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 (34)
  • 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.

  • mariposa

    It doesn’t come up in incognito for me. I think it’s because I link my data so I can keep my bookmarks wherever I’m at.

  • Jackson

    Good article. Exactly what I wanted to know. Now I’m incognito all the time and that makes me happy.
    Here’s another thing you can do: When I went incognito, I though “shoot, I lost all my extensions.” But, the fact is you can re-enable them in SETTING>EXTENSIONS and tick all the boxes that say ALLOW IN INCOGNITO MODE.
    Most extensions will work normally again. Can’t imagine browsing without Ad-Blocker!
    Again, thanks much

    • Saikat

      True. But I like to enable just the critical ones in my case. Like LastPass. and Pocket. It’s a flexibility that’s very helpful.

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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.