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]
"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

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:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/disable-private-browsing-pl/?src=api

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:
http://dl.google.com/dl/edgedl/chrome/policy/policy_templates.zip

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:
https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/187202?hl=en

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