Skype Info & Secrets User Guide & Help

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  February 26, 2018 

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Help with installing and using Skype, see the detailed instructions, hints and links below!

Get up to 10,000 calling minutes to landlines for one low monthly fee!

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Download the FREE Skype "EasyGuide" Booklet for more information on read how to get the most out of Skype!

Skype is a great piece of free software that allows you to make free phone and video calls using "Voice over IP" (VoIP) to other Skype users.  This web page is provided as a community service to help unlock the secrets to free/cheap phone calls.

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Skype Info and Help  

What is "Skype"?

Skype also provides free Instant Messaging (IM) and file transfer.  It also allows very low cost phone calls to normal phones or cell/mobiles and SMS messages to mobiles.  Many of us in the international HL7 standards Australia commitee use Skype VoIP.
Bookmark this!By the way, it is not spelt Skyp, Skypee, Skypie, Skpye, Skyppe, Skipe, Skaip, Scipe, Skaipie, VoIPDownloadSkype or VIOP ...

What do I need to use "Skype"?

1.  A computer running Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X or Linux.
2.  A Skype-compatible headphone/microphone head-set or the built-in microphone and speaker if you are using a laptop.
3.  An internet connection, preferably Broadband.

4.  The Skype software - free download from Skype

You are now ready to make free calls to other Skype users!

How to set up Video-calls:

5.  If you want to do video calls, you will need a webcam - sometimes already built into your laptop.
6.  Your first 10-minute call to a normal phone or cell/mobile is free!!!  But if you want to regularly make very low cost phone calls and
     send SMSs to mobiles, put the minimum $15 of "SkypeOut" credit into your Skype account.  This is not required if you only want to
     call other Skype users.
Bookmark this! 7.  Read Skype Books and Manuals to learn the secrets of getting the most out of Skype.

Could not find what you were looking for?  Google it!

Skype Books we Recommend:

Skype For Dummies - the name says it all!

Skype Hacks: Innovative and Fun Tips & Tools - ideal guide for new Skype ring tones and fun on-hold music or replacing your "regular" phone service altogether.

Skype - From Single User to Small Enterprise and Beyond - the author is one of the most recognized and respected authorities on Skype.

Skype - The Definitive Guide - written by Skype insiders, this is the only official guide to Skype.

Skype "EasyGuide" Booklet - read how to get the most out of Skype.  FREE!

Browse more Skype Books and Manuals to learn the Secrets of Skype.

WARNING - Before you install Skype, ensure you have removed any unsafe Viruses and speed-zapping Registry "gunk" from your PC:

To quickly and easily fix any Windows security and reliability problems before you install Skype, follow these two easy steps: 
1. Do a free scan with RegCure's Fix Windows Errors - Repair to repair and optimise your Windows PC.
2. Download and run Windows AntiVirus Pro from Paretologic until it reports that your Windows PC is "clean".
These two programs will immediately speed-up and stabilise your Computer and ensure Skype runs successfully.

So, what can Skype do for me?

Skype allows you to make and receive calls from your PC, calls to other Skype users are free; calls and SMSs to phones are very cheap.  Skype also has free video, IM-style chat and file transfers.  Check out this LONG list of Skype features!!!  
Bookmark this!Click here to get your own local landline number in 20 countries that will ring in on Skype on your PC. OK, let's get started...

Step 1: Download the free software from - follow the installation instructions on the download screen.

Step 2: Make a Test Call:

Test Skype

After you have installed Skype, type in the Skype-name "Echo123" into the Skype-name/phone-# field (see picture on left) and click on the green phone-button.  An automated system will answer your call, ask you to record a test message and replay that test message back to you.  If you appear to have problems with your microphone or speakers, go to Skype's Sound Set Up Guide for instructions on how to set up and test your headset and microphone.  If you send a "Call me" chat message to "Echo123", the automated system will call you, ask you to record a 10-second test message and replay message back to you.
Bookmark this!

Step 3: Make calls to people who have Skype:

If you know their Skype-name, type it into the Skype-name/phone-# field and click on the green phone-button.  If the other person is at their computer, they will hear Skype ringing, can accept the call and you can talk for free as long as you like.

Step 4: Make calls to people who do not have a computer and/or Skype:

Skype can call any phone world-wide (including mobile/cell/hand-phones).  Your first "SkypeOut" call is free, then you can purchase some SkypeOut credit - starting with $15.  The call cost is typically $0.02 per minute.

