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How to Activate InPrivate Browsing Mode in Internet Explorer 11

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InPrivate Browsing
IE11 Private Browsing

(Image © Scott Orgera)

This tutorial was last updated on October 20, 2013.

InPrivate Browsing mode is now activated, and a new browser tab or window should be open. The InPrivate indicator, located in IE11's address bar and highlighted in the example above, confirms that you are indeed surfing the Web privately. The following conditions will apply to any actions taken within the confines of this InPrivate Browsing window.

  • Cookies: Many websites will place a small text file on your hard drive used to store user-specific settings and other information unique to you. This file, or cookie, is then utilized by that site to provide a customized experience or to retrieve data such as your login credentials. With InPrivate Browsing enabled, these cookies are deleted from your hard drive as soon as the current window or tab is closed. This includes Document Object Model storage, or DOM, which is sometimes referred to as a super cookie and is also removed.
  • Temporary Internet Files: Also known as cache, these are images, multimedia files, and even full Web pages that are stored locally with the purpose of speeding up load times. These files are immediately deleted when the InPrivate Browsing tab or window is closed.
  • Browsing History: IE11 typically stores a record of URLs, or addresses, which you have visited. While in InPrivate Browsing Mode, this history is never recorded.
  • Form Data: Information that you enter into a Web form, such as your name and address, is normally stored by IE11 for future use. With InPrivate Browsing enabled, however, no form data whatsoever is recorded locally.
  • AutoComplete: IE11 will use both your previous browsing and search history for its AutoComplete feature, taking an educated guess each time you begin to type a URL or search keywords. This data is not stored while surfing in InPrivate Browsing mode.
  • Crash Restoration: IE11 stores session data in the event of a crash, so that automatic recovery is possible upon relaunch. This is also true if multiple InPrivate tabs are open concurrently and one of them happens to crash. However, if the entire InPrivate Browsing window crashes, all session data is automatically wiped out and restoration is not a possibility.
  • RSS Feeds: RSS Feeds added to IE11 while InPrivate Browsing Mode is enabled are not deleted when the current tab or window is closed. Each individual feed must be manually removed if you so desire.
  • Favorites: Any Favorites, also known as Bookmarks, created during an InPrivate Browsing session are not removed once the session is complete. Therefore, they can be viewed in standard browsing mode and must be deleted manually if you wish to remove them.
  • IE11 Settings: Any modifications made to IE11's settings during an InPrivate Browsing session will remain intact at the close of that session.

To turn off InPrivate Browsing at any time, simply close the existing tab(s) or window and return to your standard browsing session.

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