What is About Blank? Should You Remove It?
Updated Jan. 15, 2022, by Steve Larner
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 page has many reasons for appearing on your screen. Generally speaking, the blank pages are nothing of concern.
This article explains what about:blank means and why you may get it when browsing the internet or opening a link.
What Does about:blank Mean?
About:blank pages are part of the about:URL scheme that browsers use to process internal commands. 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?
Top Consumer Reasons for Using about:blank Pages
You may wonder why people want to use a blank page.
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
- Prevent distractions
The idea does sound strange, but it has practical purposes, as shown above. The most common reason for a consumer to use about:blank is instructing the web browser to open a blank page when launched—or even for every new tab or window. About:blank keeps the startup fast and clean without any distractions, especially since today’s applications get designed to lure you in or keep you glued to them, so they gain monetary benefits. You may know about this with Facebook, Twitter, the start pages of Edge and Firefox, and even the Yahoo home page, to name just a handful.
Top Reasons that Browsers Use about:blank Pages
The most common reason browsers use a blank page is to process data behind the scenes. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox love to take over when you open their executable file. They start doing all sorts of tasks that eat up bandwidth and resources.
While it is challenging to stop the “invisible madness,” you can control some elements, such as what opens up on launch.
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, generally speaking, it isn’t. The about:blank page scenario is usually just a blank webpage displayed when a browser finds itself in a situation where it needs to show an empty page. The page does NOT get served to you from an external source, so it is not harmful to your computer. However, malware CAN cause a browser to open a blank page.
If you suspect that your device got infected with malicious software, viruses, malware, etc., then cease using it for personal matters and perform virus scans or a factory reset immediately. Remaining safe in a digital world means staying informed.
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 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 when the malware got 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 mentioned before, go to settings and set your homepage to whatever you like. Most browsers provide previously used or pre-included options that can make it easier for you. If you uninstalled and reinstalled your browser, 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 (including pop-up blockers) 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.
For the most part, seeing an about:blank page displayed on your browser isn’t an indication of an infected device; it means you haven’t set a homepage or your browser had issues displaying content. But, if it’s happening when you try to access specific sites or when starting your computer, then it points to signs of a potential problem.
About:blank 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 often see about blank pages, 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 change it to 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 bugs.