Note: There is a problem with SkypeOut overcharging for calls to Australian 1300 xxx xxx numbers - we are currently addressing this with Skype. We suggest you do NOT use Skype to call these numbers!  Also, "Free SkypeOut Calls" plans are not entirely free as they include a $0.05 charge per call

Use Skype to take part in Conference calls:

You can use Skype to hold conference calls with up to 10 participants which may include participants on normal phones using SkypeOut.  From the Skype menu, go to Skype -> Call -> Start Conference Call...
If you want to use Skype to participate in conventional phone conferences, it is quite simple:
1. You will need to have some SkypeOut credit
2. You call the conference call dial-in number
3. If requested, use Skype's keypad to mouse-click the PIN number
Bookmark this!4. The cost is ~$0.02 a minute

Use Skype for Video-Conferencing:

It is not widely known that Skype has provided video-conferencing from the desk-top since January 2006 and in November 2007 released features similar to those found in professional systems.  Desk-top video-conferencing can eliminate the need for special video-conferencing equipment and rooms.  For existing Skype users, the only additional technical requirement is a Webcam. The call costs are the same as for Skype voice conferences, eg. free to other Skype users.

It is estimated that one in four calls already involve video - both for professional collaborations across the globe and for Bookmark this! staying in touch with family and friends. Click here for more information on Video Conference!

Use the Skype Call-Forward function:

Very useful when you are not at your computer.  Your calls are forwarded to any phone number, local or overseas.  Note that you will need SkypeOut credit for the forwarded calls.
Undocumented Feature: You can forward your calls for free to another Skype name, eg. from your home PC to your work PC.

Use the Skype Instant Messaging (IM) function:

Very useful, especially during phone conferences or if the voice line breaks - you can still communicate via a IM-style "chat".

Use the Skype file-transfer function:

Very useful, especially during phone conferences - you can exchange files in the background.

Use the Skype cheap SMS function:

Send SMS Texts to any cell/mobile/hand phone - but at half-price or less!  "Verify" your mobile phone number at Skype -> Tools -> Options -> Chats & SMS -> SMS Settings and the messages will look as if they came from your cell phone.  The replies of course will go to your cell/mobile.  The cost ~$0.12 per SMS and uses your SkypeOut credit. Click here for more Skype SMS Texting info.
Note that if Skype goes off-line (which may not be immediately shown in the task-bar icon), clicking "Send SMS" does nothing - no error message is given!
Bookmark this!  The "Sent: dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm" record in the "History" tab is the only reliable confirmation that the SMS was sent.

Make Money using Skype?

Bookmark this! Here's an idea: Make an income by teaching English using Skype!  Download the on-line English Teaching Guide.

Send Faxes using Skype:

Bookmark this! Pamfax integrates with Skype and can send low-cost faxes worldwide.  The Skax service is web-based.

What type of Internet connection does Skype need?

While broadband is always better (although there are sometimes problems using a WiFi connection), we have found Skype to work quite well on 56k modem lines (even as low as 33.6k, especially since V2.5.0.122).  If you are using a slow line, the sound quality will be marginal at first - wait for
Bookmark this! 20-30 seconds until Skype switches to lower bandwidth.

The Skype EasyGuide Booklet:

This FREE comprehensive booklet covers all aspects of installing and using Skype.  A special section shows how to get the most out of Skype.
Ch. 1: Introduction
Ch. 2: What is "Voice over IP" (VoIP)?
Ch. 3: Why use VoIP? (Real-life user stories)
Ch. 4: What is "Skype"?
Ch. 5: What do I need to use "Skype"? (PC compatibility)
Ch. 6: What type of Internet connection is required to use Skype? (incl. list of compatible internet services)
Ch. 7: I don't have a PC / Internet. What do I do?
Ch. 8: How do I install Skype? A step-by-step pictured guide
Ch. 9: OK, now let's test Skype!
Ch. 10: It's WORKING! So let's call someone!
Ch. 11: What do my calls cost?
Ch. 12: How do I send less-than-half-price SMSs?
Ch. 13: Using the Skype Instant Messaging (IM) chat function
Ch. 14: Getting the most out of Skype: Sending files, voice-mail, security, etc.

Each chapter explains the functions and set-up of Skype in step-by-step detail.  Pictures show how it is done.  Each chapter has a "What if..." trouble-shooting section!  The authors of the "Skype EasyGuide" booklet, Sandra Thompson and Robert Northman, are non-technical users like you who have learnt the hard way and are now sharing their experiences with us...

Download your FREE 27-page "Skype EasyGuide" booklet now.

Skype VoIP News

An Introduction to VoIP and the Way It Works
Friday, 26th January 2018
Living in this age and time, if you still haven't heard of VoIP, then you better fine-tune yourself a bit.  It is the acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol and is a revolutionary technology in itself, potential to rewrite the destiny of telephones.  To put it in short, the technology allows to convert analog audio signals - which is produced when you speak on the phone - to digital data.

A Glimpse at the Future of VOIP Telephony
Thursday, 11th January 2018
It is evident that the road of development is very long as far as the VOIP technology is concerned.  In the whole journey of advancements, one fact persists that small business VOIP phone systems are going to receive a spin.  In the ever-evolving scenario

How Does VoIP Phone Service Work?
Friday, 15th September 2017
For years, businesses have been replacing their analog phone lines with VoIP phone service.  In its early years, VoIP picked up its own reputation among users and skeptics who touted it as unreliable; however, throughout its history, this new communication technology has grown in popularity and left its mark as a reliable and practical communication solution for businesses of all sizes.  Today, businesses use VoIP features to stay in touch with customers and colleagues, expand their businesses seamlessly, monitor employee performance, and build customer loyalty.

How to Get the Most From Your Voicemail to Email Service
Friday, 1st September 2017
If you have a voicemail to email service, then you already know how great it can be.  Aside from giving you the ability to share your voicemail messages with colleagues for easier collaboration, it also lets you decide if a message requires instant action or if you can add it to your to-do list to take care of later.  Voicemail to email service is becoming an essential feature for many VoIP users, but are you making the most of this popular feature?

Could not find the News you were looking for?  Search here:

Useful sites:

The VoIP Skype FREE download site:
Skype compatible head-sets and phones.
"Skype for Dummies", "VoIP for Dummies" and other useful Books and Guides will show you the Skype Secrets...
The official Skype support web site:
Reverse Phone Number Lookup       Free Nextel Ringtones       Find your Lost Cell Phone

Make Skype secure:

It is preferable to exclude your personal data (birthdate, gender, home number, etc.) from your personal profile as it is visible and searchable for>100 million Skype users:
  • To prevent getting rogue calls, go to Skype -> Tools> Options -> Privacy and click the two "Only people from my Contacts can ..." options!
  • Do the same in the Tools> Options -> Video to prevent rogue video connections.
  • You may also want to "neutralise" your profile (File -> Edit your Profile) by removing your gender and birth date - this will discourage rogue requests based on your gender and age.
  • To prevent constant taskbar notifications as people go online/offline, go to Skype -> Tools -> Options -> Notifications -> "Display Notification in the Windows tray when someone..." and unclick "comes online"!
Bookmark this! More at

Avoid Skype scams:

Beware of Skype "phishing" e-mails.  Similar to the well-known banking scams, these e-mails look as if they come from Skype and ask you to click a link to "validate" or "re-activate" your account on a Skype-look-alike web page.  The aim of these fraudulent e-mails is to get access to your Skype account and any credit you may have.  DO NOT respond to these e-mails and delete them immediately!  Skype does not ask for your password via E-mail.  Skype only asks you for your password when you log into the Skype program or directly log onto their website at
Bookmark this!For more information on how to verify that an e-mail is from Skype, see

How does Skype protect my privacy?

Skype is encrypted end-to-end because it uses the internet to transport your voice calls and text messages and sometimes these calls are routed through other peers.  Skype encryption ensures that no-one can eavesdrop on your call or read your instant messages.
Skype uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES, also known as Rijndael) which is used by U.S. Government organizations to protect sensitive information.  AES uses 256-bit encryption, which has a total of 1.1 x 1077 possible keys, in order to actively encrypt the data in each Skype call or instant message.  Skype uses 1024-bit RSA to negotiate symmetric AES keys.  User public keys are certified by the Skype server at login using 1536-bit or 2048-bit RSA certificates.

What Standards does Skype support:

While Skype uses the TCP/IP internet standards to communicate and AES encryption (see above) standard, the actual communication mechanism uses proprietary peer-to-peer VoIP technology (see and

Log any Installation Problems:

  • Download or copy the Skype program to a directory
  • Open a DOS window (Start -> Run -> Cmd) and run it from the command line with following parameter: SkypeSetup.exe /log
  • An error log file will be created in the same directory during install.

