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Incognito Debugging With Any Browser in Visual Studio

Collin M. Barrett
Crafting clean, SOLID solutions for complex issues. Senior .NET software engineer in Memphis, TN.
Originally published at collinmbarrett.com on ・2 min read

Debug Visual Studio in Incognito

Clearing the Cruft

When I develop web applications in Visual Studio, I often need to resolve issues that are dependent on the state of the cache or cookies. By default, debugging in a browser from Visual Studio opens a new browser window but does not purge any preexisting cache or cookies.

Private/Incognito Browsing: Always Fresh

I like to configure Visual Studio to launch browser debug sessions in incognito/private browsing mode. Every debugging session is then fresh as if a user was visiting my application for the first time.

Visual Studio Debug Target Menu
Visual Studio Debug Target Menu

To configure browsers to debug in this mode:

  1. Click the Debug Target control’s right-side chevron to view the list of installed browsers.
  2. Click “Browse With…”.
  3. Click “Add…”.
  4. Configure the new target browser using the private/incognito command line argument. See the examples below.

Sample Browser Configurations

Chrome

Program:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe"
Arguments:
--incognito
Friendly Name:
Google Chrome - Incognito

Internet Explorer

Program:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"
Arguments:
-private
Friendly Name:
Internet Explorer - InPrivate

Firefox

Program:
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe"
Arguments:
-private
Friendly Name:
Firefox - Private

Firefox Developer Edition

Program:
"C:\Program Files\Firefox Developer Edition\firefox.exe"
Arguments:
-private
Friendly Name:
FirefoxDeveloperEdition - Private

Edge

Not yet supported.

Opera

Program:
"C:\Program Files\Opera\launcher.exe"
Arguments:
--private
Friendly Name:
Opera Internet Browser - Private

Visual Studio Private/Incognito Debug Targets
Visual Studio Private/Incognito Debug Targets

via Scott Hanselman

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