Improve Firefox Private Browsing With Private Browsing Window Add-on

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 23, 2010
Updated • May 30, 2016
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Mozilla added the private browsing feature to the Firefox web browser in version 3.5. It allows users of the browser to switch to that mode so that no browsing data, such as the history or cookies, get recorded by the browser or on the computer system.

Update: Mozilla changed how Firefox's private browsing mode functions in newer versions of the browser. You may now launch a private browsing window next to any existing (regular) Firefox window.  The add-on reviewed below is therefore no longer required.

The organization implemented it in a different way compared to Google Chrome's Incognito Mode which makes it less usable. Unlike in Chrome, where you can open a new Incognito window next to an existing window, Firefox users need to agree to close all open windows and tabs first before a private browsing window can be spawned.While the data gets loaded again after you exit the private browsing session, it is not very comfortable.

This behavior is changed by the Firefox add-on Private Browsing Window which - as the name suggests - provides the means to launch a private browsing session in a new window without closing the standard session first.

The extension adds a Private Browsing Window link to the Firefox Tools menu and to the status bar of the browser. A click on the link or button launches a new Firefox window in private browsing mode without affecting other open instances of the browser.

The extension displays an add-on installation dialog upon first usage that tries to install the Private Browsing Window Helper extension. This extension is not required for the core functionality. It does however improve interaction between non-private and private windows. It specifically adds an option to open links in the non-private or private browsing windows.

Private Browsing Window makes it a lot easier to work with the private browsing mode in Firefox. The extension is available for Firefox 3.6 only and can be downloaded from the official Mozilla Firefox add-on gallery website.

Update: The Firefox add-on has been discontinued as it is not necessary anymore. The Private Browsing Mode can be launched via the Tools > Start Private Browsing menu or with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-p. It works just like in Chrome now which means that you can run a private browsing window side by side with a regular Firefox window.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. fallsoff said on February 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I emailed the dev a week ago and not a peep mfrom him/her(?). I am discouraged. I lost 2 FF setups on the same desktop to this maniacal add-on, and I cant retrieve a damned thing from them as I can’t access any menus.

    What else is new today??

  2. bc said on February 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I have the same problem. I’ve lost the Firefox setups I’ve used for years. Help!

  3. fallsoff said on January 24, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    that was “…a BAd experience….” in the lkast line.

  4. fallsoff said on January 24, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I installed this addon yesterday. I want to get rid of if. The stop option is grayed out under Tools, and Extensions does not show it. All of my bookmarks are gone, Gmail is screwed up.
    Please advise on removing as it has taken over my browsers and I don’t need this sh..!
    I have never had such a ad experience with a FF extension.

  5. Indian-Art said on January 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    “Improve Firefox Private Browsing With Private Browsing Window Add-on”

    One more reason for people to switch to the safe Firefox 3.6.

  6. DaBear said on January 23, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    May be some research on your part is in order?

    Last year, NSS Labs tested the five leading browsers–Apple Safari 4, Google Chrome 2, Microsoft IE 8, Mozilla Firefox 3 and Opera 10–and to the surprise and horror of Microsoft hater’s everywhere, IE easily outperformed its competition in one test, and tied with Firefox for first place in another.

    NSS tested the applications for their ability to detect and block web sites pushing socially engineered malware and phishing. Phishing sites capture sensitive personal and financial data by masquerading as legitimate sites. Socially engineered malware tricks users into clicking on a link or attachment that delivers a malicious payload.

    The results: IE 8 blew away the others in the malware tests, blocking 81 percent of live threats. Firefox 3.0.11 was closest at 27 percent, with Safari 4 at 21 percent, Chrome 2 at 7 percent and Opera 10 beta at 1 percent. NSS Labs says that they confirmed that this protection is identical in Firefox 3 and 3.5, as well as Opera 9 and 10.

    The phishing results were closer: IE 8 and Firefox 3 “were statistically tied in providing the best coverage at an 83 percent and 80 percent block rate respectively.” Opera scored 54 percent, Chrome got 26 percent, and Apple Safari 4 just 2 percent.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.