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How to browse the Internet in Private

Private browsing is a new features with all of the new browsers.  What is private browsing?  It is a way  to surf the Internet without leaving a trail for others to find.  Your history, cookies, all destroyed.  Now you can claim some privacy when using your home computer.

Now some would think this feature is primarily for those who are doing things that they should not be.  Not necessarily, you could be planning a surprise party for a family member that you share a computer with.  Perhaps you are at work and share a workspace with someone you do not trust, you want privacy.  Never mind the reasons why you would want to surf privately, take note.  Privacy mode will not protect your privacy from law enforcement or other outside individuals that may or may not be watching you.  Privacy mode is to protect your privacy from the next person who uses the computer you are using.  It removes all traces of your activity from that person.  Privacy mode does not hide your privacy once you connect beyond your computer.  Here's how to surf in private mode.

Firefox 4

Open up the bright orange Firefox menu in the top-left corner of your browser window. Click "Start Private Browsing."

If this is the first time you've used Private Browsing, you'll get the following message. Go ahead and check that box to avoid getting the same message every time.

Once you've got Private Browsing active, the orange Firefox button will turn purple, and the address bar will be marked with an icon of a mask.

To stop Private Browsing, go back to the Firefox menu and click "Stop Private Browsing". Your non-private tabs will appear right where you left them.

Now, if you've currently got the Menu Bar active within your Toolbar settings, you won't see an orange button in the top-left corner. Instead, you'll find the "Start Private Browsing" option within the Tools menu. Everything else will work exactly the same way.

Google Chrome

Open up the Settings menu. It's the little wrench-shaped icon in the top-right corner. Click "New incognito window." That's right. You're about to go incognito.

Chrome will open up a separate window for your private browsing needs. Your original window will remain in the background. Appropriately enough, Incognito mode is marked with a little fedora-clad gumshoe.

To return to normal browsing, just close the Incognito window.

Internet Explorer 9

See that little gear in the top-right corner? Click it.

Next, mouse-over the Safety menu. Click "InPrivate Browsing."

Like Chrome, IE9 will open a new browser window, leaving your open tabs intact. You'll know the InPrivate browsing window by the dark blue "InPrivate" icon to the left of the address bar.

Close the InPrivate window whenever you're ready to stop being sneaky.


Now go surf in private and be merry.