Using InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge for Windows

Control how much data is saved when you surf the web

The InPrivate Browsing feature in the Microsoft Edge browser lets you limit and manage what data the program collects and stores when you visit a website. Learn how to activate incognito mode on Edge.

Instructions in this article apply to Microsoft Edge for Windows 10. Update to the latest version of Edge to use the newest features.

How to Activate InPrivate Mode in Microsoft Edge

To enable InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge, complete the following steps:

  1. Select the Settings and more icon, which looks like three horizontal dots.

    Microsoft Edge with the More icon highlighted
  2. Select New InPrivate window.

    Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+N to open a new InPrivate window.

    Edge with the New InPrivate Window command highlighted
  3. A new browser window opens. A blue and white image in the upper-right corner indicates that InPrivate Browsing mode is active in the current window.

    Edge browser with the InPrivate icon highlighted

The rules for InPrivate browsing automatically apply to all tabs opened within this window or any window with the InPrivate Browsing mode indicator visible. However, you can have other Microsoft Edge windows open simultaneously that don't adhere to these rules, so always make sure that InPrivate Browsing mode is active before taking any action.

Web Browsing and Data Collection

When browsing the web on a PC that has Windows 10 with Microsoft Edge, several data components are stored on the device's local hard drive. Such components include a history of the websites that you visited, cached files and cookies associated with those sites, passwords and personal information you enter in web forms, and more. Microsoft Edge allows you to manage this data and delete some or all of it with a few mouse clicks.

To proactively control these potentially sensitive data components, Microsoft Edge InPrivate Browsing mode enables you to surf websites without leaving any of this information behind. InPrivate Browsing is particularly useful when using Microsoft Edge on a shared device (such as a public computer).

What Data Is Saved and What Is Not

While using InPrivate Browsing mode, some data components, such as the cache and cookies, are stored temporarily on your hard drive but immediately deleted when you close the active window. Browsing history, passwords, and other information are not saved while InPrivate Browsing is active.

With that said, some information remains on the hard drive at the end of an InPrivate Browsing session, including changes you made to the Microsoft Edge settings or Favorites that you saved.

Also, websites may still be able to obtain certain information about you through your IP address and other mechanisms, such as data collection the websites perform.

Although InPrivate Browsing prevents remnants of your browsing session from being stored on your hard drive, it's not a vehicle for complete anonymity. For example, the administrator in charge of your network or your internet service provider can monitor your activity on the web, including the sites you visited.

How to Enable Tracking Prevention and Strict Mode

The new tracking blockers protect your personal data from the websites you visit. This feature is enabled by default, but you have more extensive control over your security online.

Go to Settings and more > Settings > Privacy, search, and services to make sure the Tracking prevention slider is in the On position. You can then choose your preferred level of protection:

  • Basic: Allows trackers that personalize content and disallows potentially dangerous ones.
  • Balanced: Blocks most trackers the first time you visit a site, resulting in less personalized content.
  • Strict: Block the majority of trackers for all sites, which can cause some sites to misbehave.
Tracking prevention options in Microsoft Edge

Select Exceptions to turn off tracking protection for specific sites.

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