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Configuring Skype - Part One

Updated on December 2, 2012

Configuring Skype Part One

When you want to configure Skype, start Skype in the usual manner. Locate the top menu item – Tools. Click Tools, from the drop down menu that appears click – Options. As shown in diagram 1.

Diagram 1.  Accessing Skype configuration tools
Diagram 1. Accessing Skype configuration tools

On click of the menu item – Options the Skype configuration window opens up as shown in diagram 2.

Diagram 2. Skype General Settings
Diagram 2. Skype General Settings

The General setting section in the right hand side consists of a number of check boxes. Their functionality is explained briefly below.

When I double click on a contact start a call

If this check box is marked – On – Then if you simply double clicks a contact in your contacts list Skype will initiate a call. Often Skype users keep this off .

If this check box is – Off - then when you double click a contact in your contacts list, you can choose whether you want to initiate and Instant Message, an Audio call or a Video call.

Show me as away when I’ve been inactive for ‘X’ minutes

If this check box is marked – On - then you can set the exact minutes that elapse before Skype will show your Status to your contacts as – Away.

Start Skype when I start Windows

If this check box is marked – On – then whenever you boot up your Windows based computer Skype will automatically load and attempt to connect to the Skype servers if you have an – Active – Internet connection.

Set Program Language to

You can select what language you want your Skype client to operate in. The default setting is English (English). If your mother tongue is something other than English, and the language is available in the Drop Down list box, select that language and Skype’s menus will be instantly displayed in the new language.

Show Online User count in Contact list

If this check box is marked – On – then Skype will display a number in your contact list that indicates the number of your Skype contacts that are online at the time.

Visual style of the Window

Here two radio buttons are provided. Only one radio button can be active at a time. The choices are Skype or Classic Windows. Choose whatever you feel works for you.

Show profile pictures in your contacts list

If this check box is marked – On – AND if your contacts have uploaded a picture of themselves to Skype then these pictures will be visible against their names in your Skype contact list.

Clickable Links

Add contact details to your profile

If you click this link you will be able to add details to your profile which will be visible to your Skype contacts.

Change your picture

If you click this link you will be able to Add or Change your picture that you’ve uploaded to Skype servers.

To make changes to the Skype Audio settings simply click – Audio Settings – on the left hand side.

This will display the audio settings that Skype has found out for itself in the right hand side. Normally these should be correct, as Skype will communicate internally with your operating system and find out what it wants to know about these settings.

Having said that if you want to make changes simply make selections from the Drop Down list boxes adjacent to Microphone, Speakers and Ringing.

It is a good idea to keep the - Automatically adjust the microphone settings AND the Automatically adjust the speaker settings – Check boxes On. This way you give Skype your permission to do what Skype considers best during a phone or video call.

Please take a look at diagram 3.

Diagram 3. Skype Audio settings
Diagram 3. Skype Audio settings

Additionally, the - Audio Settings - section has three links. 

Make a free test call. 

If you click this link, you will initiate a – Test Call – To Skype.  Skype will give you appropriate feedback about your call quality.  Most of the time the call quality is excellent.  I’d suggest that you initiate the test call and check how well your microphone is working

Learn more about setting up your audio equipment

If you click this link you will be taken to Skype’s User Guide section on the Skype website.  Take a look at diagram 4.  I recommend that you spend some time reading through this section so that you are sur you are getting the very best response from your audio equipment.

The Skype sound set up guide, web page.

Diagram 4. The Skype sound setup page
Diagram 4. The Skype sound setup page

Setting up Skype Sounds.

There are a number of events that occur when you are using Skype.  For example, when a contact signs in to Skype, or signs out of Skype or if the Skype call gets dropped and so on.

For each of these events Skype provides a sound, take a look at diagram 5.

Diagram 5. Setting up Skype sounds
Diagram 5. Setting up Skype sounds

You can switch - On - or – Off – sounds for the events that Skype recognizes.  You can even import sounds and then bind these to specific Skype events if required.

Setting up Skype Video Settings

Diagram 6. Skype Webcam settings
Diagram 6. Skype Webcam settings

If you click the - Video Settings – menu item on the left hand side the video settings will appear in the right hand side of the page.  These setting are pretty straight forward. You can choose who will be able to see your video feed. 

There are two buttons below the video window:

Take a snapshot

If you click the - Take a snap shot - button then a snapshot of the current image within your video widow will be taken

Webcam settings

On click of – Webcam settings – there are a whole host of webcam settings that can be done which will determine how your picture will look in the video window. 

These are slider based controls.  Go ahead, give these a try, you cannot harm your Webcam in any way. Remember the default settings are always one click away.  So go ahead and experiment a bit as shown in diagram 7.

Diagram 7. Skype Webcam slider settings
Diagram 7. Skype Webcam slider settings

Via Skype you can also dial Land line or Mobile phones in a whole host of countries. Skype’s per minute call rates are really very low, between 1cent to 2cents a minute depending upon the country you are calling. Yes that's right between 1cent and 2cents a minute.

You have to purchase Skype credit first, 10 USD/- will allow you to make a ton of phone calls to your friends and relatives across the Globe, UK, Europe, Australia, India and so on.

Enabling Skype Access is a really sensible thing to do, you can do.  Take a look at diagram 8.

Diagram 8. Enabling Skype access
Diagram 8. Enabling Skype access

Skype’s Privacy Settings

When you click on - Privacy – in the left hand side, Skype’s privacy configuration page is displayed on the right hand side as shown in diagram 9.

Diagram 9.  Skype privacy settings
Diagram 9. Skype privacy settings

These are pretty straight forward. These settings ensure that only those whom you wish to contact you can.

