Disabling Private Browsing in Firefox

By Ashley Poland

Private Browsing presents a potential problem in the workplace. If you have no external service monitoring office computers, other than the threat of reviewing browser history if necessary, then Private Browsing on Firefox gives employees a workaround. While Mozilla doesn't offer the sort of parental controls that disable Private Browsing by default, you can disable the feature by using a user-created add-on called Disable Private Browsing. Bear in mind that disabling Private Browsing does not remove the ability to erase browsing history.

Open Firefox and go to the Disable Private Browsing page in the Firefox Add-Ons database. Disable Private Browsing both removes the menu item for Private Browsing and disables the keyboard shortcut to launch Private Browsing.

Click the "Add to Firefox" button to install Disable Private Browsing. You'll be prompted in a new window to install the add-on.

Restart Firefox when prompted; the add-on is not enabled until you've restarted your version of Firefox. Once enabled, Disable Private Browsing can only be disabled by launching Firefox in safe mode, which is easy to launch but may discourage casual browsers from disabling the add-on.


You can use the Firefox add-on Public Fox to disable a lot of other features in Firefox, including removing add-ons and blocking downloads.


All other major browsers, such as Chrome and Internet Explorer, offer an option for private browsing, so keep in mind that your office computers have more than one way to access private browsing.