What is About Blank? Should you remove it?
About:blank is nothing more than a blank 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 in your browser from time to time when clicking a link or opening one in a new tab or window.
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?
About blank pages are part of the “about URI scheme,” which is 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,’ ‘about:plugins,’ and more.
An about:blank page does not have a webpage to load, nor is it intended to load one. No, these are not just blank pages but are blank pages with hidden browser functions used by the browser itself. 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.
Common uses for about:blank
You may wonder why people want to use a blank page. The idea does sound strange, but it does have real purposes. The most common use is 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 get excited and 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 upon 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 tab to start their session
- Making the homepage blank
- Regulating processes on an older PC
What causes “about blank?”
An “about:blank” page can occur in different ways, most often because you’ve clicked a download link that opens in a second window or tab. In this case, the browser gets forced to display a blank page to initiate the download. The download page doesn’t show any information besides providing you with the file, hence the blank page appears.
Of course, you can also type a web address incorrectly and get the wrong page, leading to security problems or an about:blank page if the browser cannot understand what to display.
The browser may also open a blank page if it 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. A window or tab HAS TO open, so it resorts to the about:blank command.
Is about blank a virus or malware?
Many people think that about:blank is a computer virus sneaking its way into their computer, but it isn’t. About blank is just a blank web page displayed when a browser finds itself in a situation where it needs to show a blank 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 do you 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 could not 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 do you get rid of 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have some more answers to your questions on about:blank pages.
Should I be concerned when I open a web page and it routes to about:blank?
Yes and no. Inherently, about:blank web pages are not harmful to your computer or device. They’re actually a part of the system so seeing the page occasionally really isn’t a big deal. But, if you see this page often it’s likely a sign of an underlying issue with your system.
For example, if your internet browser is compromised you may see this page rather than your home page. If it’s something you see frequently without user provocation it’s a good idea to run a security scan just to be safe.
I see about:blank every time I open my web browser. How can I fix this?
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 can I fix about:blank issues in my web browser?
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.
If the 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 be the fix you need. Lastly, you can restore your settings to the system defaults. This is an extreme option but if nothing else works, try this.