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How do I turn off Private Browsing?

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New User

How do I turn off Private Browsing?

I turned on my notebook this morning to find Private Browsing on and Firefox reset to the default appearance. I can't find out how to turn this browsing feature off! Read the articles, looked at Community forum ... nada. Please help! I want my own Firefox back!

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SUMO Contributor

Re: How do I turn off Private Browsing?

Firefox 20 has made some major changes in this area. If you are automatically in private browsing mode, it could be related to your history setting.

purple Firefox button (or Tools menu) > Options > Privacy

If you have Firefox will "Never remember history" that could cause this problem. Change to "Use custom settings for history" and uncheck the box for "Always use private browsing mode".

Does that work? You might need to restart Firefox in order to escape, as I don't see a way to change a private window into a regular window.

Note that I'm just exploring this change right now, and there's a good chance more knowledgeable people will chime in!

30 REPLIES
Site Moderator

Re: How do I turn off Private Browsing?

Click the Firefox button, then click stop private browsing How do I turn off Private Browsing?

SUMO Contributor

Re: How do I turn off Private Browsing?

Firefox 20 has made some major changes in this area. If you are automatically in private browsing mode, it could be related to your history setting.

purple Firefox button (or Tools menu) > Options > Privacy

If you have Firefox will "Never remember history" that could cause this problem. Change to "Use custom settings for history" and uncheck the box for "Always use private browsing mode".

Does that work? You might need to restart Firefox in order to escape, as I don't see a way to change a private window into a regular window.

Note that I'm just exploring this change right now, and there's a good chance more knowledgeable people will chime in!

New User

Re: How do I turn off Private Browsing?

Thanks jscher! Your answer was spot-on. I guess there was an automatic update and just as you said, it now defaults to private browsing if you have the "Never remember history" option turned on. When I unchecked the box and restarted Firefox, everything was back to normal. To test, I rechecked the "Never remember history box" and it went right back to Private Browsing mode and restarted itself. Good to know!

New User

Re: How do I turn off Private Browsing?

Hi Tyler, I don't have that Firefox button so using Tools - Options was the only way to change the settings. Thanks - I appreciate your superfast response and attempt to help. :-)

New User

Re: How do I turn off Private Browsing?

Unfortunately I have tried turning remember history on and off with no success. Does anyone have any other ideas?

SUMO Contributor

Re: How do I turn off Private Browsing?

Hi seantheaussie, are you saying that Firefox restarted in Private Browsing mode again, even with Custom settings and the box unchecked, or that Firefox failed to save your change, you looked in the dialog and it had switched back?

New User

Re: How do I turn off Private Browsing?

jscher2000 I have had custom history settings for as long as I can remember. After I updated to firefox 20 this morning things were different. It didn't show my home page, the back button doesn't work, it didn't automatically fill out my passwords, it didn't have addresses in the address bar, clicking on links in windows live mail doesn't properly open the page. I suspect that I am stuck in private browsing mode.

    Firefox restarts when I change between custom settings for history and never remember history but the look and functionality of firefox doesn't change.
SUMO Contributor

Re: How do I turn off Private Browsing?

Hi seantheaussie, you can tell if you're in private browsing mode by the menu: purple Firefox button, or a "mask" at the right end of the classic menu bar.

What do you get instead of your home page? Did you lose any bookmarks or your saved passwords?

If preference changes do not stick, there is a support article with some possible diagnoses for that: How to fix preferences that won't save. I wouldn't do a reset as the first step since I have the sense you have a little more patience for troubleshooting than the average person.

New User

Re: How do I turn off Private Browsing?

Thanks for your help jscher2000 I was wrong about the problem. I Tried disabling all my addons and the problem disappeared upon restart. So now I get to enjoy myself enabling them one by one to find the contrary bastard. Sean