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 it.

Instructions in this article apply to Microsoft Edge version 81 on the Windows 10 operating system.

Web Browsing and Data Collection

When browsing the web on a PC running Windows 10 with Microsoft Edge, several data components are stored on your device's local hard drive. Such components include a history of the websites that you've visited, cached files and cookies associated with those sites, passwords and personal information you enter in web forms, and much more. Microsoft Edge allows you to manage this data and delete some or all of it with just 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 you're using Microsoft Edge on a shared device (such as a public computer). 

How to Activate InPrivate Mode in Microsoft Edge

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

  1. Open a Microsoft Edge browser window.

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

    A screenshot of Microsoft Edge with the More icon highlighted
  3. Select New InPrivate window.

    Alternatively, the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+N opens a new InPrivate window, as well.

    A screenshot of Edge with the New InPrivate Window command highlighted
  4. 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.

    A screenshot of 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.

 

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 does remain on the hard drive at the end of an InPrivate Browsing session, including any changes you've made to Microsoft Edge settings or Favorites that you may have saved.

Also, websites themselves 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 could still monitor your activity on the web, including the sites that you've visited.