Keep Your Firefox Browsing Private
By Stephen Bucaro
As you browse the web, Firefox saves a lot of information about your activities: phrases
you've typed into search engines, sites you've visited, files you've downloaded, and more.
There may be times, however, when you don't want other users of your computer to view
this information. Private Browsing allows you to browse the Internet without saving any
of this information.
When Firefox is set for Private Browsing, No webpages will be added to the browser's
history list. No text you entered into text boxes or the Search bar will be saved for
autocomplete. No downloads will be listed in the Downloads Window. No tracking cookies
will be stored. No temporary Internet files (cached files) or files that websites save
for offline use will be saved.
To start Private Browsing:
In the Firefox Tools menu select Start Private Browsing. A warning
message box will appear asking Would you like to start Private Browsing?.
Click on the [Start Private Browsing] button.
Firefox saves and closes the current windows and tab locations and opens a Private
Browsing session. Enter the URL of a site you wish to visit. The words (Private
Browsing) will appear in Firefox's title bar.
To stop Private Browsing:
In the Firefox Tools menu select Stop Private Browsing. Firefox closes
the Private Browsing session and restores the windows and tabs you were using when you
enabled Private Browsing. The words (Private Browsing) will no longer be displayed
in Firefox's title bar.
To always start in Private Browsing mode:
In the Firefox Tools menu select Options, then in the Options
dialog box that appears, click on the Privacy tab. On the Privacy page,
in the drop-down list next to "Firefox will:" select [Use custom settings for history].
Set the checkbox next to "Always use private browsing mode" that appears. Then click
on the [OK] button. This setting automatically enables Private Browsing whenever you
If you create new Bookmarks while using Private Browsing, they will not be removed
when you stop Private Browsing. If you download files to your computer while using
Private Browsing, they will not be deleted when you stop Private Browsing (however
they will not appear in the Downloads window list).
Don't count on Private Browsing to make you totally anonymous on the Internet. Your
Internet service provider, employer, or the sites you visit can still track what pages
you visit. And Private Browsing doesn't protect you spyware that may be on your computer.