Chrome – Force Incognito Mode Using Registry Policy

ChromeIncognito-FeaturedImageI have been a Chrome user for a long time. I love the way Chrome works, it’s fast, it loads quickly, Chrome is a no mess no fuss browser. Recently I have been having issues with Chrome and some plugin interference with a page I was developing. While trying to troubleshoot the issue a friend said just run Chrome in incognito mode to eliminate any interference from plugins. This solved the issue and I also uninstalled the old plugin that was causing the issue. After this issue I started to think, I never use any history features of Chrome nor do I like being tracked in any way, why not just run Chrome in incognito mode all the time? A quick search on the internet revealed adding “–incognito” to the end of my shortcut. This did exactly what it was suppose to do, when this shortcut is clicked, Chrome would run in incognito mode. The issue I was having was that this is not the only way Chrome was launched. If I clicked on a link in an email or PDF Chrome would launch normally but I want it in incognito mode. I started to look through the registry to find all the locations that the system uses when a URL is passed to it and tried adding the –incognito there. This did not work for Windows 8 like it did in previous Windows versions  and I found that upon every Chrome update my changes would be reversed. I started to look to see if there was a option to force Chrome to always run in incognito mode but came up with nothing. There was the option of compiling my own Chrome but then updates would reverse this again..

I feel into a bit of luck when I want into a Freenode IRC Channel ‘#chromium-support’ and asked if anyone there had any ideas. I was directed by a very helpful person called maruel to search for something called “Enterprise Policies” for Chrome. This was the first I have ever heard of policies for Chrome. When I went searching I found exactly what I was looking for, the ability to set a policy to force Chrome into incognito mode. It gave me the registry location to add and the values to set. I made the changes and upon Chromes next launch it was in incognito mode. I was ecstatic, so I thought I would share with everyone else how to do the very simple registry change.

Open notepad and copy the above registry text and save it to your desktop in a file called chrome.reg. Go to your desktop and double click the file to import it into your registry. Close all your open Chrome browsers if any. You should see that Chrome is now force into incognito mode. No reboot is required or log off. Remember thought this will run Chrome always in incognito mode you can’t  just run a command to get a regular browser window or tab. The only way is to remove the registry entry or change the value to 0 or 1 to temporally. I found that settings is no longer available so when I want to make a change I have to adjust this to get into settings again then lock it back down.

Here are the links to Chrome Policies and Quick Start Guide for implementing this via group policy, I just made it simple and made the registry key myself to save me some time and effort of using Group Policy that is just a fancy registry editor in my opinion.

Hope some people find this as helpful as I did, and if you have any questions please feel free to ask below in the comments.

 

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© Caspan 2014

  • LesSavvy

    Greatness! Thank you! Now I need to find the reg entry for Firefox…

    • LesSavvy

      Grrr, can’t import the file even after downloading pstools.

      • What file? The registry file? If you cant import the registry file then just manually do it as its only 1 entry! I had to actually create the Google Key as it did not exist the first time. Keep in mind that you have to have all your settings right before you do this as Settings is no longer an option once this is forced. I got around this by changing the value to 1 to get access again change my settings and then changed the registry back.

        If you ever find one for Firefox please let me know

  • disqus_ryan

    FANTASTIC

    My corporate nannyware kept replacing my “chrome.exe –incognito” shortcut and dropping the switch.

    Hours of productivity lost every time that’s happened and am testing a new website and encountering cached code without realizing it, not noticing the lack of Incognito Man in the window chrome.

    THANK YOU!

    • You’re more then welcome. I am glad it worked for you!

  • Tammy

    Im getting an error When I open chrome it tries to go to http://xn--incognito-p89d/ ????

    • Hey Tammy, sorry you’re having issues. I use this even to today on my work machine and home machine with no issues so I am not sure why you are getting this error. Is there any way you can go to “[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesGoogleChrome]” registry folder using regedt32.exe (just type that in run dialog) and take a screen shot of what entries are in there? Then i can maybe tell what might be the issue?

      • Craig

        Doesn’t look like the registry entry is recognized by Chrome anymore. Everything online says you have to use GPO. Can you confirm? :(

        • I still use it every day with the new installs at work. No issues so far. I just turned it off then on again just yesterday to do some testing with Google Apps for Work.

        • Also you do not have to use a GPO to do this at all! I am also using Windows 10, before that I was using 8.1

      • Tammy

        I appreciate your reply, Thank you. I did however do a restore to completely revert my actions because I couldn’t get it to work and I gave up. I didn’t really have the time to dive into it to figure out my error, so I figured I would try researching and try again later. I did a google search and my error is not uncommon, several have had the same issue

        • Let me know if I can help