Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Latest Ain't Always the Greatest

Yesterday, for reasons I cannot explain myself, I upgraded my Skype (for Windows) from version 4.0 to the latest version 4.2. In about an hour, I noticed that it didn't ring if my speakers were off. I definitely did not like it because, unless I am listening to something or watching a video, I try to keep them off. I thought that my setting Ring PC speaker had gotten cleared during the upgrade. I was in for a surprise: the option was not even there.

I downgraded to 3.8, which I had saved on my hard drive, but it was too ugly.

So, if you want your PC speaker to ring, but you refuse to put up with the ugly interface of version 3.8, here is the solution:
  1. Start Skype and make sure that all the checkboxes related to automatic upgrades/updates under Tools => Options => Advanced settings are cleared.
  2. Download the latest available build of version 4.1. I downloaded Skype from
  3. Scan the downloaded file with an anti-virus just in case.
  4. Uninstall Skype 4.2.
  5. Install Skype 4.1.
  6. Start Skype and check the checkbox Ring PC speaker under Tools => Options => General => Audio settings.
  7. Check again that the checkboxes under Tools => Options => Advanced settings => When a new version of Skype is available... are cleared.
  8. Enjoy.

In the future,
  • if you feel the urge to upgrade, first ask yourself why;
  • if there is a valid reason to upgrade, do not upgrade from inside Skype; download the installation file instead;
  • make sure you have the installation file of the version you are currently running in case you need to revert back (bear in mind that you may or may not be able to revert as smoothly as described above).

On a more "philosophical" level, the moral is that, when it comes to software, always be conservative. Never assume that the latest is the greatest. And, yes, don't fix it if it ain't broken.

P.S. Since this post was published, I have successfully downgraded Skype from version 5.x to 4.1 and 4.2 several times.

UPDATE (August 4, 2014): Until today, I have been successfully evading Microsoft's extremely sneaky attempts to upgrade my Skype 4.2. Now they won't even let you sign in with an old version of Skype anymore. The error message says either "We've signed you out because you're using an outdated version of Skype. Download the latest version now." or something really bizarre like "Skype is no longer available for your operating system. To use Skype sign in to your account from one of the supported systems." The latter shows up only if you run Skype 4.x on Windows 7. Skype 4.x on Windows XP still runs fine, at least for now.

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