Play around with the settings if you like, but I’ve setup Skype so that only people on my contact list can see me or communicate with me using Skype’s Instant Messenger, Audio call or Video call. Other’s cannot.

This is because your contact list is a trusted group of people, who have either been invited by you to join in or sent you an invite to join in.

Occasionally from even among invitees you may encounter one or two undesirable ones, perhaps individuals who are making a nuisance of themselves.  These individuals can be blocked as shown in diagram 10.

Diagram 10. Blocking Skype contacts
Diagram 10. Blocking Skype contacts

When you click – Blocked Contacts – on the left hand side Skype’s - Blocked Contacts – user interface opens on the right hand side.

There is a Drop Down list box that will display the complete list of all your contacts. Simply double click on a contact with the Drop Down list box and that name automatically gets added to the – Blocked People – list on top. These individuals, inspite of being in your contacts list can now no longer contact you.

You could if you so chose – Delete - the contact completely, but this is a convenient way of blocking people and letting them in again if/when they learn the folly of their ways.

Skype does take you privacy rather seriously.

Now there is nothing to stop you from using the best VOIP product there is today – Skype, go ahead fire it up and start talking to your friends, relatives, clients and fellow business people.

You really will save a bundle communicating with friends, family and clients via Skype.

Ivan Bayross
Open source tools | Open source tutorials


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    • opensourcevarsity profile image

      Ivan Bayross 5 years ago from Mumbai / India

      Leaving the Skype account on an iPad does nothing at all, other than occupying space on your 16GB or 32GB or 64GB storage.

    • profile image

      Alba artuso 5 years ago

      If I leave the skype contact account on my iPad what dose it do

    • opensourcevarsity profile image

      Ivan Bayross 5 years ago from Mumbai / India

      Hi Aloma, I'm not really sure what it is you want to achieve.

      It would help a great deal if you posted what Operating System you've noticed this Skype behavior on?

      Also what is the version of Skype you are installing?

      Is it that you wish to make video calls via Skype and are unable to?

    • profile image

      aloma boyce 5 years ago

      I have installed Skype four times today and still cannot get the "enable video" command. The web cam is functioning correctly. The drop down menu in disabled, only "calls" are enabled. Help please.

      Thank you.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks for sharing your techie expertise with us.

    • opensourcevarsity profile image

      Ivan Bayross 7 years ago from Mumbai / India

      Hi Sal,

      Sorry I did not respond to your comment earlier, please put it down to the 'Season'.

      If you are running Skype 4.2 then here is what you can try.

      SKYPE--> Tools--> Options-->


      from automatic --> to notify me

      --> Save

      If you do this then Skype will - Ask you first if you want to upgrade or not - and you simply abort any upgrade attempt by Skype.

      There are a ton of complaints about this specific issue on Skype's technical forum. A heck of a lot of people are making a noise about this.

      Now (I think) there is a way to over come this issue. You will have to play with a single Windows registry entry.

      One will have to figure out which Windows registry entry is holding the instruction for the 'Automatic Update' of Skype's executable and disable this entry.

      A lot of people do not like messing around with Windows registry. So if you could let me know whether you would be Okay with making changes in your Windows registry entries, I'll try and look around to figure out which entry needs changing and what exactly needs to be changed and send that onwards to you.

      It's not rocket science, I assure you.

      The alternative is to always have to abort Skype's automatic upgrade request.

      I hope this helps.

      A happy 'New Year' to you.


      Ivan Bayross

      P.S. You could add your voice to the clamour on Skype. Login into their tech forum and post your irritation. I will definitely help.

    • profile image

      Sal 7 years ago


      I would be most greatfull if you could instruct or direct me to information that would block Skype updates.

      I use 4.2 with which I am happy and would rather stay with it. Lately it has been updating to 5 and the only way I can revert back is to do it via windows "System Restore "

      Thank You

    • profile image

      Archana 7 years ago

      Hi Ivan,

      The way you have simplied skype is superb. Infact last saturday, we were suggesting one of clients in Abu Dhabi to use web conferencing for interviewing candidates in India. Will share this link with him.



    • opensourcevarsity profile image

      Ivan Bayross 7 years ago from Mumbai / India

      Hi Ram,

      I seriously doubt that this is a problem with Skype.

      This could be that Skype is not picking up the right audio driver when it loads.

      Take a look at diagram 3. Click on the drop down list box and if there are other drivers visible there try selecting another driver and running your test.

      If there are multiple drivers then patiently cycle through all of them until you get the one that works perfectly.

      You could also try and download and install the latest audio driver for your sound card from the Internet.

      If all of that fails and people still cannot hear you on Skype, then borrow a friends microphone, or head set that is working on Skype and try this on your computer.

      If that works the problem is in your microphone / headset.

      Why that works in Windows sound check and not with Skype I've no idea whatsoever.

      Another issue could be that your audio card (or the audio section built into your mother board) is of a very old vintage which is causing issues with Skype's audio pick up system.

      Finally, from my past experience, in most of the cases where there's been a problem with Skype, the microphone or Headset was as fault.

      Ensure that you purchase a microphone or Headset that is clearly marked as Skype compatible on its box.

      Hope this helps get your Skype connection going.


      Ivan Bayross

    • profile image

      Ram 7 years ago

      Dear Sir

      The installation and usage explained here in is excellent and I have a problem with recording or with mic in my ear phones it is properly working on windows sounds check up. Only through Skype I can record the air blown in to the mic only that sound is recorded other vioces are not been recorded or heard back while running test. Can u suggest me an appropriate method to avoid this as I have already down loaded twice to rectify this problem.