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Launch Chrome Directly in Incognito Mode with a Custom Shortcut

Posted by Jim Tanous on July 14, 2014
Google Chrome Incognito Mode

Google Chrome has long supported a private browsing feature called Incognito Mode. While browsing in Incognito Mode, Chrome blocks certain local tracking functions to prevent other users of the same computer from learning about the sites visited during the session. This includes deleting any cookies downloaded during the Incognito Mode session, disabling third-party extensions, and temporarily disabling Chrome’s website history function.

Related: iPhone and iPad users can block local browser tracking by enabling Private Browsing mode in iOS.

Incognito Mode is useful for hiding a user’s browsing activity from other local users of the same computer, such as when shopping for a secret birthday gift, conducting private business on a friend’s computer, or looking at adult content. However, Incognito Mode should not be confused with browser or online security. The websites a user visits while in Incognito Mode will still be able to identify the user via IP address, and many forms of online viruses and malware will still infect the computer if downloaded or executed.
That said, many users find value in Chrome’s Incognito Mode, and frequently access the feature. Doing so, however, requires that the user first launch the browser and then initiate a new Incognito Mode session with via Chrome’s menu or a keyboard shortcut (Control-Shift-N for Windows and Linux, Command-Shift-N for OS X).
If you find yourself frequently entering Chrome’s Incognito Mode, you can save a step by creating a dedicated Chrome shortcut that launches the browser with Incognito Mode already enabled.
In all supported versions of Windows, this can be easily accomplished with the addition of a command line option to the Chrome shortcut. In our example, Chrome is installed in its default location on a PC running Windows 8.1. Simply substitute the correct file path if you have Chrome installed elsewhere.
In order to add a command line option to Chrome, we’ll need to use a shortcut. Most users likely already have a Chrome shortcut on their desktop or Windows taskbar. In our example, we’re using a Chrome shortcut located on the desktop.
Google Chrome Incognito Mode Shortcut
Right-click on the Chrome shortcut, select Properties, and make sure you’re on the Shortcut tab.
Google Chrome Incognito Mode Shortcut
In Windows, users can add appropriate command line instructions to an application’s Target path to set certain parameters and launch options. To launch Chrome in Incognito Mode, the command line instruction is, unsurprisingly, “-incognito”. We need to add this to the end of the Chrome shortcut’s Target path, outside the quotation marks. You can type it yourself or, if you have 32-bit Chrome installed to the default location, simply copy and paste the following into Target box, overwriting what’s there:

"C:Program Files (x86)GoogleChromeApplicationchrome.exe" -incognito

Google Chrome Incognito Mode Shortcut
Press OK to save the change and close the shortcut’s Properties window. You’ll now want to rename the shortcut (e.g., “Chrome – Incognito”) so that you can distinguish between “standard” Chrome and your new Incognito Mode shortcuts. Some users may also prefer to change the shortcut’s icon to help visually differentiate between the two (here’s a link to a nice Incognito Mode icon).
If, for some reason, you wish to stop providing easy access to Chrome’s Incognito Mode, simply delete the shortcut you just created. Chrome will continue to run unaffected by the change.

7 thoughts on “Launch Chrome Directly in Incognito Mode with a Custom Shortcut”

Umang Vishwakarma says:
Just go to the “Run” command (whose shortcut is “‘Windows Key’ + R”) and type “Chrome –Incognito”
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Angelii Fuentes says:
thanks
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Shaun Bracewell says:
That’s great. I set mine to F7. Now how do I get that ***** Cortana to open it for me by voice!
Edit: I want this done in Incognito Mode.
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Sarah Borchert says:
if you want to join incognito mode super easy, you could use this extension for chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/incognito-for-chrome/ebnheekkdpeiabmapeldpilgdodfgmcj
cheers sarah 🙂
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Zach Dyer says:
How do you do this in Windows 10?
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ivr frm says:
i wonder the same thing
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Will says:
What you gotta do is create a batch file. So, create a new text document and save it as Chrome_Incognito.bat
Next, edit the text of the batch file to the following:
@echo off
start /d “C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application” Chrome.exe –incognito
You now have a working shortcut to open chrome incognito.
If you want to PIN IT TO THE TASKBAR (in Windows 10) what you then have to do is right click on your desktop, New > Shortcut and enter the following text in the box:
cmd /c “full path to where you saved your batch file”
You can now set up a pretty icon and drag the link into you taskbar.
Reply
Paula says:
Won’t work for me. Safe to assume it’s because this is my work computer?
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Acela944 says:
Thank you so much! I wish to give you so much kudos for this effort created article! I really appreciated the incognito icon you’ve provided for us! It is really useful for my rocket dock since I cannot right-click the Chrome icon and open in incognito mode (which is for the taskbar only). But once again, thank you so much! I am going to recommend this article to my friends. ^_^
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