Fix: Chrome Incognito Missing

Almost every latest browser nowadays offer the feature of going incognito. This option is usually available from the settings menu of the browser and allows users to surf the internet and not worry about the browser saving their history. But, some Chrome users are experiencing an issue where the option of opening an Incognito Window is missing. This can be problematic since users

Chrome incognito missing
Chrome incognito missing

What causes the Incognito Mode to Disappear?

There are a couple of things that can cause this issue. So, here is a list of things that can cause your Chrome’s incognito mode to disappear.

  • Extensions: Extensions are known to causes issue and interfere with the proper functioning of a browser. So, if you recently installed a new extension or you have a lot of extensions installed on your Brower then one of those extensions might be causing the issue.
  • Improper or corrupt settings: Sometimes the issue might simply be caused by a corrupt setting or file. It’s not uncommon for settings to get changed after a long period of time. Sometimes these settings get corrupt or change on their own or because of another file (not necessarily virus). Simply resetting the settings to their default will fix the issue if the incognito mode vanished because of that.
  • Incognito Mode Availability key: There is a key named IncognitoModeAvailability in the registry editor. This key belongs to the Google Chrome and the value of the key shows or hide the incognito mode option from the Google Chrome. The issue can be caused by that key as well. If the value of the key was changed, intentionally or unintentionally, to 1 then the incognito mode option will disappear from the Google Chrome. But the good news is that you can easily fix the issue by changing the value of the key.

Note: Try to open the Incognito mode with its shortcut keys. Press and hold CTRL, SHIFT, and N (CTRL + SHIFT + N) while your browser is open. Check if this opens up the Incognito mode or not.

Method 1: Disable Extensions

Disabling or completely uninstalling extensions have worked for quite a few users. This works because some extensions might interfere with the browser. So, start by disabling all the extensions (you don’t have to uninstall all the extensions yet). You can then check whether the problem persists or not. If the Incognito mode comes back then you can enable the extensions one by one to check which extension was causing the issue.

For users who can’t see the scroll bar in Google Chrome, follow the steps given below

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Type chrome://extensions/ in the address bar and press Enter
Open extensions page
Disable extensions
  1. This should show you a page with all the extensions on your Google Chrome. Click Remove or toggle off the switch on the bottom right corner of every extension on the page. Toggling off the extensions will disable them. Do this for all the extensions.
Disable extensions
Disable extensions

Once done, reboot the browser and check if the problem is resolved or not. If the problem is gone and you want to enable the extensions then repeat the steps given above until step 2. Once you see the extension page, Toggle on one of the extensions. Reboot the browser and check if the problem is back or not. Repeat this process for every extension. If enabling an extension brings back the problem then you’ll know which extension was the culprit behind this. You can remove that specific extension and enable all the other extensions.

Method 2: Reset Settings

Resetting the settings of Google Chrome should be your last resort. This has worked for a few users but keep in mind that this will reset everything and clean the entire history. So, apply this solution only if you are ok with getting rid of your history, saved password, and several other things (the things that will be erased and reset will be mentioned in the confirmation dialogue).

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Click the 3 dots on the top right corner
  3. Select Settings
Google Chrome open settings
Google Chrome select settings
  1. Scroll down and click Advanced
Select Advanced
Google Chrome advanced settings
  1. Click Restore settings to their original defaults. This should be under Reset and clean up
Click Reset settings
Google Chrome Reset settings
  1. Click Reset settings
Google Chrome Reset settings
Google Chrome Reset settings

Once done, reboot the browser and check the thumbnails. They should be working fine now.

Method 3: Reset the IncognitoModeAvailability key

Resetting the Incognito Mode Availability key via the registry editor can help solve the issue as well. The steps to reset this key is given below

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type regedit and press Enter
Type regedit and press Enter
Open Registry Editor
  1. Now navigate to this location in the registry editor HKEY_Local_Machine\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome. If you aren’t sure how to navigate to this location then follow the steps given below
    1. Locate and double-click HKEY_Local_Machine from the left pane
    2. Locate and double-click SOFTWARE from the left pane
    3. Locate and double-click Policies from the left pane
    4. Locate and double-click Google from the left pane. Note: If you don’t see a Google entry, right-click Policies > New > Key and name is Google
Open IncognitoModeAvailability key
Open IncognitoModeAvailability key
  1. Locate and click Chrome from the left pane. Note: If you don’t see a Google entry, right-click Policies > New > Key and name is Chrome
  2. Double click IncognitoModeAvailability from the right pane. If you can’t see this entry then right click anywhere on an empty space on the right pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) value. Name it IncognitoModeAvailability and double-click it.
IncognitoModeAvailability key
IncognitoModeAvailability key
  1. Enter 0 as its value and click Ok. 0 means Incognito mode is available and 1 means it is Disabled. If you already had this entry then its value must have been 1. Simply changing the value to 0 will resolve the issue.
IncognitoModeAvailability key set to 0
IncognitoModeAvailability key set to 0

Once done, the incognito mode should be available.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: Chrome Incognito Missing

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