How-To Geek

Open IE’s Private Browsing Mode the Easy Way

Internet Explorer’s “private browsing” mode is an excellent way to hide what you’re looking at from prying eyes, but it’s normally hidden under a menu… but we can make it easier to access.

The Normal Way

To open an InPrivate Browsing window, you can either use the Ctrl+Shift+P shortcut key, or just use the Safety \ InPrivate Browsing item on the menu. On more modern versions of IE, you can find that through the Gear icon, and then Safety \ InPrivate Browsing as seen below.

Older versions of IE look like this:


And you’ll immediately see a private browsing window, which will leave no traces of your browsing history. Useful!


The other thing that private browsing is useful for is checking your email on somebody else’s computer – no danger of cookies lying around letting them back into your email account once you’ve gone.

Windows 7 or 8 Makes it Really Simple

If you are using Windows 7 or 8, all you have to do is right-click on the icon in the taskbar and choose the InPrivate option. You can also click and hold the left mouse button on the icon, and slide your mouse up… the menu will pop up and you can choose it there.

In other news, Windows 7 is awesome.

Create a Shortcut to Open Private Browsing Mode

If you haven’t made the switch to Windows 7 yet, or you just want to make a new shortcut, you can still create your own shortcut manually. Simply create a new shortcut to Internet Explorer, and add the following to the end (after the quotes).


The final path should look similar to this, depending on your system:


Give the icon a useful name indicating that it’s a private mode shortcut…


And now you have a shiny new icon to start up Internet Explorer in private browsing mode.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/14/09

Comments (32)

  1. Dino

    IE 8 only, right?

  2. abolfazl

    tanks more i loveeeeeeeeeeeeeee howtogeek

  3. Chuchu

    Thanks. I needed the shortcut.

  4. will

    is there any way to actually find the browsing history if someone is using in private on IE 8?

  5. dave

    works on same principle with google chrome

  6. Private Internet Browsing

    “Total Internet Privacy or TIP Tunnel offer complete Private network, Private internet browsing, Private internet, Anonymous proxy, private browsing by VPN”

  7. stephie

    they invented this so folk can go on porn and wont be found out by their other half or parents

  8. Ken

    How do you remove this feature??In private browsing??

  9. Anna

    This does not work for me. Keep getting the message “program can not be found”

  10. Terry

    Anna you may be forgetting to put a space before you type -private. I kept getting the same message

  11. Unknown

    Uh…. I do not have a safety thing on my menu and the ctrl+shift+P is not working.

  12. AP

    Thanks a bunch – this was super helpful

  13. AP

    Thanks to you!

  14. kim

    How do you remove in private off your computer?

  15. Darin

    I have explorer 7 and I was totally unable to locate any ‘private mode’ following the instructions given

  16. imran

    private browsing halp

  17. pat

    unknown i have the same issue.No safety listed on my menu and shortcut didn’t wprok either.Anyone have an answer?

  18. Homo

    Ur all fucking retarded pieces of shit hahahahahahahaha I’m so stoned

  19. Cole P

    junk don’t work on Mac books.
    crap-books’ more like it!!!!

  20. D.

    When setting the -private in the string the page opens to a blank inprivate window as opposed to a home page of ones choosing. In order to open a specific home page add a space after -private and then the webage you want to open.

    Eg: -private

  21. XBasic3000

    I tried it, and its nice but its not really in private coz they shared cookies and caches on all instances. why? you cannot log-on into different account on one site. its just, leaves no history.

  22. Ken

    I installed IE 9, and I am now unable to use the SAFETY of IE8. There seems to be no way to stop IE9 from piling up browsing history now. Do you have a method?

  23. John

    Soooo, if you are at work and want to look at personal stuff, nobody will be able to view the websites? It’s all good even on a VPN?

  24. Armin

    Is there a shortcut for ie8 Inprivate on WinXP?

  25. Zordana

    I have Win7 but i keep losing ‘In Private’…how do i get it back please?

  26. swetha


    It was very useful. :)

  27. John

    My question is if the IP guy at work can view what you are looking at if you are in a private browser, or can he not see it? I would like to wathc youtube at work but not if he is going to know that I am doing it.

  28. Arnold Nonymous

    i dont have a safety button either and shortcut wont work?!?

  29. katy malsham

    Can you please help me my husband has had several affairs and i think he is back doing it again again. if thats the case then i need to leave with my son as he has risked my health in the past. how can i get the browsing history from in private to check as he is acting very strange. is there anyone kind enough to help please

  30. Anony

    You can type the below command in the command window, you may get it:


    you will get the host name and sites he has used.

  31. Bob

    How do I turn off the in private browsing mode? It doesn’t allow me to view movies from Netflix

  32. Bub

    TMI, katy malsham, but best wishes.

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