?

I have attached a screenshot of the top portion of my browsing window while supposedly in a Private Window.

Chosen solution

If you launch Firefox in the Private Browsing mode, using Always use private browsing mode which can be set in Options > Privacy --> Firefox will: Use custom settings for history -- you would be using Permanent Private Browsing mode.

The the "mask"' or a message of Private Browsing at the top of the Firefox window isn't displayed, and menu items and keyboard commands will only open another private window. You can't exit "private mode" without closing Firefox and un-ticking that "Always use ..." preference, before you open Firefox again.

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All Replies (7)

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The mask still appears for me and so does the little statement. So it isnt the version itself that is the issue. Are you sure your going to private browsing? (ctrl Shift p)

Modified by user1089369

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luiz187, I have tried both the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+P), and the drop down menu command. Both open a new browsing window, but the window that they open just looks like a normal Firefox window.

I have another computer running Windows XP with the same version of Firefox, that has no issues with opening a private window.

My current setup having issues runs windows 7 (64 bit). I cannot figure out what is wrong.

A curious note is that: the drop down menu, under File, shows Ctrl+N as the command for a new private window. But Ctrl+N is the standard command to open a new window, not a private window. I am accustomed to using Ctrl+Shift+P, as you have mentioned, to open a private window.

Modified by H3arkenNot

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Chosen Solution

If you launch Firefox in the Private Browsing mode, using Always use private browsing mode which can be set in Options > Privacy --> Firefox will: Use custom settings for history -- you would be using Permanent Private Browsing mode.

The the "mask"' or a message of Private Browsing at the top of the Firefox window isn't displayed, and menu items and keyboard commands will only open another private window. You can't exit "private mode" without closing Firefox and un-ticking that "Always use ..." preference, before you open Firefox again.

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You can use an extension to get Private Browsing mode support per tab.

  • Private Browsing mode tabs get a dashed underline
  • You can toggle Private Browsing mode on/off via the right-click context menu of a tab
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I just experienced something that looked just as you described it. Trying the console command 'firefox -private-window https://support.mozilla.org' opened a new tab (which looked non-private), and clicking the button which normally opens a new Private Browsing window opened a window that looked like a normal window, without the mask.

Then I restarted Firefox, and now it seems to work just fine again, both using the console command and the button.

I use 35.0.1 on Linux.

(Edit: Unfortunately, I could not reproduce this.)

Modified by aviav

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aviav said

... Trying the console command 'firefox -private-window https://support.mozilla.org' opened a new tab (which looked non-private), and clicking the button which normally opens a new Private Browsing window opened a window that looked like a normal window, without the mask. ...

Using that -private-window command works the same as using "permanent browsing" via Options / Preferences > Privacy.

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the-edmeister said

If you launch Firefox in the Private Browsing mode, using Always use private browsing mode which can be set in Options > Privacy --> Firefox will: Use custom settings for history -- you would be using Permanent Private Browsing mode. The the "mask"' or a message of Private Browsing at the top of the Firefox window isn't displayed, and menu items and keyboard commands will only open another private window. You can't exit "private mode" without closing Firefox and un-ticking that "Always use ..." preference, before you open Firefox again.

Thanks for your help everyone. Edmeister: I went into the privacy options under History, I had "never remember history" set as my choice. Apparently that assumes a default setting that behaves in the same way as what you described. If I change the drop down option to "use custom settings for history", it then gives me the option to check or uncheck the "always use private browsing mode" (default was checked). When I unchecked that option, Firefox prompted for a restart and then allowed me to open a private window as normal. Thanks again!