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Web browser notifications and about:blank

Tech Talk

I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, letting websites show notifications about new messages and emails, even when the browser is closed. But somehow, websites started abusing the notifications feature somewhere along the way. For example, if you visit a web page just once to read an article or check on a sale, that site can send you notification messages. Honestly, it can be, best case, annoying, and, worst case, unproductive.

But we have tools to manage those pesky browser notifications.


Firefox has a nuclear option that blocks all notifications and requests. First, click on the three stacked bars in the upper right corner of your browser. Next, click on Settings and Privacy & Security from the left menu. Next, scroll down to Permissions and click the Settings... button next to Permissions. Now check the box next to Block new requests asking to allow notifications.


Chrome also has a nuclear option: click on the three vertical dots menu in the upper right corner of your browser. Click on Settings and click on Privacy & Security. Under Privacy & Security, scroll down, click on Site Settings, and click Notifications. Next, scroll down to Don't allow sites to send notifications and check it.


Microsoft's Edge browser has a nuclear option too. Click on the three horizontal dots in the upper right of your open browser, scroll down, click Settings, and then click Cookies and site permissions. Finally, click Notifications and turn off the Ask before sending (recommended) toggle.


The nuclear option works in Safari, too. Open Safari and click Preferences... from the top menu bar. Select the Websites tab, and in the left-hand menu, choose Notifications. Uncheck the Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications checkbox.

Where did my internet go, or what is about:blank?

So, there you are, about to search the internet for the latest proven can't-miss techniques for managing your yard's gopher problem when your browser comes up with a completely blank page called about:blank. So, what happened to your internet, and where did this page come from?

Don't worry; your internet is okay, most likely. That about:blank page comes with whatever browser you use; it doesn't come from the internet at all.

Why? Some people want to see a blank screen when they open a browser. Not someone's idea of what makes up the day's news, the scores from some sports team from somewhere, or the progress of the giant meteorite that will or won't entirely ruin all our plans. Just a beautiful blank page where you can control where your browser goes from here.

If your browser is opening to about:blank and you don't want it to, it's easy to change to any page you want. First, enter the address of your favorite search engine in the address bar of your blank page, then search for "how to change your browser's home page."


A computer programmer is at work when his wife calls and asks him to go to the store. She says she needs a gallon of milk, and if they have fresh eggs, buy a dozen. So after many trips to the kitchen from his car, he brings her 12 gallons of milk.

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has provided Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at [email protected].