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BBC Alerts help
The most common problems experienced with BBC Alerts are addressed in the FAQs below. If your problem is not covered, you can contact us via the e-mail form at the bottom of the page.



The ticker is displaying a message saying "BBC Alerts cannot connect to the internet". What is the problem?

The BBC Alerts application has to be able to connect to the internet for updates.

Please check the following:

1) Are you online?
The application can only work if you are connected to the internet.

2) Firewall settings
If you use firewall software check to see that BBC Alerts or Skinkers Receiver has been granted access to the internet.

If you are using BBC Alerts at work you will need to check whether the application is being blocked by your IT department. You will need to inform your IT department to unblock the user agent "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Win32; skinkers)"

3) Your Proxy Server settings may not be set
By default, BBC Alerts will use the same proxy settings as Internet Explorer, so if you can access the internet through IE, the BBC Alerts application should too.

You may however need to manually enter the relevant details in the options area. (Please check with your Network Administrator or ISP to find out if this is the case). To do this, follow these steps:

  • Access BBC Alerts content options by double clicking on the red BBC icon in your system tray.
  • Select the "Proxy Settings" tab to open the proxy window.
  • Click the circle next to "Manually enter settings" and enter the details provided by your Network Administrator or ISP.
  • Click "Apply" or "OK" to save your settings and close the options window.

Your desktop alerts, like your web browser, should now connect to the internet through the Proxy Server and you should be able to receive messages and the ticker should display story headlines.

I have downloaded BBC Alerts but it does not appear to be running. What's going wrong?

If you have never seen any desktop application messages or instructions on screen, it may be that you have saved the installer application but have yet to activate the process that actually installs the BBC desktop tool.

You will need to find where you saved the installer and double click on it to begin installation. The file you are looking for is called BBC_Alerts.exe. The default location is normally C:/Program Files/BBC Alerts.

When you find the file, double click it to install the application.

The ticker has disappeared, how do I get it back?

Firstly, check that the red BBC Alerts icon is still present in your system tray. If it is, right click on the icon and choose "Show Ticker".

If the red BBC icon is not present in the system tray you should check to see if the application is still running. On your desktop there should be a BBC desktop icon. Double click this icon to restart the application.

How do I change my options and settings?

There are a number of ways of accessing the BBC Alerts content options panel.

  • Double click the red BBC icon in your system tray
  • Right click the red BBC icon in your system tray and click Content Options.
  • If the ticker is running, click on the options button at the right hand side of the ticker
  • If the alert box is open, click on the "change options" link

Nothing seems to work. I can't access the menu items and I haven't received any messages.

BBC Alerts requires Flash 8 to be installed.

The sound my desktop alerts makes is annoying, how can I turn it off?

You can turn off the alert sound effects by going to the Content Options panel, selecting the Alerts tab and unchecking the play alerts sound box.

I can't find the icon in the system tray anymore. Where has it gone?

There are two possible reasons why the BBC icon may have disappeared from the system tray:

1) Windows XP has hidden it.
To retrieve it, simply click the "<<" button in the system tray.

2) "explorer.exe" has crashed and not correctly restored the icon.
To retrieve the icon, you will need to stop the application and restart it. Windows 2000/XP users should follow these steps:

  • Hold down "CTRL + ALT + DEL".
  • In the resulting window, click the "Task Manager" button (in Windows XP Home Edition, you will automatically be taken to the Task Manager)
  • The Windows Task Manager will appear. Click the "Processes" tab.
  • Click the column title named "Image Name" to alphabetically order the processes.
  • You must find the process related to the BBC desktop tool. This is called BBC_Alerts.exe.
  • Once you have found the process, simply highlight it and click "End Process". A warning will appear and you should click "Yes".
  • Relaunch the BBC desktop tool from the Windows Start Menu or by double clicking the icon on your desktop.

My personal firewall flagged the fact that Skinkers Receiver is trying to connect to the Internet. Why?

BBC Alerts has to connect to the internet for updates. The software is provided by a company called Skinkers, hence the name.

BBC Alerts is causing my computer to dial up to the Internet without me knowing. How do I stop this from happening?

The BBC Alerts software needs to go online to check for new messages. There is an easy way to stop your computer from trying to automatically establish a connection:

  • Click 'Start' from your Windows Menu, point at 'Settings', then click 'Control Panel'.
  • Double-click the Internet Options icon.
  • Click the Connections tab, and then click the circle beside "Never dial a connection".
  • Click OK to save and close the window.
After you've done this, to go online simply click on your dial up connection.

Some of the text in the messages seems not to fit in the window and there are no scrolling options to go view the bottom of the message. Why is that?

The current application does not support large fonts. This is something we will look at in future releases.

When I click on a ticker headline, the story appears in a mini window. How do I make it appear in a full browser?

You can choose to read the short form version of the story in the mini-browser or read the fill story in a new web browser. You can choose from either in the options panel. You can access the options panel by clicking on the options button on the right hand side of the ticker.

I want to uninstall BBC Alerts, how do I do that?

There are 2 ways to uninstall the BBC Alerts application.

  • From Windows Add/Remove Programs, located in the Control Panel (please consult Windows help for information on how to do this)
  • From the Start Menu. When it is installed, the desktop news alerts application creates an uninstall icon in its program group in the Start Menu. You can find this by clicking on Start followed by All Programs and then selecting BBC Alerts.


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