Disable Private Browsing / Incognito Mode

Private browsing may be handy if you want to cover your tracks; naturally you are not looking at anything you shouldn’t but merely planning a nice surprise for a loved one and don’t want them to find out. However, if you are a parent seeking to protect their children or an employer who doesn’t want their employees wasting time then disabling private browsing is a helpful step in reducing temptation: if they know they can’t browse privately then they may be less inclined to look at stuff they shouldn’t.

Internet Explorer

IE requires a Windows Registry edit. Simply paste the required settings from the lines below into a text file (e.g. “ie.reg”) and then “run” it to merge these settings into the Windows Registry.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Privacy]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Privacy]

I believe this works on versions 8, 9 and 10. Please let me know if not. I have included settings for both the whole machine and current user, you don’t actually need both.

I have also included the “DisableDeleteBrowsingHistory” setting as this is useful.


Firefox is the easiest. You simply have to install the “Disable Private Browsing Plus” add-on and then you can do what many marketers do like buying youtube views for example. Once added it cannot be easily removed once added. You can find it here:


Google Chrome

Chrome used to accept registry settings similar to IE but that is no longer the case. You now need to download and install Group Policy Templates from here:

Then follow this procedure:

  1. Unzip the policy_templates.zip file.
  2. From the Windows Start button enter “gpedit.msc” in the search box and press [Enter]. This will open the Local Group Policy Editor.
  3. Either under Computer Configuration or User Configuration (as you wish), right-click on “Administrative Templates” and click “Add/Remove Templates”.
  4. Click “Add” and open the file “policy_templates\windows\adm\en-GB\chrome.adm” (replace the “en-GB” with your own country).
  5. Once installed, open up the “Administrative Templates” and you will see either a new folder “Google” or a new folder “Classic Administrative Templates (ADM)”. The latter on Windows 7/8.
  6. Open up “Google” and then click on “Google Chrome” and you will see a whole raft of settings (for more info: http://www.chromium.org/administrators/policy-list-3).
  7. Double-click “Incognito mode availability” and a dialog will open.
  8. Now the confusing bit: select “Enabled” and then in the drop-down list underneath select “Incognito mode disabled”.
  9. You can check which policies are active by going to “chrome://policy/” in Chrome.

For more information please see this article: