IE8 and IE9: Shortcut for Always Opening in InPrivate Mode

   Posted by David Kirk in Windows

By adding a simple command line switch to a shortcut, you can easily open Internet Explorer directly in the protective InPrivate mode without having to launch it from a non-private window. These directions will work for all modern versions of Internet Explorer including IE8 and IE9.

When browsing while using InPrivate Browsing, identifying information such as cookies are not saved. Likewise, the history is not recorded or saved. Many users have requested the ability to always force Internet Explorer to open in InPrivate Mode. By following these directions, we will be creating a separate IE icon that when clicked will automatically open the browser in InPrivate Mode.

1. Right-click the desktop. When the menu appears, mouseover New and select Shortcut.

2. When the Create Shortcut window appears, insert the following into the text box based on your version of Windows:


"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" -private


"C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" -private

3. Click the Next button.

4. To add a name for your new shortcut, input the name (for example IE8 – InPrivate) into the textbox.

5. Click the Finish button.

Your newly created shortcut will appear on your desktop. Use this shortcut for all of your InPrivate browsing.

If the shortcut does not work for you, it’s possible that Internet Explorer on your system is installed differently. To get the correct location in step two, follow these steps.

To find out exactly where the browser lives on your system, right click on your current IE icon and select Properties and the Shortcut tab. Copy the information found in the Target text box. Paste this information into the shortcut text box described in step two with the -private flag appended to the end.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
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  • dave

    if you would like the inprivate browser to open to a specific web page (home page) add the following to the above…. i.e. (set as home page) //

    substitute “//” with the address of the home page you prefer

  • bobtarrel

    Thank you for this. But how do I stop IE9 from opening inPrivate mode? I’ve been using inPrivate for certain types of web browsing since IE9 came out, but for all my regular activities like a simple google search from the address box in the task bar or gmail, my online banking, etc, I don’t use inPrivate since I want a history of my activities. Yesterday, after an inPrivate session, I’ve found that some of my previously OK shortcuts have started opening in inPrivate, including search strings entered in the task bar address box. How do I stop this?

    • HAUS

      >Did you ever get a response to this? I have the same problem and it’s driving me absolutely nuts. I also open from Outlook and if there is a form to fill, I can’t do it!

  • Photon

    I have the same issue…. Pre-existing web shortcuts now open in InPrivate, then the browser locks up, for me.