Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Launch Portable Chrome Directly in Incognito Mode

Little Bro and I were texting the other day as he was updating his system.

He uses Chrome and likes to do his on-line banking work using Chrome’s “Incognito” mode; aka “private browsing” for extra security.

He mentioned how he wished he could set it up with a desktop icon to launch directly into “Incognito” mode rather than dropping into it from the options (or Ctrl+Shit+N) once it had launched in “normal” mode.

The solution was rather simple.

He just needed to make a new desktop shortcut with the Chrome executable, then modify the file target properties it points to by adding -incognito to the end of the target box.

Check these out to see what I mean.

That was great for my brother who has a locally installed version of Chrome.

But what about me who uses the DEV build of Chrome via Google Chrome Portable at rather than a locally installed version of the browser application?

In my case, that portable version package uses a custom launcher “GoogleChromePortable.exe” to fire off the actual Chrome executable.

As I quickly found out with an experiment, it turns out you can get it to launch a portable Chrome Incognito window directly by following the same basic process above.

Just make a shortcut to your desktop of the portable Chrome launcher, then amend the properties of the file’s target path again with -incognito  . The custom launcher is able to parse the request off no problem and launch Chrome directly in an incognito mode session. Easy!

Target:   C:\pathtolocation\GoogleChromePortableDev\GoogleChromePortable.exe -incognito

To add some splash to my new custom “Incognito” Chrome launch shortcut and differentiate it from my standard blue Chrome Dev launcher shortcut, I changed the icon to a slick grey version I found; Google Chrome Sketch Icon by worldoftacos on deviantART. If that one isn’t quite your thing do a quick chrome icon - Google Search and find one you like.



According to the HowToGeek article, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Chrome all take a similar approach by using a particular argument on the target path.

The HowToGeek article doesn’t take quite the same solution path with Firefox. Rather they show how to configure FF to always launch in Private mode. Nice but not what some may be looking for.

However, according to latest Mozilla documentation, you can do the same thing I showed above (with the portable versions) and simply add -private instead as the Firefox-specific launcher executable argument.

Command Line Options - Mozilla | MDN

Works like a charm with the latest Mozilla Firefox Portable Edition I use from

And for a bonus, here’s a cute black-out icon for Firefox to get you started: HP Firefox Inverse Icon via the Icon Archive.

Or if this is too much work, you could just go with the custom Firefox build Private Browsing via which packs a few extra privacy features. See also Iron Portable.


Claus V.

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