Skype VoIP Download Information & User Guide

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Free Skype VoIP Phone CallsFor help with installing and using Skype see the detailed instructions, hints and links below.

FREE: Download the Skype "EasyGuide" Booklet and read how to get the most out of Skype!

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What is "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 as well as providing 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!Note: It is not spelt Skypie, Skpye, Skyppe, Skipe, Scipe, Skaip, Skaipie or VIOP...
What do I need to use "Skype"?
1.  A computer running Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X or Linux.
2.  A headphone/microphone head-set - look for Skype-compatible head-sets on, find head-set bargains on eBay or use the built-in
     microphone and speaker if you have a laptop, but check out these independent product reviews first!
3.  An internet connection, preferably broadband; a 56k modem gives lower quality phone calls.
4.  The Skype software - free download from Skype

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

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 at least $15 of "SkypeOut" credit into your Skype account. This is not required if you only
     want to call other Skype users.
     Buying Skype credit is secure & reliable, but to ensure safer browsing we recommend: .
Bookmark this!     Mastercard and Visa are OK, but a free PayPal account is the easiest and safest payment method!
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 buy your own SkypeIn "landline" number in 20 countries that will ring in on Skype on your PC.

And what can't Skype do?
This is COOL: Get your own US Toll Free phone number for only $9.99 per month!!!
If you don't want to use a PC for your phone calls: . If you want to send and receive faxes from your PC, click here for a FREE 30-day trial of the RingCentral Complete Internet Fax Service - $7.99/month, no fax machine needed!
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:
Skype inputAfter 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, microphone and speakers.  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 Bookmark this! that test message back to you.

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.
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 web-cam. 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
Bookmark this!given. The "Sent: dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm" record in the "History" tab is the only reliable confirmation that the SMS was sent.

Skype for Business:
The Skype Business Control Panel is a free tool for managing calls in your business. It enables central management of your account usage and
Bookmark this!SkypeIn numbers and produces expenditure reports with allocation to employees/cost centres.
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.
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 Charles Oldman, 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.
More cool features and sites:
The VoIP Skype FREE download site:
Get Skype phone bargains on eBay.
Get "Skype for Dummies", "VoIP for Dummies" and other books from
Skype support web site
Skype-compatible phone handsets:
Send and receive faxes anywhere in the worldwide for $7.99/month: RingCentral Fax! (30-day free trial)
Reverse Phone Number Lookup      Free Nextel Ringtones      Find your Lost Cell Phone

Skype Security
Make Skype secure:
It is preferable to exclude your personal data (birthdate, sex, 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.
● To prevent constant taskbar notifications as people go online/offline, go to Skype -> Tools -> Options -> Notifications and unclick "Display Notifi-
Bookmark this!   cation in the Windows tray when someone..." -> "... comes online"! 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.

Skype Technical Information and Resources - for Advanced Users
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).
Bookmark this!3. Enable the Windows XP Firewall and un-check Skype on the "Exceptions" tab.
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:
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:
Get VoIP textbooks from
Test your VoIP:
VoIP News:
How to prevent Skype "SuperNodes" from guzzling bandwidth:
Archive: Old versions of Skype

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