About:blank. Is it malware?

About:blank
Written by Wilbur Woodham

You surely noticed a white empty page in your browser with the mysterious “about:blank” in the address bar many times. It often appears upon browser launch, but sometimes you can see it in different circumstances. Many web-browsers like Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge have this feature. So what is this blank page for after all?

First of all, “about:blank” is one of the many browser commands. It opens an empty white field (it’s not even a page), and it is a feature of a browser, not some external content. Type ‘about:about’ in the address bar to list all possible commands starting with ‘about.’ Type ‘about:about’ in the address bar to list all possible commands starting with ‘about.’ If you want to learn to control your browser via the ‘about’ command, read tutorials on the web, there are plenty of great manuals there, just like this LifeWire material on Firefox commands.

What is the purpose of this blank page feature?

About:blank look

About:blank in all its glory (Google Chrome browser).

First of all, it allows your browser to turn on quickly since there’s nothing much to load.

Another reason is privacy: if your browser opens a blank page upon start, no one, looking over your shoulder, will see what websites were open when you closed the browser last time.

Moreover, if your network’s bandwidth is limited, about:blank ensures traffic economy.

How to remove about:blank, and should I?

You certainly can, if you dislike seeing it, but it is harmless. In Chrome, for example, switching about:blank off requires going to:

Menu / Settings / On Startup

There you can choose a specific page that your browser will open upon start. If you prefer, you can make your browser always continue from where you finished your surfing last time.

Is about:blank a problem?

Not at all! It appears upon browser opening if blank page is set therein as the default page.

Your browser can also render a blank page if it doesn’t have another instruction. For example, you follow a link targeted to a new browser tab. The tab opens, but it doesn’t “know” what to show since its content is the downloadable file. Therefore, about:blank appears.

An invalid URL (different from a non-existent page) also triggers the opening of about:blank. Also, sometimes browsers open a blank page instead of accessing questionable websites.

About:blank and viruses

About:blank is not a virus, of course. However, if you feel that your browser drops to “about blank” suspiciously frequently, you might want to check your browser for harmful extensions or your PC for malware. One of the best utilities for virus checking is Gridinsoft Anti-Malware.

Conclusion

To be able to show a white page is the browsers’ regular feature which is not a virus. It can be turned off arbitrarily by the user. Strange browser behavior when about:blank appears, when it should not, might be an indirect indicator of a malware infection and ground for a virus check.

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About:blank. Is it malware?
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About:blank. Is it malware?
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You surely noticed a white empty page in your browser with the mysterious "about:blank" in the address bar many times. It often appears upon browser launch, but sometimes you can see it in different circumstances. Many web-browsers like Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge have this feature. So what is this blank page for after all?
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About the author

Wilbur Woodham

I was a technical writer from early in my career, and consider IT Security one of my foundational skills. I’m sharing my experience here, and I hope you find it useful.

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