What does one lose by using a regular window instead of a Private window?

Although it doesn’t happen often, I occasionally lose an open browser window and all of its tabs without any action on my part. It just disappears.

I only become aware of it when I attempt to return to the window and no longer see it in the Window dropdown menu.

In all cases I can recall, the missing window was a Private one. So I am considering not using Private windows.

When using Brave, which as far as I’m aware has strong privacy features even with regular windows, what is lost when a regular window is used instead of a Private one?


Private Windows will not store anything in the Browser, so History, Persistent Storage (cookies, local or session storage or IndexedDB will not be saved), No favicons, cache, or anything will be stored when you close it, you even get less features because some won’t work in Private mode like Adblocker cosmetics picker, and Playlist, and you can’t access history or anything through it, if you try to do a ctrl+H, you will be asked to close the Private window.

You use Private windows when you don’t want the information stored in any way, it is a total different environment.
You can’t even access your extensions unless you go to extension settings, one by one and specify them to work in Private windows.

Permissions also aren’t shared, if you allow cookies in XY domain in normal windows, it won’t be allowed for it in Private windows, you have to add it to the list of cookies allowed in Private windows and only while a private window is opened, once it is closed, the permission is removed.

You can set some settings through Private windows though, like if you go to brave://flags you will be able to set them in either mode.

I don’t know why your tabs are disappearing but I mean, maybe you are closing them somehow, I have noticed some features like Save Tabs (a flag) will crash in Private windows, but seems like it works fine in normal windows.

You don’t really lose anything by using Normal windows, you can control the persistent storage not to save data you don’t want, the only thing is you might have to remove elements from history, but that’s it, you can do it in the history page or by using shift+del in the address bar.

But of course, if something closes a normal window, you can get the tabs back, because it keeps information for session and tabs which is not the same as the History, and it is always recorded, so you can do a ctrl+shift+T and bring stuff back, or use the menu (alt+e) and go to history and get all the ‘windows closed’ with their respective tabs.
So you won’t lose anything in case of some crashing or anything.

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@anon57438784 Thanks, I’m familiar with most of the disadvantages you referred to related to data retention.

I was more concerned, however, about the ability of hackers and other ‘bad actors’ to snoop on what a user does in a Private window compared to a regular window. I’ve assumed that a Private window makes it more difficult for them to do what they do, but I don’t really know whether that’s the case.

I always use email in a Private window. Same for any finance-related websites. So my question in those contexts (and others) would be “Am I protecting anything I do at those websites from prying eyes more in a Private window than in a regular window?”

Regarding the disappearing Private windows, closing a window inadvertently or otherwise accidentally isn’t easy to do. On a Mac you either have to hit the red button in the upper left of the screen, go to the File dropdown window and click on ‘Close Window’, or press the key combination that closes the window (shift-cmd-w). I’m not doing any of those. Since the problem hasn’t occurred in a regular window, if I’m not sacrificing privacy of the kind noted above, I’m inclined to just use those from now on, with the probable exception of financial websites, as I assume there’s at least some added protection for any transactions you make at those with Private windows. (Am I mistaken about that?)

yeah that’s what I meant, you are not more protected by using one or the other.
You only use Private to avoid ‘recording’ your activity, but both windows store information in memory, that’s why if you inspect your memory, you will be able to see everything you do in the browser, passwords and all ‘in plain text’.

Private windows just avoid people knowing what you did, because sometimes clearing data doesn’t do it, especially if data gets saved in a disk.

I had to report an issue with Off-The-Record mode made by Brave, where OTR keeps added to session manager, being a risk for the feature if it wants to be like inPrivate windows. SO people can easily see tabs you closed without having the history recorded of it.

So using email in Private mode just will avoid people knowing you are using that email service and you avoid people getting access to it if someone they have access to your device(s). But technically anyone could ‘snoop’ the same with one window and the other.
But that’s really rare to happen, unless you join a public Wifi and you give remote access to someone or something.

I use inPrivate window as much as anything because I hate history recording random websites I visit and then I have to manually remove them, but not for ‘privacy’ and all those words.
Private is technically the same, unless someone can have access to your device and see your data.
Only passwords and cookies and few other things are encrypted, so they can see your history and favicons and searches and all, without issues by using normal windows.

But that’s only if someone access your device, not really if you browse the web.

So it is a relative issue, and as I always say, as long as you don’t open a random executable or install a random extension or something, normal windows should not give much difference when ‘prying eyes’, in fact, it seems more annoying to keep logging in, and if someoen has a keylogger in your computer, they can see anything you type either way, but if you type more passwords more often, then that will cause more risk.

So it is just relative and depending on scenario. But what are the possibilities of that happen to you? I don’t even use disk encryption or anything because it affects performance and for what, nobody is going to steal my device and get anything out of it that honestly matters. It could happen, but like 0.0001% chance realistically.

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