How to Troubleshoot Skype Problems

By Loren Abdulezer, Susan Abdulezer, Howard Dammond, Niklas Zennstrom

You can quickly troubleshoot issues with Skype contacts, passwords, audio, video, conversations, webcams, Wi-Fi — and just about anything else that hampers your success with this communication system.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Michał Ludwiczak]

Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Michał Ludwiczak

Here are some common problems, alongside possible solutions to improve your Skype experiences.

Skype Problem How You Might Handle
My Contacts search yields too many names and I can’t find
the person I’m looking for.
It helps to sort the list by Country/Region. Just click the
column header of the search results. Entering more precise search
terms also helps. The more data you enter, the better the search
results.
I signed up with Skype, but no one can find my Skype Name. Add more information to your profile to yield better search
results for your new contacts. At the very least, fill in your
country and language.
I want a secure password, but it needs to be one I can
remember.
Pick two easy but unrelated, words. Separate them by a number,
such as latte67chair.
I can’t find the audio jack in my Macintosh computer. How
do I use a headset/microphone with it?
Macintosh accepts audio input from USB devices. Purchase a USB
microphone or headset.
I misplaced my microphone, and no one I speak with using Skype
can hear me.
In a pinch, use an extra set of headsets that you plug into the
microphone jack. Not the best quality sound, but it works.
I have 50 contacts, but I want to converse with only 15.
That’s a lot of scrolling, clicking, and inviting.
Create separate groups in your Contacts list (family, club,
softball buddies) and add contacts from your Skype Contacts list to
your new group. Click the contact group of your choice and then
start your conversation.
I want to transfer a file to 15 buddies simultaneously. What do
I do?
Highlight the groups you have created. Right-click the group
you want to send a file to and select Send File. You will need to
locate and open the file you want to send. A quicker way to send
the file is to just drag the file onto the conversation window when
you have already chosen the group.
I’ve changed the font style in my conversation window and
I want to go back to the default but don’t remember what font
it is.
Tahoma, 8 points, Western Script.
I have too many devices attached to my computer during a video
conference. Help!
Get a webcam with a built-in microphone and noise cancellation.
Your life will get easier!
I just installed a video driver, but my video is not working
correctly.
Make sure that you turned off anti-virus and anti-adware
software before installing video drivers.
I just installed a new webcam, but it’s not working
properly.
Make sure that you plug in the webcam when the software prompts
you. Most video drivers are installed first; the webcams are
plugged in after installation.
My video is not working properly. Check for the latest updates from your webcam’s Web
site.
I put my Skype online number on my business card and now
I’m getting calls at 2 o’clock in the morning!
Always indicate your local time zone when giving out your Skype
online number.
I don’t hear anything through my USB headsets. Plug in your headsets before your start Skype. If you’ve
started Skype, quit and restart.
I have a Bluetooth headset to use with my Macintosh
speech-recognition software, but nothing is happening.
A Bluetooth headset does not work with some older Macintosh
speech recognition systems. However, you can use a Plantronics
CS50-USB wireless headset (it’s not Bluetooth).
I’m trying to make an International call, but it’s
not working.
Remember to enter a plus sign (+) before a country code and
then enter the telephone number.
I set up a Skype Internet Telephone with a USB base station.
Now I don’t hear the music from my computer’s MP3
player.
Check your audio settings. Some Internet phones become the
default audio device and work only with Skype.
Skylook records my conversations. Where do I find them? Skylook creates a Conversations folder in your Outlook
inbox.
I’m using Pamela. I want to record sometimes, but not all
the time.
Ignore the recording prompt. It will go away after 10 seconds
and not record anything.
When I’m in a Skype conference and transferring a file,
our voices get harder to understand.
Put the conference on hold, transfer your files, and then
resume the conference. The files will transfer faster and your
voice quality won’t suffer.
How do I let skypers know what time zone I’m in? Include your time zone in your Skype Profile.
I want to find out my Skype contact’s e-mail address; how
do I search for it?
You can’t through Skype; e-mail addresses are not
revealed. Just ask your contact.
I have a webcam that I use with Skype, but I’m afraid
someone will see me in my pajamas.
Don’t worry. Skype video does not start automatically.
You have to select the video to activate it or choose it to
activate when you receive a call.
Can I make an emergency call on Skype? No. You must use a regular phone.
I want to purchase Skype credits. What do I need to do
this?
You must have a Skype password and a valid e-mail address to
purchase Skype credit.
I have Skype credit. Do I need to use it up in the 180-day time
limit?
No. Just keep it alive by making one call within 180 days to
extend it for another 180 days. If you don’t use it at all,
however, it will be lost after 180 days.
I have Outlook Express. Will Skylook work? No. Skylook works only with Outlook.
I have a huge list of Outlook Contacts showing in my Skype
Contacts list. What do I do?
This is happening because you have a check mark next to View
Outlook Contacts in your Skype View menu, To remove the check mark,
choose View→View Outlook Contacts.
My Skype Profile photo is not the right size. What size should
it be?
Profile photos should be 96 by 96 pixels.
I have a poor Skype connection. What can I do to make it
clearer?
Hang up. Set your Skype status to Offline for 15 seconds and
then call again. With luck, the connection is reset and the sound
quality is higher.
I have a long Contacts list and I’m afraid I will lose
the information if my computer crashes. How do I back my list
up?
If you use the latest version of Skype there is no need to
backup contacts as they are stored centrally on the Skype servers
and can be accessed from any Internet-connected computer, as long
as you sign in with the same Skype Name and password.
I’ve plugged in my USB headset, and now I can’t
hear Skype ringing unless my headset is on. What can I do?
On the Skype menu, choose Skype Tools→Options→Audio
Devices. The ringing option should be set to the speakers on your
computer. Also, check the Ring PC Speaker check box. After setting
these options, click Save.
I want my Skype status icon to remain on Available. It keeps
changing even though my Skype program is running.
On the Skype menu, choose Tools→Options→General and
set the Show Me as Away When I Am Inactive option to zero.
I forgot my Skype password. If you entered an e-mail address when you registered for Skype,
you can request a new password by filling out a form after which a
new password will be e-mailed to you. Go to https://secure.skype.com/account/password-reset-request
and fill in the form.