This blog post explains a hack that you can use to configure the Microsoft Edge browser on Ubuntu Linux to start in private mode by default, even when clicking links in emails.
I wanted to make the icon for the browser in the dock open in private mode by default. To run the browser in private mode, I need to launch microsoft-edge-beta with the –inprivate command line argument. It’s interesting to see a software beta at a version number greater than 100.
This command lists the favorites on the dock:
/usr/bin/gsettings get org.gnome.shell favorite-apps
This lists an array such as the following:
['thunderbird.desktop', 'libreoffice-writer.desktop', 'code.desktop', 'gnome-control-center.desktop', 'org.gnome.Terminal.desktop', 'org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop', 'microsoft-edge-beta.desktop']
You can use the gsettings command to update the favorites, but I could not figure out how to pass command line parameters.
Instead, backup the /usr/share/applications/microsoft-edge-beta.desktop file and then edit it. After removing comments and translations that are irrelevant in my case:
[Desktop Entry] Version=1.0 Name=Microsoft Edge (infinite beta) GenericName=Web Browser Comment=Access the Internet Exec=/usr/bin/microsoft-edge-beta %U --inprivate StartupNotify=true Terminal=false Icon=microsoft-edge-beta Type=Application Categories=Network;WebBrowser; MimeType=application/pdf;application/rdf+xml;application/rss+xml;application/xhtml+xml;application/xhtml_xml;application/xml;image/gif;image/jpeg;image/png;image/webp;text/html;text/xml;x-scheme-handler/http;x-scheme-handler/https; Actions=new-private-window;new-tracking-window; [Desktop Action new-private-window] Name=New Private Window Exec=/usr/bin/microsoft-edge-beta --inprivate [Desktop Action new-tracking-window] Name=New Tracking Window Exec=/usr/bin/microsoft-edge-beta
The key changes are in bold. First, I added –inprivate to the first Exec, which is apparently the default. Then, I removed the default new-window entry, reversed the order of the last two entries, updated those two entries to be more specific, and updated Actions to reference those two entries.
I tried setting Terminal to true so I could see the debugging messages coming from the microsoft-edge-beta process, but it did not seem to affect anything.