Did you know that Firefox, the choice browser of the tech community has a Private Browsing Mode built into it?
If you are a Firefox user and you are using Firefox version 3.5 or higher you can easily switch from normal browsing mode to private browsing mode. Many of the other popular browsers also have a private (incognito) browsing mode that you can explore.
When you are normally browsing the internet, Firefox remembers the web sites you have visited, your user names and passwords, your browsing history and more. In other words these browsing morsels become a profile of your browsing habits and of you. When you switch to the Private Browsing Mode in Firefox, these browsing morsels are not collected and stored on the host computer.
Using Private Browsing Mode, to protect your privacy, is handy when browsing the internet from a friend’s computer or at work. In reverse, you can switch the browser into Private Browsing Mode when someone else is using your computer to prevent extraction of or review of your personal morsels (such as user names, passwords, history, cookies, etc…).
To get into Private Browsing Mode, go to the menu bar (at the top of the browser), click on “Tools”, then “Private Browsing Mode” [ see video ]. You can also perform the hotkey combo of Ctrl + Shift + P on your keyboard to turn Private Browsing Mode “on or off” .
Personally, I prefer using the hotkey combination to quickly go in and out of Private Browsing Mode. When you enter the Private Browsing Mode, Firefox will graciously remember any pages or tabs that you have open, so that when you exit from Private Browsing Mode, you are right back where you started.
You can also depart from Private Browsing Mode by going to the menu bar, click on “Tools”, then “Stop Private Browsing”. You can also leave Private Browsing Mode by simply closing Firefox, as well.
In a Private Browsing session, Firefox won’t keep any browser history, search history, download history, web form history, cookies, or temporary internet files. However, files you download and bookmarks you make will be kept. [ click here to see details ]
You can tell when you are in Private Browsing Mode by looking at the Title Bar at the top of the browser window. It will reflect “Private Browsing – Mozilla Firefox”. Downloading files or saving bookmarks is not affected by Private Browsing Mode.
If you are at another PC, I strongly encourage that you use Firefox and the Firefox Private Browsing Mode to protect your privacy. If Firefox is not available on the host PC you can use Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition and run it from your flash drive.