What is About Blank?—Everything You Need to Know About it in 2022

Who hasn't seen the dreaded About:blank page when trying to open a new tab page on a browser window? If you're curious about it, you're at the right place. In this blog, I go through:

  • The meaning of the About Blank page aka. What is about:blank
  • The uses of About Blank pages.
  • Common reasons behind About blank.
  • Is About blank harmful, i.e., are about blank pages malware?
  • How to fix About Blank on both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer.

And, of course, much more.

Let's cut into it.

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Overview—What does About:blank mean?

The About Blank page (About:blank) can be defined in many ways. But before we get to answering the question, “What is about blank?,” note that this situation can arise for any of the common internet browsers: Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, or even the default Android browser.

And, as you go on to the following sections, I’ll explain in detail how the about:blank page is harmless in most cases and most browsers, how you yourself can make use of it, and, how to get rid of it as well. So, don’t forget to read on till the end!

what is about blank

What is about:blank page?

Normally, both title page and the address bar (or, Internet browser URL field) will have the about:blank message.

About blank pages occur for a number of possible reasons. Among them, it might be an empty page returned by your web browser (or web browsers): Think of it like a blank home page that your browser displays to users.

Many users themselves prefer to set an about blank page as their internet browser tab home page (which can be done by accessing the browser’s settings and depending on that, setting the about:blank page as the Home page or default page.

But if you’re wondering about stopping about blank pages, well, firstly, this is not really a matter of grave concern. Most browsers often return an about:blank page for one of the reasons I mentioned above. However, receiving the same about:blank page repeatedly can often be the indication of a larger problem.

But, more on that later. Read on to know why about blank pages exist.

“Why does about blank exist?”—Here’s what I think …

So about Blank screens …

Internet browsers have their internal commands, which determine the manner in which a specific web page is opened by that browser. This includes when you’re opening the browser for the first time, or when you’re trying to open a new tab on your already running internet browser.

Different web pages open up in different ways, and these internet commands help the browser process them. This is part of a browser’s settings, specifically of the about:URL scheme of internal commands.

Some of the other known internal commands in this about:URL scheme are as follows:

a. about:about

b. about:cache

c. about:plugins

In the case of an about blank page, well, it can mean two things:

  1. The web page is a blank home page for a browser tab, which can be set by the user themselves or the browser.
  2. The web page has nothing to load in the first place.

So, think of it more like this: The About:blank page is the way browsers process websites that have nothing to load in the first place. It is an internal command that is built in pages, at least some, in all browsers.

What is about blank in Chrome?

Well, Google Chrome browser is not exempt from about blank pages either. Chrome about blank pages comprise a white home page that has “about:blank” in the address bar. Sometimes, many web pages load an extra blank page whenever a user clicks a download link; getting the about:blank page in such a scenario would precede the download starting itself, in the background.

As discussed before, the about blank command is part of the URL naming convention that allows your Google Chrome browser to process web pages. Chrome comes with plenty of its own internal pages that you can see by using the about:about command.

about:bookmarks: to view saved bookmarks

chrome about bookmarks

about:accessibility: to view accessibility information for each new tab

chrome about accessibility

about:apps: to view the apps, both out-of-box with Chrome browser and user-installed

chrome about apps

What is about blank on my computer?

The about blank page is a blank screen that appears on starting up web browsers, if so set by the user or browser, or if the web page you tried to open on your browser simply didn’t have any data to load.

Normally, about blank appears as a blank white page in your browser, and depending on the layout of your browser, it can show about:blank as a message in both the blank page as well as the address bar of the browser.

But there are other uses for about: commands; for example, in Google Chrome (Refer to the section above to know more about blank pages on Google Chrome and how to set about:blank as your Google new tab or home page).

What is about:blank used for by Consumers?

End users or consumers have, among others, the following uses for a blank page like About blank.

  1. To prevent the browser from opening multiple new tabs and windows from last session.
  2. Privacy upon launch.
  3. Regulating bandwidth by using a page that has nothing to do with an internet connection, i.e, a blank one that does not necessarily online.
  4. Keeping a blank home page.
  5. Keeping distractions at bay from intended audience.

To summarize, at a time when the internet is designed to distract you with more offerings than you can imagine, an about blank page is a handy tool that keeps you focused on what you opened your browser to do—go to the desired link directly, by typing in your desired URL in the address bar.

Why is about:blank useful by web browsers?

What is about blank used for by web browsers you ask? Well, the main use for an about:blank page for a web browser is to enable back-end data processing. Certain browsers such as Firefox and Chrome take over whenever you press enter on an executable file, and start performing invisible, back-end tasks that eat into your internet connection bandwidth.

task manager

While all of these activities cannot be prevented, certain elements such as what is launched when your browser is starting can be.

How to set up about:blank as your start page (Google Chrome)

First, access Google Chrome settings: You can select Settings from the drop-down menu or just typing about:settings in the Chrome address bar (where you type in Chrome URLs).

