Easier ways to setup and test Skype

We can say plenty about Skype, but it’s setup and testing is easier than most.  Here’s how to get ready for Skype calling on Windows, Mac and others.

While Skype’s text messaging service is awful (clumsy and insecure with Microsoft reading every message!), it’s video and voice calling are good.

There’s also a live translation option which can be very handy though it’s a privacy concern.

Our ebook  Beating Bots, Spies & Cock-ups – Safely & securely send files and documents explains that Skype messaging and file transfer is NOT safe and how to use it’s more secure mode.  The book goes into detail about safe ways to collaborate or exchange files. Including limitations in some options, bypassing file size limits and sneaky nerd tricks for extra security.

Use Skype for free ‘computer to computer’ calls (video or voice) plus cheap calls to any standard phone line. Office 365 customers get 60 minutes per month of calls to many phone lines.

Setting up Skype can be frustrating, though a lot of that isn’t Skype’s fault.  We’ve done a guide to Windows audio troubleshooting.

Troubleshooting Skype for Windows

Skype original developers understood the problems with fixing sound, in a way that Microsoft’s own teams don’t.

They put in simple ways to test your speaker, microphone and camera.  You’ll be shown those options when you first start Skype and are available at any time from Settings | Audio & Video.

These options should work during a call which is very handy if there’s a problem.  You’re trying to work out if the problem is with your microphone, their speaker or vice-versa.


You can see what the camera is seeing.  Select the camera from the pull-down at top right.


Scroll down to Audio | Microphone.

Again, there’s a selector at top right to choose the correct microphone.

Watch the dots moving to the right as you talk.

Automatically adjust microphone settings – usually does a good job and is worth leaving on.


Lastly, the speakers or audio output.  The device selector is at top right.

Test Audio – click on that to hear an incoming call ring from Skype.

Ring on additional device – a nice touch to ensure you hear an incoming call even if the default audio is headphones or earbuds.

No nonsense guide to fixing Windows audio problems – speakers

Audio tricks and traps in PowerPoint

Prepare your computer for isolation or quarantine

Microsoft and others listen to Skype calls … and what else?