Incognito History: See and Delete on Windows

Incognito History: See and Delete on Windows

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Sep 8, 2023 18:40 IST

If you are browsing privately, your incognito history is not deleted from your system. Today, we will show you how you can delete it, and also bust some common myths about private browsing. Stick around.

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The Incognito Mode is a browser feature for private browsing. This means your search history, cookies, session or sign in data are not stored after closing the tab or browser. Anyone who uses the same device after you will also not see your browsing history. 

That does not mean the websites you visit, and your ISP, will not know your activities in Incognito Mode. 

You may not be aware, but your browser (Chrome or Firefox) on desktop can save the incognito history. Today, we will help you find some ways to check the incognito history and even delete it on Windows. 

Purpose of Incognito Mode and How it Differs from Normal Browsing

The only purpose of using incognito mode is to prevent other users of the same or shared devices from seeing the websites you visit. It, however, does not make you anonymous from the rest of the world. 

The only difference in the regular browsing mode is the storage of sessions and cookies, as well as log in or password information. 

You are not logged out of your email or social media accounts when you are using the normal browsing mode. This is because the history and HTTP cookies are recorded in regular browsing. 

So, the next time you begin typing the name of the website in the address bar, it will automatically show related results – a mix of recent searches and websites with those initials. 

Regular browsing

Busting Common Incognito Mode Myths

Myth #1: Employers, government, and ISP cannot track you in incognito mode

Facts:

  • Incognito Mode does not encrypt your internet traffic or hide it from your ISP.
  • If you’re using a work device or a network provided by your employer, they may have monitoring systems in place.
  • Incognito Mode may prevent these sites from storing cookies on your local device, but it won’t stop them from tracking you through other means.

Myth#2: Ads can’t track you in incognito mode

Fact:

Once you exit Incognito Mode, the information about your browsing session is not readily available on your device. However, during your active Incognito session, websites and ads can still collect data.

So, What Can Incognito Mode Do and Cannot?

What Incognito Mode Can Do What Incognito Mode Cannot Do
1. Private Browsing: 1. Complete Anonymity:
– Prevents local storage of: – Does not hide your IP address,
– Browsing history which can be used for tracking.
– Cookies
– Site data
2. Avoid Auto-Fill Suggestions: 2. Protection from Server-Side Tracking:
– Prevents autofill based on past – Websites can track your online
searches and browsing history. activities on their servers.
3. Multiple Sessions: 3. Security Against Malware and
– Allows simultaneous Incognito Phishing:
sessions within the same browser. – Does not provide protection
against downloading malicious
content or phishing attempts.
4. Avoid Third-Party Cookie Tracking: 4. Prevent Browser Fingerprinting:
– Typically blocks third-party – Does not protect against browser
cookies used for tracking fingerprinting, a method used to
across websites. uniquely identify your device.

Accessing Incognito Mode in Browsers

Popular browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and others have a menu button, typically in the top right corner. You can access it there. 

But there are also similar shortcuts in Windows desktops. For Chrome, you can press the Ctrl + Shift + N combination. For Firefox, you can access by pressing Ctrl+ Shift+P. 

On a Mac, you can replace with the ⌘ button. 

How to View and Delete Incognito History 

Coming to the main crux of this blog, here are some ways to look into incognito history. 

View and Delete Incognito History with DNS Cache on Windows

You can view incognito history on Windows by checking the DNS (Domain Name System) Cache. 

DNS is like the internet’s phonebook, where the human language domain name is translated to a language (IP address) that machines can read. 

So, when you write a web address into your browser, a DNS server actively seeks out the IP location of that specific website. This information is stored in the DNS Cache. 

Checking and Deleting Incognito History with DNS Cache

  • Open the Command Prompt from the Start Menu, and run it. 
Command Prompt
  • Type ipconfig/displaydns and press Enter. The following result will show. 
Display DNS prompt
  • To delete the incognito history, open the Command Prompt again, and type ipconfig /flushdns. 
Flush DNS prompt

Extensions to View and Delete Incognito History

You could also install some extensions to view and delete incognito history. Off the Record History is one Chrome extension to use. This one gives you the flexibility to delete history after 7 days and not more. Another extension is Incognito History, where the past searches appear chronologically. 

These are featured extensions on Google chrome web store, and no information is provided to third parties. Here is a screenshot of the disclaimers. 

Disclaimer of incognito history extensions

When is Incognito Mode Actually Beneficial?

Here are some scenarios when using Incognito Mode can be advantageous:

Shared Computers or Devices

When using a public or shared computer, such as in a library, internet cafe, or at work, Incognito Mode can help protect your privacy. It prevents your browsing history, login credentials, and other personal data from being saved on the device for the next user to access.

Researching Sensitive Information

When conducting research on topics that you’d rather keep discreet, like medical conditions, legal matters, or gift ideas. Incognito Mode ensures that your search and browsing history won’t reveal your interests or intentions.

Online Shopping

If you’re shopping for gifts or researching purchases that you don’t want to affect your ad recommendations or pricing algorithms on e-commerce websites, Incognito Mode can help you shop with more privacy.

Testing Websites 

Web developers and designers often use Incognito Mode to test websites without cached data or cookies influencing the browsing experience. It provides a fresh perspective on how a site performs for new users.

Booking Travel and Accommodations

When searching for flights, hotels, or rental cars, Incognito Mode can help prevent dynamic pricing strategies that adjust prices based on your search history and perceived urgency.

What is the Safest Alternative for Private Browsing?

If you are looking for complete privacy to bypass your ISP or websites, it is best to opt for VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). These come with layers of security that encrypt your data. 

About the Author
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Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio