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Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Incognito Window

This week, I’m going to be sharing something that I use as a tool quite regularly in my day to day work experience.  It’s a very helpful tool, but most people apparently don’t even know about it!

I feel super sneaky when I use it.  And like no one can find out what I’m doing.  One might even say, where in the world is…..
Sorry for that 90’s tv show reference.  Anyway….

What I’m going to be talking about today is the incognito window.  This is something you use in your internet browser – and every browser has it (though it sometimes goes by different names – for example, Internet Explorer calls it InPrivate Browsing, and Firefox just calls it a Private Window).

It’s usually pretty easy to find.  In Chrome, you will click the three dots up in the right hand corner and select New Incognito Window.
You can also just right click on the Chrome icon in your task bar and select New Incognito Window.

Once you’ve done this, it opens up a new Window that looks…..a little different, but mostly the same.
It basically looks like a grayed out version of Chrome.  The wonderfulness comes in what it does – or doesn’t do.  It doesn’t keep track of your cookies and site data, or your browsing history.  It doesn’t keep you logged in on sites you visit. 

Alright, you might be thinking:  it looks different, it acts a little different, but why would you use this?  What’s the point?
The jokes don’t get any better from here folks.  Just keep moving.

There are several different reasons to use an incognito window.

For me at work, it’s a quick and easy way to try and narrow down the cause of a problem.  Have you ever had someone tell you, “you need to clear your cache” or “it’s a cookie issue”?
When you use an incognito window, it’s like you are using the browser for the very first time.  There are no saved cookies, no cached pages.  So if I’m having a problem with a website in my regular Chrome window and it works in incognito mode?  It probably is something to do with the cache or cookies (which, I can talk about how/when to clear those later).  

However, if it still doesn’t work in incognito mode, it is a different problem and I can move on to other things (like letting the websites mother company know that they have an issue on their end and they best fix it).
The other main reason I would use an incognito window is if you are using a public computer, or any computer that is not your own.

Have you ever used a friends computer to check your Facebook and forgotten to sign out?  And then had a very embarassing status posted to your wall?

Yeah….me neither.
If you forget to log out of all of your accounts, someone else can come along and have their way with whatever you left logged in.

If you use an incognito window, it doesn’t remember any of your log ins or history.  It’s a safe way to browse away from home without worrying about logging out of every site you use.

One last reason I use an incognito window is if you have multiple accounts at the same domain.- for example, at work we have Gmail account and I also have a personal Gmail account.  I can open one in a regular window and open the other in an incognito window – that way I don’t have to keep switching back and forth between sign ins.
So there you have it!  A few main reasons why I use my sneaky incognito window!