Google Chrome Incognito Keeper

This is something for you who prefer using Google Chrome in Windows with Incognito mode activated.


I use Incognito mode as often as possible when running Google Chrome. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but that’s not what it’s about. ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you don’t know what Incognito mode is, read about it at Wikipedia or something, but basically it’s a “private browsing mode” where no history/cache/cookie etc. will be saved to your hard drive; when you exit the browser, all of the history data is gone.

If you’d like to launch Chrome in Incognito mode without having to click “New incognito window”, just add the /incognito parameter to the end of the command line in your shortcut to chrome.exe.

Chrome is what I now most often use when testing out websites that I develop. Making sure that Chrome always starts up in Incognito mode is a big advantage when debugging websites. If you’d ever suspect that you are viewing cached content – simply restart the browser. And luckily, Chrome is just as speedy as Opera when it comes to application startup time (FF and IE are horrible when it comes to this btw).

Since I’ve begun placing quite some trust in Chrome’s security features (especially the fact that it has a built-in pdf reader, and an auto-updated version of flash player bundled), I usually set Chrome as my default browser in Windows. Having a browser as the default one means that when you click on an URL somewhere in your system, it should open up in that specific browser.

But what if I still want Chrome to default to Incognito mode in such situations? Obviously, just changing that shortcut on your desktop will not be sufficient, however, as you all should know, Windows comes with the humongous registry database. This is where you’ll find the information regarding which program that should launch what. I suspect that you already know that you start regedit.exe i.e. using Run (Win+R) to launch a GUI representing the registry.

One of the main keys in the registry is called HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and this is what contains all entries for different file extensions, protocols, etc.

So just hit Ctrl+F and search for chrome.exe.
When you’ve found a matching value inside a key ending with shell\open\command, you should be at the right place. The default value in the key should be the command line to the program – simply inject /incognito into it. Make sure to continue searching for additional entries since there usually are a couple of them (http, https, HTML, etc.).

That was quite easy, right? And now Chrome will launch everything in Incognito mode. Success! No. When Chrome automatically updates itself next time, you will probably find your changes lost.

I don’t know how many times I’ve searched through the registry and manually changed these values. Makes you a bit annoyed. And it could even make you a bit paranoid when you suddenly realize that you’ve been thinking that Chrome has been running in Incognito mode, when it in fact has not.

So I wrote a batch file script (.bat) that automatically scans through the registry and makes the changes for me.

Scheduling this script to periodically execute effectively solves this horrific problem. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I guess I also could make a feature request of a setting that makes it default to Incognito, but meh.. ๐Ÿ™‚

The script can be found at the Projects page in the Batch file scripts (.bat) category.

You probably don’t want that cmd window to pop up all the time btw, bundled with the script archive is a very simple VBscript which launches the .bat in the background (“hidden”). More information can be found in the README.txt.

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