How To Launch Chrome In Incognito Mode From A Desktop Shortcut


We all know that Chrome is one of the best web browsers out there that sports tons of great features. Among them is its handy Incognito ability which lets users browse websites without storing any history information. You can switch to Incognito mode directly from the Chrome options menu, but if you want to make it your permanent way of browsing the web, i.e whenever you launch Chrome from desktop it opens an incognito window instead of the regular one, then you need only make use of a simple switch to set Incognito as Chrome’s default launch mode.

So, what’s a switch? Google Chrome makes use of various command line switches which allow you to perform different tasks related to it. Some change the behavior of features, others are for debugging or experimenting. The method of launching Chrome in Incognito from its desktop shortcut is also made possible via a command line switch.

First you need to create Chrome’s shortcut to your desktop. Simply navigate to its installation directory, right-click and navigate to ‘Send To’ followed by clicking ‘Desktop’. Alternatively, you can look for Chrome in the start up menu and right-click its icon in the results list to access this same menu and create the shortcut.

Create Chrome Shortcut

Once the shortcut has been created, right click on it and select ‘Properties’ from the context menu as demonstrated in the screenshot below.

Chrome_Right click

Here’s what you will see in the Target field under the ‘Shortcut’ tab:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe”

The above text implies that if you double click the shortcut, it will launch Chrome in normal browsing mode with your saved tabs and browsing history intact. What you need to do is use a command line switch to tell the browser to launch an Incognito window instead. To do that, you simply need to append at the end of the ‘Target’ field command line the switch  –incognito as shown below.

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” -incognito


If you want to create two Chrome desktop shortcuts; one for normal browsing and other for Incognito, then you can also specify a different icon for either one by clicking ‘Change Icon’ button. Changing the icon will allow you to easily identify which icon will open Chrome in private browsing. After selecting the icon, click ‘OK’ / ‘Apply’ to save your changes. And that’s about it, you can now launch Chrome’s Incognito or Normal browsing modes directly from desktop.

  • AsWell

    This can easily be done in Ubuntu, too.

  • Druuge

    Or just use the jumplist on the taskbar. Click and hold the chrome icon, slide up to new incognito window.

    • AsWell

      Oh, that cannot be done in Ubuntu.

  • Nice tricks..


  • santa

    this doesnt work for me it keeps telling me that this is not a correct file path. what is this?


      Did you maybe put the -incognito before the quotation marks

  • Ron

    thanks for the tip! worked like a charm!