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.
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] "DisableDeleteBrowsingHistory"=dword:00000001 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Privacy] "EnableInPrivateBrowsing"=dword:00000000 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel] "DisableDeleteBrowsingHistory"=dword:00000001 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Privacy] "EnableInPrivateBrowsing"=dword:00000000
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:
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:
- Unzip the policy_templates.zip file.
- From the Windows Start button enter “gpedit.msc” in the search box and press [Enter]. This will open the Local Group Policy Editor.
- Either under Computer Configuration or User Configuration (as you wish), right-click on “Administrative Templates” and click “Add/Remove Templates”.
- Click “Add” and open the file “policy_templates\windows\adm\en-GB\chrome.adm” (replace the “en-GB” with your own country).
- 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.
- 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).
- Double-click “Incognito mode availability” and a dialog will open.
- Now the confusing bit: select “Enabled” and then in the drop-down list underneath select “Incognito mode disabled”.
- You can check which policies are active by going to “chrome://policy/” in Chrome.
For more information please see this article: