What is About Blank and Why Do I See it?

Posted by Robert Hayes on January 11, 2020

When you are browsing the web, the appearance of the “About:Blank” page should be a rare occurrence. “About:Blank” is an empty browser page that is generated when something goes wrong with an ‘About’ command. The appearance of “About:Blank” is not a serious or dangerous issue. So you don’t have to worry about one of these pages infecting your computer or smart device with a virus or malware. Most likely, it’s simply the result of a failed attempt to generate an informational page in your browser.

One possible source of this page appearing in your browser is a known bug within Chrome, which is easily fixed. There is also a condition that occurs with some malware that has been partially removed from your system but continues to create “About:Blank” popup windows within your browser. This glitch is also easy to fix.

If you see “About:Blank” pop up once or twice on your computer but then go away, there’s nothing to worry about and there’s nothing that you need to do.

If you continually see it, though, then you should resolve the issue. While it might not be dangerous, it can be very annoying to have the page constantly popping up.

In this article, I will show you how to clear up “About:Blank” incidences in your browser.

About is part of the Universal Resource Identifier (URI) system that all browsers use in a nod to standardization. The About page structure is oriented around providing information to the user, and the Blank page is (obviously) an empty page. About pages are generated within the browser itself, not retrieved from the Internet.

Try it – open another browser tab, and in that tab, navigate to “About:.” A large amount of what looks like random gibberish will display on your screen. Of course, it’s not actually gibberish. It’s actually information about the browser you are currently running.

(Trying to get hardware acceleration working on your Chrome browser? Check out our guide to hardware acceleration mode in Chrome.)

What is About Blank and Why Do I See it?

As mentioned above, Chrome has a known glitch which can occasionally throw up the odd “About:Blank” page instead of doing something useful. The root cause of this is a corrupted page cache, the result of which is that the browser tries to access the “About:Blank” page instead of the page it was asked to fetch. Luckily, this corruption is easily remedied.

Although I am presenting walkthroughs using the menus and commands common to Chrome, you should be able to adapt these instructions to any modern browser, such as Firefox, Opera, etc.

To fix this issue, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Chrome if it isn’t already.
  2. Select the menu and More Tools.
  3. Select Clear Browsing Data.
  4. Select All Time from the dropdown menu.
  5. Check all boxes in both the Basic and Advanced tabs.
  6. Select Clear Data.

You can shortcut steps 1 through by 4 by just hitting Ctrl + Shift + Delete if you prefer. Either way, delete everything there is to delete and restart Chrome. You should no longer see “About:Blank” popping up occasionally.

If clearing the cache doesn’t work, you could try disabling extensions. If you have an out of date extension or have added a new one just before you began seeing “About:Blank,” it may be causing the browser to misbehave.

  1. Open Chrome and select the three-dot menu icon.
  2. Select More Tools and Extensions.
  3. Disable one or more of the new or out-of-date extensions by unchecking their boxes.

Troubleshooting extensions is a matter of trial and error. You can either disable them one at a time and retest while progressively re-enabling them to identify which extension is causing the ruckus, or you can disable them all at once and then add them back one by one. As long as you retest between enabling each individual extension you should quickly find the one playing up.

If all else fails, you can reset Chrome to its default settings, or even uninstall and reinstall.

  1. To reset Chrome, open the menu and select Settings.
  2. Scroll down and select Advanced.
  3. Scroll down to Restore settings to their original defaults and select it.
  4. Select Reset Settings.

This will clear out any custom settings, extension,s and any changes you have made to your browser. It’s like a factory restore on a phone. As such, this should probably be your last resort as it can be annoying yo have to re-customize your browser.

Other Causes of About:Blank

There are instances when incomplete malware removal can result in About:Blank pages or popups with About:Blank appearing. This is where the active part of the malware has been removed but the instruction embedded in the browser remains.

This instruction tells the browser to open these popups, but since the main malware app is gone, the popups never get filled up with new pirated links and content. So, while it might not be very malicious, it can definitely be very annoying to deal with.

Resolving this issue is simple enough, though. You should run a full malware scan and antivirus scan to remove every trace of the malware from your system. Most likely, the worst is gone but your previous scan didn’t capture everything.

If you don’t already use Malwarebytes, download and install it. Malwarebytes is a very popular and reputable malware protection service. Run a full scan and let it clean anything it finds. Then run a full antivirus scan using your installed program. Make it a full scan, not an intelligent scan or key areas scan. It will take a couple of hours at least, so best to let it run overnight or while you’re at work or school.

This should remove any remnants of the malware from your computer and stop About:Blank appearing.

Final Thoughts

“About:Blank” pages can appear for a number of reasons, but, fortunately, these pages aren’t dangerous and won’t infect your computer with any malware or viruses. Still, though, when these pages start to pop up frequently, it can be very irritating.

Fortunately, though, getting rid of these pages is very easy. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to identify and fix the issue that is causing these pages to appear in your browser.

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