How to Start Google Chrome in Incognito Mode by Default

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I remember a wall poster that said – “Even for expert users things should be simple.”

The line came to my mind when I came across the nifty “˜Incognito mode’ in Google Chrome. The incognito mode gives us a way to stealthily and sneakily wade through the web. For those who have come in late, this is what Google says about the incognito mode…

Webpage’s that you open and files downloaded while you are incognito won’t be logged in your browsing and download histories; all new cookies are deleted after you close the incognito window. You can browse normally and in incognito mode at the same time by using separate windows.

In spite of its cool quotient, what is missing for a lot of us is a way to launch the browser in incognito mode by default. The solution is not too far to seek as Google provides a command line switch which we can use.

So, how to start Google Chrome in Incognito Mode

  1. Place a Google Chrome shortcut on the desktop (or any other desired location).

    start google chrome in incognito mode

  2. Rename the shortcut to any convenient name like – Private Chrome.
  3. Right click on the shortcut and select “˜Properties’.
    start chrome in privacy mode
  4. On the “˜Target’ field add an –incognito to the end of program path. (Note: Make sure there is a space between the last apostrophe and the dash)

  5. Your incognito browser is now ready for launch. If you select “˜New Window’ from settings, you will get a normal non-incognito chrome window.

The incognito mode has its uses in public browsing where we don’t want to leave behind a trace of our activities. Among its other off hand uses is that it allows us to open different account sessions for the same website. For instance I can open two different talk sessions of Gmail Chat, one through the normal browser window and the other through the incognito one. This possibility extends to other web services too where one has two different accounts.

Did you find this simple tip useful? Any special reason you would want to launch Google Chrome in Incognito Mode by defualt? Let us know in the comments.

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Comments (41)
  • Cara Barks (Mishaa)

    Hi there, noob here so have patience? This used to work for me, but after I updated to Windows 10 (on a Surface Pro 3 if that matters?), it stopped working.

    When I add -incognito or even –incognito after the .exe” (with a space in between, yeah), I get asked to provide administrator permission, and once I click continue on that, it then tells me I’m “Unable to Save Changes to ‘Google Chrome.Ink’. Access is denied.” (If it matters, I’m the only user, so I definitely have Administrator permissions.)

    Help would be much appreciated.

    • lavender and lemons

      I’m on windows 7, and tried adding –incognito after the .exe”. The same notice was shown. So I tried removing the ” and just typed in, .exe –incognito. Hit the apply and ok buttons, and now its working fine.

      Hope this helps. :)

    • Mihir Patkar

      Perfect reply, thanks L&L!

  • aceceo

    Useful, but unfortunately it doesn’t make the incognito browser actually default. Only the shortcut is default. Meaning if you open links from a PDF or mail program (like Windows Live Mail) the links open a new window, which is not incognito rather than a new tab in your incognito window.

    Do you know how to make incognito the default for these types of links? I’ve been searching, but alas – no luck!

    Thanks!

    • Saikat Basu

      True. Haven’t found a solution for that yet.

    • aceceo

      Thanks for the reply. If you, or anyone else figures this out – please reply – I’d love to know how! :)

    • Bruce Williamson

      howzit aceceo?

      best option i can suggest is to use chromodo which has an option in the settings to default to incognito. An added benefit is that they remove all google’s hidden hooks to track you online :-)

      cheers
      aztrix

  • Mack Chiam

    I was not able to set as per the instructions here. I was prompted that the path does not exist. Pls advise.

    • Saikat Basu

      Do check your installation location for Chrome. Maybe, the error is in the file path.

  • Dean

    How do you make google your homepage while in chrome so it doesn’t come up with the whole “You’ve gone incognito” crap on it?

    As in it opens up Google.com?

  • LadyTW

    Thank you so much! I have been attempting to go incognito for some time and could not find an easy way to do it. The previous instructions I found on another site, neglected to say to create an icon and work from that area!! Thank you again.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.