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What happened to the "start private browsing" option. Version 20.0

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  • Last reply by Terrified

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What happened to the "start private browsing" option? Version 20.0

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Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history

Private browsing has been improved in Firefox 20.

Read this answer in context 👍 64

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Chosen Solution

Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history

Private browsing has been improved in Firefox 20.

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Firefox 20 versions and later have switched to Private Browsing mode per Window.

You can now find Private Browsing in the Firefox menu button drop down and in the File menu as "New Private Window".

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I'm sorry but this is NOT Private.

Before v20 it used to work like this: -Visiting a site in a private session, would not send cookies to that site that were obtained before the Private Sesssion started.

NOW it works like this: -Visting a site in a "Private Browsing Window" WILL in fact send cookies to the server that were obtained before the Private Browsing Window was opened..... This in effect nullifies the basic purpose of a "Private Browsing" and it really SUCKS ! I'm so upset of this choice.

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That shouldn't happen.
You may get confused because the cookie manager works differently in Private Browsing mode and only shows cookies from regular mode.

You can check this in the Net log in the "Web Developer > Web Console" (Ctrl+Shift+K).
If you open a New Private Window and open the Web Console and open a page in this window to a website from which you have stored cookies then the request headers that you can inspect when left clicking the main page request shouldn't include send cookies the first time you open this page.

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Yes, we really need more and more windows... Next time I will choose absolutely new window - opera window.

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What I don't like is the way it has (Private Browsing) in the header of each page. Anybody looking at your screen is going to think "Hmm...Private Browsing, eh!"

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Why no option anymore to go toggle private in current window? Is there a way to get that back? Boo on new windows for pb.

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There is another issue with the new design that is likely to trip up unwary users, and could cause unwanted accidental security exposures.

In the original version, pressing the toolbar "new window" icon in private-browsing mode opened a new PRIVATE window. However, because FF20 has separate services to open a private and a "normal" window, pressing the "new window" icon in a private window opens a new NORMAL window. This is at best a surprising, and at worst a potentially dangerou, design inconsistency. Since there is only one icon, the default behaviour should always be to maintain the mode you are in, and it should require a deliberate action to change it.

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Future Firefox versions will also support Private Browsing per tab, this is already available in an extension.

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What was good about the private browsing option in the tools menu was that with one click you could close all private windows instantly and there was no confusion about which window was private. It has become very cumbersome now.

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Yes, I made that observation too, on another thread/question. See https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/955778 . I also offered a (very clumsy!) way to reproduce the original behaviour, using the Session Manager add-on.

But I would really like a proper fix!

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I can't really see the value in having two windows open. Much preferred the "old" way... hopefully it will return as an option in FF21.

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Future Firefox versions will support Private Browsing per tab, this is already available in an extension.

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The new private window and private tab options are in my opinion a backward step. It's just adding complexity and confusion and making it more likely that you are not in private browsing when you think you are.

The previous method was simple to understand and use. This new way is change for the sake of change - whats the point of making things worse?

Bring back the old way. At least as an option.

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The Firefox menu button gets purple or you get a purple PB mask on the menu bar or tab bar (Linux) with the Private Tab extension if you are in a PB tab and all Private Browsing mode tabs get a broken underlining.

  • extensions.privateTab.makeNewEmptyTabsPrivate
  • extensions.privateTab.makeNewEmptyWindowsPrivate
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What bothers me about this new method is that under the old Private Browsing, the browsing history was not recorded. Now, no matter if I choose Private Window, or a new Private Tab, the browsing history is right there! What gives with that??

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@cor-el : "That shouldn't happen."

But yes, It happens...

For example (Firefox 20.0.1):

  1. Open a new "clean" window ("Clear recent history..."\"everything").
  2. From the clean window open a first private window (Ctrl+Shift+P).
  3. In the first private window, login in, for example, in a google account.
  4. Return to the "clean" window and open a second private window (Ctrl+Shift+P).
  5. In the second private window go to google.com and you are automatically logged in the same google account than in the first private window.

Of course, I confirm this by checking the HTTP headers (plugin "Live HTTP headers"), and Cookies are actually shared between the two private windows. What's wrong ...

Modified by netscape01

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Are those cookies actually send if you check this with the LHH extension because the Cookie Manager doesn't distinguish between normal and PB mode and always only shows cookies from normal mode?

All Private Browsing mode windows share the same set of cookies, so you can't open several PB mode windows each with their own cookies.
There as two set of cookies, one for normal windows and one for Private Browsing mode windows and both sets are shared among other windows of the same type.

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@cor-el

Yes, cookies are actually send. This behavior seems to be consistent with your explanation (only two sets of cookies). But in this case can we still call this feature "Private Browsing per Windows"?

Maybe it would be better to have only one "private Window" at a time?

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The new way of private browsing sucks, and private tabbing sucks also. What was nice about the old way was how with a quick hot-key you were off your regular site and the next you had a private window. On top of that no matter how many private tabs or windows you had open if you selected those same hot keys it would kill all your private tabs, windows, and pop ups instantly and go directly back to your previously viewed window. This was the best feature about private browsing and it has now been destroyed.

I don't understand why you can't have both since the code obviously exists. I would prefer to go with the old way where all your windows were private, or all of them were not, and it would remember your previous window, tab, or whatever if it wasn't originally private. It just doesn't make any sense to change it to the way it is now.

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