Microsoft Edge has a private or incognito mode like all other browsers do. Like all other browsers, Microsoft Edge’s default launch state is the normal browsing mode. No browser by default opens in private mode. If you want your browser of choice to always open in private mode, you’re going to need a hack or trick to get it done. For example, to launch Chrome in incognito mode, you have to create a shortcut and add a switch to it. The same trick can work to launch Microsoft Edge in private mode.

Microsoft Edge In Private Mode

Right-click anywhere on your desktop an go to NewShortcut.

In the location field, enter the following;

%windir%System32cmd.exe /c start shell:AppsFolderMicrosoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe!MicrosoftEdge -private

Name it something that makes it easy to identify what the shortcut is for e.g., Edge In Private, or something similar, and you’re all done. The shortcut will appear on your desktop and it will have the Command Prompt icon. This is going to be confusing so right-click the shortcut and select Properties.


In the Properties window, go to the Shortcut tab. If you want to use the exact same icon that Microsoft Edge has you can enter the following in the ‘Look for icons in this file’ field.


If you prefer to use a different icon so as not to mix up the Microsoft Edge in private shortcut with the normal one, you can download a different icon and select it by clicking the Browse button on this same tab.

What this shortcut essentially does is that it opens Microsoft Edge with the ‘-private’ switch. Some apps on Windows support switches. Chrome is one obvious example of this. The difference between Chrome and Microsoft Edge is that Chrome is a Win32 app while Edge is a stock UWP app which doesn’t let you add a switch to its shortcut. The field simply cannot be edited. That’s why the shortcut has to be created through the above method. With Chrome, you can use the Send To context menu item to create a shortcut and edit the Target field.

You can pin the shortcut to the Taskbar or to the Start Menu, whichever suits you, and use it to launch Microsoft Edge in private mode. To be clear, this is for when you want to launch Edge in private mode and don’t want to have to go through an ordinary Edge window or use the jumplist options that Edge has. If the jumplist option suits you, you can right-click the Edge icon and select the New InPrivate Window option.