What is About Blank? Should You Remove It?
The term “about:blank” (a.k.a. About Blank) defines nothing more than an empty page on your browser tab, whether you use Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, or any other type of browser. The page appears with the label “about:blank” in both the address bar and the tab’s page title. You’ve probably spotted this empty page popping up from time to time when clicking a link or opening one in a new tab or window.
So, what does “about:blank” mean? Is it malware, a bad Internet connection, or even a bad link? How can I stop it? An “about:blank” has many reasons for appearing on your screen. Generally speaking, the blank pages are nothing of concern. Read on to get answers to the most common questions on “about:blank” webpages.
What Does about:blank Mean?
Pages that are “about:blank” are part of the “about:URL” scheme used by browsers to process internal commands that they choose to implement. There are several ‘about’ commands used by most browsers, such as “about:about,” “about:cache,” and “about:plugins.”
An “about:blank” tab or window does not have a webpage to load, nor is it intended to load one. However, these windows are more than just blank pages; they are blank pages with hidden functions used by the browser. The bottom line is that “about:blank” is what it sounds like—a blank page that is not a URL; it’s a command built into the browser.
What Is about:blank Used For?
You may wonder why people want to use a blank page. The idea does sound strange, but it has real purposes. The most common use is a home user instructing the web browser to open a blank page when launched—or even for a new tab or new window in some cases.
Browsers like Chrome and Firefox love to take over when you open their executable file. They start doing all sorts of tasks behind the scenes that eat up bandwidth and resources.
While it is a challenge to stop the “invisible madness,” you can control some elements, such as what opens up on launch.
People like the idea of launching their browser to a blank page for many reasons, including:
- Preventing the browser from opening numerous tabs or windows from the previous session
- Ensuring privacy upon launch
- Regulating bandwidth by opening a non-internet browser tab to start their session
- Making the homepage blank
- Regulating processes on an older PC
Common Causes of about:blank Pages
An “about:blank” page can occur in different ways and for various reasons.
The most common causes for about blank pages include the following:
- You click a download link that opens in a second window or tab, and the browser gets forced to display a blank page to initiate the download.
- You mistype a web address, so you get the wrong page causing viruses or malware security problems, or you get an about:blank page if the browser cannot understand what to display.
- The browser has no idea what to do based on the information processed. Discrepancies in HTML, Java, and other codes can force the browser to open a blank page because it can’t process anything.
Is about:blank a Virus or Even Malware?
Many people think that “about:blank” is a computer virus sneaking its way into their computer, but it isn’t. The “about:blank” scenario is just a blank webpage displayed when a browser finds itself in a situation where it needs to show an empty page. The page is NOT served to you from an external source, so it isn’t harmful to your computer. However, malware CAN cause a browser to open a blank page.
How to Stop Those About Blank Popups
Stopping about:blank pages depends on why they get displayed in the first place. If you’ve adjusted your browser settings to open blank pages, you just need to go back into the browser settings and undo those changes.
If you get blank pages regularly, you would want to stop malware or viruses first because they can corrupt the browser, and then you can uninstall and reinstall Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or whatever you use. Removing malware from your PC can also lead to missing files and settings within the browser, which didn’t get repaired/replaced after the malware was removed.
Aside from the above two scenarios, you should probably leave the about:blank functionality alone. Many antivirus and anti-malware programs now use blank pages to prevent dangerous URLs from executing code or tricking you into taking action.
How to Fix an about:blank Home Page
If you changed your home page to a blank one, as previously mentioned, just go to settings and set your homepage to whatever you like. Most browsers provide past or pre-included options that can make it easier for you. If you uninstalled and reinstalled your browser, simply type a new URL into the box or section.
If the blank page problem persists, try disabling any extensions you have, close the browser, and re-open it. Add-ons and extensions may cause problems, so disabling these may fix the problem. Lastly, you can restore your settings to the system defaults. This move is an extreme option, but if nothing else works, give it a try.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I be concerned when a webpage routes to about:blank?
Yes and no. Inherently, about:blank web pages are not harmful to your computer or device. They’re a part of the system, so occasionally seeing the page isn’t a big deal. However, if you see “about blank” pages often, it’s likely an underlying issue.
For example, if your internet browser is compromised, you may see this page rather than your home page. If it’s something you frequently see without user provocation, it’s a good idea to run a security scan to be safe.
How do I fix about:blank opening when I launch my web browser?
Your best solution for fixing this is updating your browser’s home page. You can update it with Google, a news source, or any web page you prefer. Whether you’re using Safari, Firefox, Chrome, or even Edge, set the home page to route somewhere else, and you shouldn’t see the about:blank page when you pull up your browser anymore.
How do I fix about:blank issues?
Assuming you’re having issues with every web page and not just when opening your browser or visiting one URL, there are some things you can do to fix the errors. Start by running a virus scan, as mentioned previously. You can also clear the browser’s cache and history to remove any bugs.