How to Always Start Google Chrome in Incognito Mode by Default

Google Chrome’s Incognito mode lets you browse the web privately, without leaving traces of your browsing history on the local computer. You can launch Chrome’s incognito mode from an existing Chrome window by pressing Ctrl + Shift + N.

This article tells you how to (always) start Google Chrome in incognito mode by default, when double-clicking an URL file or clicking on a hyperlink in your email.

Start Chrome in incognito mode by default

To start Chrome in incognito mode, you can create a desktop shortcut using one of the following command-lines:

"C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" -incognito
"C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --incognito

start chrome in incognito mode

However, when you double-click a URL or HTML file, the regular Google Chrome window opens up instead. So, here is a registry edit to always launch Chrome incognito, when double-clicking .URL, .HTML or any other supported file type.

The registry edit below also works for opening websites using the HTTP: or HTTPS: protocol addresses from the Run dialog.

Open HTML, URL files, and HTTP links in Chrome Incognito by default

To open .HTML, .URL files & HTTP, HTTPS links in Chrome Incognito by default, use the following registry edit.

  1. Start regedit.exe and go to the following key:
  2. Add the -incognito switch after the Chrome executable name. For example, if the (default) value data is set as:
    "C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" "%1"

    Change that to:

    "C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --incognito "%1"

    By adding the --incognito flag after chrome.exe, you can make sure Chrome always starts in incognito mode by default when clicking hyperlinks in mail, or double-clicking an .HTM, .HTML or .URL file.

    Note: If Google Chrome is installed in a different path or under within your user profile, make sure you use the correct path to chrome.exe when creating a shortcut.

  3. Exit the Registry Editor.

That’s it! The registry edit makes Google Chrome start in incognito browsing mode always.

See also: How to Start Internet Explorer in InPrivate Browsing Mode by Default?

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

5 thoughts on “How to Always Start Google Chrome in Incognito Mode by Default”

  1. Side affect of this method makes opening webp files in chrome through double click bugged, making them only to be opened through drag and drop.

  2. “In that case, enclosing the %1 within double quotes (“%1″) should help.” – Ramesh
    The quotes solved the issue.


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