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Guide: Fix ‘Chrome Incognito Mode Missing’ Issue
It’s not far from the truth to say that we take the familiar sight of Chrome’s incognito mode for granted. Not only does it do a great job when it comes to protecting your privacy, but it also aids your browsing with its distraction-free interface and blocked extensions.
But what if you wake up? up one fine morning and discover incognito mode is missing from the Chrome menu? Even the Ctrl-Shift-N hotkey doesn’t seem to work. It’s not cool to happen, especially staying anonymous – at times – is vital in this day and age.
However, you have no reason to panic. A missing Incognito Mode doesn’t mean Google removed it in any of their updates or anything like that. There are several other reasons why you need it feature, and luckily for you, they are easy to fix.
Sounds good, right? So let’s get started.
Use Chrome Cleanup Tool
Have you recently installed an extension? Did Incognito Mode work well before? If so, the chances of a hijacked web browser are quite high. Certain malicious extensions can abuse administrative rights, change Chrome policies and disable certain browser functions. And to make matters worse, you may also find it nearly impossible to remove such extensions.
A year earlier, you would have manually reset group policy and spent significant amounts of time deleting associated files and registry keys left behind by malicious add-ons – but not anymore. Chrome has its own built-in malware removal tool, and you’re going to start using it right now.
Step 1: Open a new tab, copy and paste chrome: // settings / cleanup in the URL bar, then press Enter.
Step 2: Once the Chrome Cleanup Tool is loaded up, click Search.
Chrome should now scan your computer for malicious extensions or potentially unwanted programs that can interfere with browser functionality.
Step 3: If Chrome finds malicious items or extensions, it should ask you to remove them. Click on Delete.
Chrome should now remove the malicious software or extension and return all changed settings to their defaults. If this whole debacle was caused by a malicious extension running rampant, you should be able to access Incognito mode the next time you restart Chrome.
Note: Chrome will also disable all extensions during the removal process. To manage and enable your extensions, point to More tools in the Chrome menu, then click Extensions.
Make sure to only install extensions from the Chrome Web Store in the future. And even then, make sure to check a few user reviews to make sure there aren’t any unwanted surprises waiting to screw things up upback to menu ↑
Remove yourself from family
Are you part of a Microsoft family? If so, don’t be surprised that Incognito Mode is hidden on your Windows 10 PC, especially if you were added incorrectly as a child in the first place. Children, stop reading!
If you’re not sure, the Microsoft Family Roster allows you to double check your actual role within the family.
The following steps should help you remove yourself from your Microsoft family. And if as an adult you want to remove someone as a child, you will find specific steps for that too.back to menu ↑
Like a child
Even though you are listed as a child, you still have complete freedom to remove yourself from your Microsoft family. Keep in mind that money assigned to you by an adult should no longer be available unless you choose to rejoin the family later.
Note: If you leave your Microsoft family, you will not be able to access your devices.
Step 1: Go to the Microsoft Family Management portal and then click Leave Family under your account username.
Step 2: Click Remove in the confirmation box to remove yourself from the Microsoft family.
Restart your computer and launch Chrome. Then bring up the Chrome menu and you should see the new Incognito window in it!
Note: If you want to rejoin the family, you must ask an adult in the family to send you an invitation. Make sure to let them know not to mess things up up this time and add yourself as an adult and not as a child.back to menu ↑
As an adult
If you are an adult in your Microsoft family and want to help a member access Incognito Mode, the steps taken to remove them as a child are a bit more complicated.
Step 1: On the Microsoft Family Management portal, click Content Restrictions.
Step 2: Disable all existing restrictions. Otherwise, some restrictions may still apply even after the member has been removed.
Step 3: Go back to the previous screen. Then click More options and then click Remove from family from the drop-down menu.
Step 4: Click Delete in the confirmation dialog box.
Note: If you want to re-add the removed member as an adult, use the Add a family member option in the management portal to send an invitation – make sure to select the radio button next to adult.back to menu ↑
Configure the system registry
If running the Chrome Cleanup Tool or removing yourself from your Microsoft family didn’t help – or didn’t apply in your case – then you should consider checking the system registry. Some third-party program may have modified the registry to disable incognito mode. Or someone else was drumming the whole thing up to make a joke on you.
The reasons are many, but it doesn’t matter – the following steps should help you revert any changes.
Step 1: Press Windows-R to open the Run box. Then enter regedit in the Run box, then click OK to open up the Registry Editor.
Note: Consider before proceeding up your registry in case something goes wrong. To do that, click File, click Export, then specify a location to save a copy of the registry.
Step 2: Copy and paste the following file path into the address bar at the top of the Registry Editor window and press Enter:
Then select the subfolder labeled Chrome in the expanded registry hive to the left of the window.
Step 3: Right-click the registry key labeled IncognitoModeAvailability on the right side of the window, then select Modify.
Step 4: Change the value within the key of 1 to 0 and click OK.
Step 5: Click File and then click Exit to close the Registry Editor.
Step 6: Exit and restart your browser. And voila! Expect the New Incognito Window option to appear neatly in the Chrome menu.
Note: In rare cases, you may also see an additional key named IncognitoEnabled in addition to the IncognitoModeAvailability key. If the above steps don’t work, go back and change the value of the IncognitoEnabled key from 1 to 0. That would be the trick when reverting to incognito mode.back to menu ↑
Hopefully, you now have incognito mode prepared and ready to go when you need it. Most of the time it’s just a matter of extensions wreaking havoc, but as you saw, other factors such as being part of a Microsoft family or changed registry settings can also disable the option to go incognito.
So, any additional solutions or suggestions? We’d love to hear about it, so share it with us in comments.back to menu ↑
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