Privacy seems to be getting harder to find in this age of public databases, surveillance cameras, and online social networking. Because of the nature of the web, it's pretty easy for someone using your computer to see what you've been up to on the web, as well as it is for a website to track where you've been. This is where Internet Explorer 8 and InPrivate can help keep your surfing private, particularly when you share a computer with others.
Most of the time, you don't really care whether anyone knows which websites you've been visiting. Everybody looks at talking cats on YouTube, right? However, you might not want to disclose your destinations when you're banking at a kiosk, buying your sweetheart a birthday gift, or doing anything you shouldn't be doing at work.
In the past, the only way to cover your tracks on a shared computer was to delete your entire browsing history, which often deleted things you wanted to keep. This is where InPrivate Browsing comes in handy.
What is InPrivate Browsing?
InPrivate Browsing enables you to surf the web without leaving a trail in Internet Explorer. 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. You can start InPrivate Browsing from the New Tab page or the Safety button.
When you start InPrivate Browsing, Internet Explorer opens a new browser window. The protection that InPrivate Browsing provides is in effect only during the time that you use that window. You can open as many tabs as you want in that window, and they will all be protected by InPrivate Browsing. However, if you open another browser window, that window will not be protected by InPrivate Browsing. To end your InPrivate Browsing session, close the browser window.
While you are surfing the web using InPrivate Browsing, Internet Explorer stores some information—such as cookies and temporary Internet files—so the webpages you visit will work correctly. However, at the end of your InPrivate Browsing session, this information is discarded. The following table describes which information InPrivate Browsing discards when you close the browser and how it is affected during your browsing session:
So how do you use the InPrivate Browsing?
Clearing your history by hand is fine, but InPrivate Browsing lets you avoid leaving a trail on your computer in the first place. This way you can choose when you leave a trail, and when you don't. You can choose one of the following 3 ways in Internet Explorer to use InPrivate Browsing:
|New tab button|
or simply just...
What InPrivate Doesn't Do
So remember, just as important as what InPrivate does do, is what it doesn't do. It's not anonymous browsing, so while you don't leave a trail on your computer, you might leave one on the web. Websites might be able to identify you by your browsing behavior on the site, or anything about your connection that can be recorded, such as your IP address. It also doesn't prevent someone on your network, like as a network administrator or a hacker, from seeing where you went, and possibly what you did on those pages.
If you save any favorites or feeds, or add a favorite or Web Slice to the Favorites bar, or install anything while browsing InPrivate, closing the browser window won't remove any of that. Changes to Internet Explorer settings, such as adding a new home page, are also retained after you end your InPrivate Browsing session.
If you use toolbars that save history or information on your computer, that isn't removed, either. Because of this, Internet Explorer disables all toolbars and extensions by default in an InPrivate window.
You can re-enable your toolbars by going to the Privacy tab in Internet Options and clearing the Disable toolbars and extensions when InPrivate Browsing starts check box.
InPrivate Browsing also doesn't protect you from malicious software or risky websites. If you download content or view sites known for hosting malware, you're not going to be any safer browsing with InPrivate than browsing without it.
So, essentially, InPrivate is great for doing a temporary search of something or someplace on the web where you don't want anyone using the same computer you were on to know where you've been. You don't want to clear the history because that may look suspicious now wouldn't it, lol. So just learn this handy little tool when you want to surprise your partner with a gift or even when using a kiosk at the airport and you hear that last call for boarding. Just don't forget to take that extra couple of seconds to close your InPrivate window!