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Cannot toggle private or non private new window

  • 11 replies
  • 6 have this problem
  • Last reply by cor-el

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Hi Peoples - I thought I would be pleased with the new "Private Browsing" facility - unfortunately this is NOT the case: -

It does not appear possible to toggle between a Private and a non private window - for the use of "Firefox Hello" (quite why such is not available within a Private Window can only be due to some poorly written software... ).

Anyways - my Firefox homepage would appear to be STUCK in Private mode - no amount of restarting appears to fix this... changing browsers does not solve this.

As a further comment - when one selects remove history and "Never remember history" the auto-fill memory for email addresses etc is lost - this is most inconvenient. Why can we not have a simple cache which allows the storage & remembrance of common items such as email addresses but does NOT remember browsing history?

All Replies (11)

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You can remember form data and not history. From about:preferences#privacy use 'custom settings for history' and check always use private browsing, but remember search and form history.

However this setting does put you in private browsing all the time. You can add the exception of cookies for Firefox Hello from that list as well.

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There are two ways to use private windows:

  • Start up a regular session and open private windows as needed, you can open a regular window from a private window using the menu (see attached screen shot)
  • Set Firefox to start up automatically in a private session, no regular windows can be opened at all

If you are "stuck" in automatic private browsing, here's how to turn that off. Start on the Options page, Privacy panel:

"3-bar" menu button (or Tools menu) > Options > Privacy

If the tab has "Firefox will: Never remember history" change that to "Firefox will: Use custom settings for history" and uncheck the box for "Always use private browsing mode"

After Firefox restarts back into a regular window, you can tweak the options to keep just the history you want to keep.

For clearing history on demand or at shutdown, always expand the "details" and uncheck the boxes for settings you don't want to lose. For example, Site Preferences cover things like your pop-up exceptions and sites allowed to set cookies, so don't clear those.

Can you get it set up the way you want?

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Hello guigs - thank you for attempting to answer my query - but I cannot find "From about:preferences#privacy use 'custom settings for history' ???

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Hi Bebbspoke, if you type or paste about:preferences#privacy in the address bar and press Enter to load it, that takes you to the same section of the Options page I mentioned.

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This is getting ridiculous!!! I quite simply require Firefox to permanently remember; -

1/ "Form History" & 2/ to permit me to use "Firefox Hello"


3/ To ALWAYS use "Private Browsing" and 4/ ALWAYS DELETE browsing History....

Surely these functions should be SIMPLY achievable WITHOUT the necessity of modifying or checking the system every time it is used?

PLEASE would Mozilla Firefox make themselves a little more "User friendly"?... Thank you.

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Well, I haven't tried that combination, so I honestly don't know whether it can work with #3. If not, you can submit suggestions for changes to Firefox on the following site:

The following combination of settings is very close to private browsing (except that private window also have anti-tracking), so maybe give this a try. On the Privacy panel of the Options page:

Firefox will: Use custom settings for history

[_] Always use private browsing mode (UNchecked)

[_] Remember my browsing and download history (UNchecked) [X] Remember search and form history (checked)

[X] Accept cookies from sites (checked) Accept third-party cookies: Always Keep until: I close Firefox

[X] Clear history when Firefox closes (checked) Settings: "When I quit Firefox, it should automatically clear all:" [X] Browsing & download history (checked) [X] Active logins (checked) [_] Form & search history (UNchecked) [X] Cookies (checked) [X] Cache (checked) [_] Site preferences (UNchecked) [X] Offline website data (checked)

If you decide you actually want to keep some cookies between sessions, you can create site-specific exceptions and uncheck that box to clear cookies at shutdown.

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

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Hi jscher 2000 - thank you for your suggestion; -

The real problem I seek to solve is that only Form history is remembered... i.e. Search history is forgotten.

I have followed your suggestion and posted the requirement via the Mozilla Feedback link which you gave. Thank you.

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Much to my considerable annoyance I now find that Firefox will NOT retain preference settings....

I select to use "Never remember history" and to Always use Private browsing.

However - having selected the above - and closing and reopening Firefox; - I now find that Firefox returns the option to "Use custom settings for history"

This is infuriating!

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Bebbspoke said

I select to use "Never remember history" and to Always use Private browsing.

However - having selected the above - and closing and reopening Firefox; - I now find that Firefox returns the option to "Use custom settings for history"

Hi Bebbspoke, think of "Use custom settings for history" as meaning "Show me the details because I changed something in there." Are the specific details below that line different between the time you shut down and start up again? If so, which specific settings are changing?

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Note that Firefox won't store any new data (form data and Passwords) when you are in permanent PB mode, but you have access to already saved form data.

"Use custom settings for history" keeps showing when not all history settings have the default setting as a reminder that you made changes. Only when all setting are default then you see (never) remember history. Otherwise its only usage is to inspect the current settings.