Hidden Chat Commands:

When your are in a Skype chat window, there are a number of useful hidden commands.  The command is typed into the lower chat window, preceded by a forward-slash "/":
/add "Skype-name"
/topic "newtopic"

/find "text"


/alertson "text"

Add the user with the specified "Skype-name" to this chat (example: /add pamela)
Change chat topic to "newtopic" (Example: /topic Holiday Planning)
Leave the chat (does the same as clicking the "Leave" button on toolbar)

Show full history for the chat in the chat window; you can then search and review it
Show full history for the chat in your internet browser; you can then print or save it
Find messages containing "text" in the chat window (Example: /find Sydney)
Repeat last search

Disable new message alerts for this chat. Useful if you don't want the chat window to pop up or the taskbar entry to blink for this chat, but would still like to be "connected" to it. If a chat is in this mode, it will be in the "Unread chats" section on Start Tab after new messages arrive
Restore default behaviour = notify when a new chat message arrives
You are notified only when a message arrives that contains "text" (Example: /alertson hallo)

Bookmark this!List all available chat-window commands

Using Skype as an Internet Connection Indicator

Checking if your internet connection is "live" is not so easy.  Because the pages you browse could be coming from a cache or your connection may be having DNS problems, experts use "ping" for this.  But the green/grey Skype indicator Bookmark this!in the Windows taskbar gives a reliable display if your connection is "up": Internet connected =     Offline =

How to run Skype from a USB stick:

Running Skype from a USB stick - rather than installing it - can be very useful, because this "portable" version allows you to run Skype on any computer. If you are away from your home or office PC, you can plug your USB stick with portable Skype into any computer (internet cafe, office, friends, etc.) without needing to install Skype and use Skype as normal.  Being portable, Skype runs independently without requiring or leaving any information on the host PC.
1. Make a folder named "Skype" and create a "Data" subdirectory
2. Copy the file "skype.exe" into the "Skype" directory (download the latest version for free)
3. In the "Data" subdirectory, create a text file "Skype.bat" containing: skype.exe /datapath:"Data" /removable
Bookmark this!4. Run the program from your USB stick...

Start-up command-line options:

When starting Skype with "Start -> Run" or though clicking a configurable icon, these are the start-up options:
  • "Skype.exe /nosplash" = Don't display the start-up screen.
  • "Skype.exe /minimized" = After starting, Skype runs minimized in the system tray.
  • "Skype.exe /datapath:<Data> /removable" = specify where Skype keeps its data and temporary files.
  • "Skype.exe /callto:<Skype-name> or <Phone-#>" = Call a Skype Name or phone # via SkypeOut.
Bookmark this! "Skype.exe /shutdown" = Log-out, close and shutdown Skype.

Use Skype for free Home/Office Security Monitoring:

To remotely keep an eye on your home or office while you are away, Skype can be set up as a video monitoring system:
1. In the home or office to monitor you will need a computer with internet and a webcam.
2. Create an additional Skype account HERE and log into that account on the monitor computer's Skype.
3. Setup the the monitor computer's Skype to enable the web-cam and auto-answer calls.
Bookmark this!4. To monitor you home or office, call the monitor computer's Skype with your normal Skype - easy!

How to prevent Skype "SuperNodes" from consuming your Internet Bandwidth:

Skype relies on using users' computers as "SuperNodes" to operate its peer-to-peer network, so consuming users' bandwidth.
You can prevent Skype from using your Windows PC as a "SuperNode" by the following procedure:
1. Disable Skype from starting when Windows starts.
2. Disallow Skype modifying your Firewall settings (Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Connections).
3. Enable the Windows XP Firewall and un-check Skype on the "Exceptions" tab.
Bookmark this!See also

Skype Help for People with Disabilities:

Help for people with visual disabilities using Skype:
Bookmark this!E-mail list for visually disabled Skype users:

More technical information:

Background on Skype (Wikipedia, much techie info and links):
Official Skype Release Notes
Skype user and download statistics and independent stats:
Skype user web status indicators:
HIDDEN Skype emoticons:
Multiple Skypes on one PC:
Desktop Sharing:
A professional blog for Skype techies:
A blog on Skype usage and similar statistics:
Read VoIP Textbooks and Guides to unlock the secrets of Voice-over-IP
Test your VoIP:
VoIP News:
Archive: Old versions of Skype

Providers of VoIP and/or Skype-related products and services, on this site!
We are not part of or associated with Skype.  Skype™, SkypeOut™, SkypeIn™, Skype Me, the "Skype" and "S" logos are trademarks of Skype Limited.

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