Irrespective of which web browser you are using on your computer, you must have come across the words ‘about:blank’ written in the address bar. A blank page opens up accompanying these words.
If you haven’t seen the ‘about:blank’ page, then you can have a look at it right now. Just type the words ‘about:blank’ in the address bar of your web browser and hit Enter.
A lot of people, who do not know about it are caught by confusion on seeing it; while some others just fear the consequence of the occurrence of such a page. But, there is no reason to worry and you can rather avail its benefits if you’re fully aware of it.
What is the about:blank page?
It is an entirely blank page that shows up on the browser screen. There are a set of commands beginning with ‘about’, that can be given to your browser. These commands execute a particular function within the browser itself. Such commands that start with ‘about’, hint the browser that you wish to do something locally and not go to an actual web page.
Other ‘about’ commands include the ‘about:about’ command which shows a list of all the commands available for your browser, the ‘about:cache’ that tells about the data stored in cache and the ‘about:plugins’ that displays plugin and add-on content that is installed.
The ‘about’ command is a unique command in the sense that it is supported across all browsers alike. Performing the ‘about:blank’ command in all browsers, be it Chrome, Safari or Firefox, will display a totally blank page.
You must be wondering how an utterly blank page can be of any use to you? But, you’ll be surprised to know that it is the most widely used ‘about’ feature in a browser.
A lot of people use the ‘about:blank’ page as their homepage. This is mainly for two reasons. First, that loading a blank page does not require internet data. Thus, computers on which paid internet data is being used, don’t waste data in loading some other web site as their home page unnecessarily. Second, a blank page gives you more clarity to think of where to go next in your web search as it does not bias you towards the website that would have been your homepage otherwise. Also, you don’t waste time In ‘loading’ your web page if it is the ‘about:blank’ page.
Why is this page associated with malware?
Now that you know how useful the ‘about:blank’ page is, you need not get worried about seeing it. However, if the page opens up even when you did not set it as your homepage or when you commanded your browser to go to some other website instead, then it can mean that something is wrong.
Other symptoms accompany the opening of this page, in case malware is involved. These include fake virus pop-up pages or other weird software being installed on the computer that you never added.
You may just change your homepage back to what it was or if you are very suspicious, run a virus scan on your computer if such a situation arrives.