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Second, In the web browser search bar, search for “Start-up.”

Next, select “Open a specific page or set of pages.”

Finally, select “Add new page” and type “About:blank.”

Select “Add” to finalize the process.

add new page in chrome

After you follow these steps, just restart Chrome again and check if the about blank page has been set as your new home page.

This should make about blank your default start page, a special blank page that your browser will return as its homepage every time you start it or even open a new tab.

Common Causes of About:blank pages

Some of the most common reasons for getting an about blank page are as follows:

  1. To initiate the downloading process when you click on a download link on the back end.
  2. When URLs are mistyped.
  3. Discrepancies in HTML, Java, or other web codes, which your browser can’t process.

Is About:Blank a Malware?

In most of the cases that I have come across, the answer to this question is a resounding no. So, if you’re worried about how to get rid of about blank pages, you’re probably safe, as:

Basically, It is a blank page that is loaded internally by your web browser, either because you specifically set it up as your homepage, or because of one of the reasons I went through in the last section (Refer to section “Common causes of About:blank pages” for more details).

The about blank screen hence is almost never loaded from an external source. Even when the blank page loads when you’re downloading something, it is your web browser that opens it so that you can download your files in the background (you can see the download completed while the about blank page is loaded: on the upper right corner, if you select downloads).

However, malware or trojan can also cause your browser to repeatedly open new blank tabs. And, in that case, malware removal should be your number one priority as that should solve the about blank popping up too. If you are certain that your computer has been infected by virus/malware, please conduct a virus scan and/or reset settings on your device to factory state. We recommend Malwarebytes.

Buy Malwarebytes Now

“How to stop those about:blank popups?”

This would depend solely on why the popups appear. Here are some scenarios:

  1. If you were the one who set a blank page as your homepage on your search engine/browser, go ahead and undo those changes. Disable Chrome Extensions and clear browsing data as best practices as well.
  2. You have a bad internet connection, which is not giving enough bandwidth to your browser to process the website you want to load. In that case, try getting better and more stable internet options.
  3. If the empty page is a result of a malicious link or malware in general, then it’s a little more tricky. Assuming you use Chrome, you can uninstall and reinstall Chrome, and also run a full virus scan on your PC. Once you use malware removal tools, and the underlying issue gets fixed, your browser should repair itself on its own.

How to Fix an About:Blank homepage?

The menu that allows you to set an empty page or blank screen as your homepage is the same one that provides you with the option of undoing it. You can also restore settings or reset settings on your browser to go back to the default start page of your browser.

If you’ve recently installed or reinstalled your browser, go ahead and type any page address or web site URL in the section that asks for a homepage. Extensions, popups, etc., should all be disabled.

And, note, it often takes a browser relaunch for changes to take effect most of the time, not just with Chrome, but all other browsers.

How do I fix Google Chrome About Blank?

Troubleshooting: Clear browsing data such as autofill forms, cache, cookies, other passwords, and login data from Chrome. And when the dialog box asks you for a time period, choose “From the beginning of time.” That gets rid of all your browser data. This fix has worked for me for many Chrome issues over the years.

Disabling Chrome extensions: Select the three dots from the upper right corner on Chrome and select tools, which should let you access extensions. Go ahead and disable them all.

Disabling hardware acceleration: Select the same three dots and once you select Settings, select Show Advanced Settings. Uncheck the box beside the option “Use hardware acceleration when possible.”

Running Google Chrome as an administrator: This fix has also worked for many Chrome-related problems, for me. Especially useful when Chrome isn’t letting you access any web site, in this case, other than a blank page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the purpose of about blank?

An about blank page is an empty page, loaded by your browser in order to allow itself to process data in the background. It is not malicious normally, but if an about:blank shows up frequently, it might hint at a more serious malware problem.

Why is this about blank blocked?

About:blank#blocked is displayed when Chrome cannot find access to the web site you requested because of security reasons. Unfortunately, there is no straight workaround for such a page, besides using a virtual private network (VPN). If it still persists, you cannot access the website from your geographical area.

Why do I get a blank page when I click on a link?

If you’re using malware protection, and manage to click on a malicious link (to an unsafe website), about blank shows up to deter you from accessing it, for security.

Is about blank a virus?

No, normally, about blank is not a virus or malware. It is an internally loaded page that your browser shows when it can’t process the webpage/when it needs to carry out functions in the background, like downloading a file. As long as you’re not persistently receiving about blank pages from your browser, you’re good to go. However, if you are concerned about your computer being infected, we recommend to have it scanned by Malwarebytes.

How do I get rid of About Blank Android?

To get rid of the about blank page from your Android browser, open the browser, and then select the setting menu (gear). Then select Internet options and remove “about:blank” as the homepage; this should be visible at the top of the General pane.

Hope that helps …

These methods have helped me numerous times to fix not just the about:blank page but many other issues. I hope they work the same way for you. Please let me know of any other methods that you found, and if you found this helpful.

Till next time!

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