Using InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge for Windows

Control how much data is saved when you surf the web

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InPrivate Browsing Mode

edge inprivate browsing
© Getty Images (Mark Airs #173291681).

This tutorial is only intended for users running the Microsoft Edge web browser on Windows 10 or later.

This tutorial details the InPrivate Browsing feature in the Microsoft Edge browser and shows you how to activate it. Doing so allows you to limit and manage what data is collected and stored when you visit a website.

Web Browsing and Data Collection

When browsing the web on Windows 10 with Microsoft Edge, several data components are stored on your device's local hard drive. These include a history of the websites that you've visited, cached files and cookies associated with those sites, passwords and other personal data which you enter into web forms, and much more. Edge allows you to manage this data, and also allows you to delete some or all of it with just a few mouse clicks.

If you'd like to proactively control these potentially sensitive data components, Edge offers InPrivate Browsing Mode, which lets you freely surf your favorite websites without leaving any of this information behind at the end of your browsing session. InPrivate Browsing is particularly useful when using Edge on a shared device (such as a public computer). 

Activating InPrivate Mode

Follow these steps to enable InPrivate browsing:

  1. Open your Microsoft Edge browser.
  2. Click the More actions menu icon, represented by three horizontally-placed dots.
  3. From the dropdown menu, select the New InPrivate window.

A new browser window should now be displayed. You'll notice a blue and white image in the upper lefthand corner, indicating that InPrivate Browsing Mode is active in the current window.

The rules for InPrivate browsing automatically apply to all tabs opened within this window, or any window with InPrivate Browsing Mode indicator visible. However, it is possible to have other Edge windows open simultaneously that do not 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 surfing the web in InPrivate Browsing Mode, some data components such as the cache and cookies are stored temporarily on your hard drive but are immediately deleted once the active window is closed. Browsing history, passwords, and other pieces of information are not saved at all 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 Edge's settings or Favorites that you may have saved.

It is important to note that although InPrivate Browsing ensures that remnants of your browsing session are not stored on your device's hard drive, it is not a vehicle for complete anonymity. For example, the administrator in charge of your network or the internet service provider can still monitor your activity on the web, including the sites that you have visited. Also, websites themselves may still have the ability to obtain certain information about you through your IP address and other mechanisms, such as data collection their websites perform.