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I am a major rookie when it comes to computers, so here's probably a silly question:

What's the difference between privacy mode and a proxy? I know both hide information, but what exactly do they hide? I guess they're kind of opposite (as in a proxy hides what you do to outsiders and privacy mode hides what you do from other users of the same pc)?

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Privacy mode where ? Browser? – Ofiris Jan 28 '13 at 19:49
@Ofiris Yes, indeed. – JohnPhteven Jan 28 '13 at 19:50
A proxy server doesn't hide anything, it just redirects the information: – TFM Jan 28 '13 at 20:11
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Provided you mean a proxy that is outside of your private network, this diagram I just threw together shows the differences:

enter image description here

It's also worth noting that plugins (like Flash and browser toolbars) are usually disabled by default in Privacy mode.

It's important to note that the two are not mutually exclusive - you can have both Privacy mode on to avoid an obvious trail being left on your computer, and a proxy to avoid the remote server seeing your real IP address.

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+1 for the diagram and the "provided you mean a proxy that is outside of your private network". – TFM Jan 28 '13 at 20:57

That's a pretty good summary, actually. Privacy mode prevents your browser from saving information on your computer about your browsing history, wheras a proxy routes traffic somewhere else (to put it bluntly/inelegantly) so other people on the network cannot determine what you're accessing.

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"A proxy routes traffic somewhere else so other people on the network cannot determine what you're accessing.". Depends on how the connection to the proxy is established. Browser(SSL) -> Proxy(SSL) -> Site(SSL) is safe, any other setup can be monitored. And even if you use SSL, the communication can be monitored UNTIL the SSL connection is established between browser and the server, which includes the URL your are accessing. – TFM Jan 28 '13 at 20:10
@TFM Mm, point taken. What would be more the 'external counterpart of private browsing mode', so to speak, would be Tor, which is what came to mind when the OP said "proxy". – Marcus Chan Jan 28 '13 at 20:37

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