InPrivate Browsing is a feature in Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge that’s very similar to Google’s Incognito Mode. Basically, it allows you to browse “confidentially”, meaning your browsing history is not recorded, cookies are not stored, and other data is not stored by your browser.
In this article, I will share how to prevent users from using InPrivate Browsing in IE and Edge. Sometimes, InPrivate Browsing can prevent administrators from properly tracking their users’ activity.
The easiest way to turn off InPrivate Browsing is to use the Group Policy Editor on Windows. However, this feature is not installed by default in Windows Home editions. You can try enabling gpedit.msc on your home version of Windows, but I’ll also mention the registry keys in case you don’t want to accidentally mess up your installation.
Disable private browsing via GPEdit.msc
If you have Windows 7, 8, or 10 Pro or higher, simply click Start and type gpedit.msc. In the Group Policy Editor, navigate to the following location for IE:
Computer Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Internet Explorer – Privacy
In the right pane, double-click Turn Off InPrivate Browsing. Select the “Enabled” radio button and click “OK”. For Microsoft Edge, navigate to the following location:
– / Computer Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Microsoft Edge
Here you will see the “Allow InPrivate Browsing” item. Double click on it and select the Disabled radio button. This is the opposite of the IE setting and I don’t understand why they haven’t made it more consistent.
After configuring these settings, users will no longer be able to use InPrivate Browsing in IE and Edge. Then let’s talk about registry keys if you can’t use gpedit.
Disable InPrivate Browsing via Recording
To disable the Private Browsing feature in IE and Edge, you first need to open the Registry Editor by clicking Start and typing regedit. It’s worth noting that the keys I mentioned below are for Windows 10 with the latest updates at the time of this writing. If you are using a different version of Windows, these keys may or may not work.
For Edge, navigate to the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACIHNE Software Policies Microsoft
Here you need to first create two new keys in the left pane. Right click Microsoft and select New – Key. Name this key MicrosoftEdge. Now right click on MicrosoftEdge and select New – Key again. Name this child key Main.
Click Main to select it, then right-click in the right pane and select New – DWORD (32-bit Value). Name it AllowInPrivate and set it to 0. Restart your computer and open Microsoft Edge. The New InPrivate Window option should be grayed out.
For Internet Explorer, follow the same procedure. First navigate to the same key as above:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE Software Policies Microsoft
Now create a key in Microsoft called Internet Explorer. Then create another key in Internet Explorer called Privacy. Click on Privacy and then create a new DWORD value in the right pane called EnableInPrivateBrowsing and set it to 0.
That’s all. You don’t actually need to restart your computer in the case of IE. Just close IE and open it again, and you will see that this option is no longer needed.
For people who use InPrivate at home, remember that this does not mean that you cannot be tracked by other means. For example, the actual websites you visit may record your IP address, your employer or school may log your traffic, and your ISP may also see what you are doing on the Internet. The only way to get around all of this is to use a secure VPN, which is also not reliable, but better than nothing. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Enjoy!