Desktop Computers

private-browsingWhen you use your computer to visit a website you can leave a trail, this is often known as your history. This can show other people who have use the computer what websites you have been visiting. This could cause problems if you don’t want anyone to know you are visiting this site. Fortunately its easy to hide your trail. How to do this varies depending upon which browser you use.

Private Browsing

Most modern browsers have a private mode (name varies), this helps prevent anyone else who might be using your computer from seeing what sites you visited and what you looked at on the web.

Generally Private Browsing can be activated in the Tool bar. This will open a new window. Remember only to use this window for your browsing session, and make sure you close it! Leaving this window open will enable people to see what websites you have been looking at.

How you do this depends upon which browser you are using.

inprivate-browsingInternet Explorer

To enable a private browsing session in Internet Explorer, click on Tools in the menu and then select InPrivate Browsing. A new window will open with “InPrivate” appearing in blue in address bar

If you don’t have Tools in the menu, click on the great icon in the right hand side of the screen, select Safety and choose InPrivate Browsing from the menu.

There should be a message which tells you about private browsing.


If you have a menu in Firefox, click File and then select New Private Window. A new window will open, with an orange Firefox symbol in the address bar.

If you do not have a menu, as in the picture on the right, click on the Firefox icon in the top left of the screen, a dropdown menu will appear, select New Private Window.

Again there should be a message which tells you about private browsing.


In Chrome, private browsing is called Incognito Mode.

  1. Click the Chrome menu  on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select New incognito window.
  3. A new window will open with the incognito icon (an man wearing a hat) in the corner.

There will be a message telling telling you that you are in Incognito Mode.


  1. In Safari, click on the gear icon in the top right of the screen.
  2. From the menu select Private Browsing.
  3. You will get a message asking you if you want to turn on Private Browsing. Select OK.
  4. You know when you are in private browsing because there will be a message in the address bar.


Remember to close your browser window after you have finished, so that people cannot see your history.

If you forget

If you forget to turn on private browsing, don’t worry, you can delete your history.

How to delete your history varies between browsers, to find out how, do a quick search in Google.

Deleting your history is OK in emergencies, but we recommend using private browsing. If your browser history is empty, people might ask you why.