Installing Skype

In our previous post ,“Skype: Free Video Calling,” we provided an overview of Skype, an internet-based service that allows free audio and video communication. In this post we will step you through the installation process for Skype on a PC running Windows XP. Stay tuned for future posts where we plan to describe how to use Skype.

Here’s how to install Skype on a PC running Windows XP:

You will need the following equipment:

  • Your PC, with built-in speakers and microphone OR with a headset plugged in.
  • (Optional) A video camera, either built-in or attached to your PC.
  • These instructions. Print them out if possible, to make it easier to follow them as you perform the steps.

Downloading the Installer

  1. Using your browser, navigate to
  2. In the window, place your mouse cursor over the words “Get Skype.” A set of choices will appear.

    Navigating to Skype Download Page

  3. Under “Computer,” click on “Windows.” The following screen will appear:

    Skype Download Page

  4. Click “Download Now.” Skype will begin downloading installation software to your computer immediately, and you should see the message “Your download is now in progress” on your screen.

Running the Installer

If you have security software installed on your computer, you may see a message window like this:

Security Warning 1

Click “Run” to enable the Skype Setup installer to do its job.

You may then see another security message like this:

Again, click “Run” to allow the installer to run.

Now the Skype Installer will display the following screen.

Skype Installer

Click the option “I agree – install,” and the installation will begin.

When the installation is done, the following screen will appear:

Done with Installation

Click “Start Skype,” and the Welcome screen will appear.

Setting Up Your Skype Name

A Skype name is like a telephone number: it’s your “address” in the Skype system. Your friends can look up your Skype name by searching for you in the Skype directory, or you can let them know it via email or phone. Once they have it, they can contact you over Skype.

In the next few steps, you’ll choose your Skype name.

On the Welcome screen:

Skype Name

  1. At the bottom of the screen, choose the options you want. (My preference is to leave the first box checked, so that I don’t have to enter my user name and password when I start Skype. However, I uncheck “Start Skype when computer starts,” as I prefer to start it myself.)
  2. Under “Skype Name,” click “Don’t have a Skype name?” The following screen will appear:
  3. Fill in the fields on this screen. (Don’t forget to uncheck the checkbox at the bottom of the screen if you don’t want to receive promotional emails from Skype.)
  4. When you have filled out all the fields, click the box labeled “I agree – create account” (at the bottom of the screen).
  5. If the name you have chosen as your Skype name is already being used by someone else, Skype will display a message that the name is not available. It will also give you a set of alternative names. Choose one of those, or create another one of your own invention.
  6. When done, click “Create account,” and the following screen will appear:

Testing your Installation

If you are using Skype on a laptop computer, the computer probably has a built-in microphone and speakers, but you may prefer to use a headset for better quality audio reception.

If you plan to use a headset, make sure it is connected to your computer before proceeding.

Most headsets typically have two connectors—one for the microphone and one for the headphones. The microphone and headphone connectors are typically color-coded: pink for the microphone, green for the headphones. Connect each to the corresponding port on your computer.

Then test your sound and video, as follows:

Testing Sound and Video

  1. Click the box labeled “Skype Test Call,” to ensure that your audio is working correctly. If it is, you will hear a ringing sound from your computer’s speakers, and you will have a chance to record a message. Skype will then play back your message to you, so that you can verify that both your speakers and your microphone are working correctly.
  2. If you have a video camera, either built-in or attached to your computer, click the button labeled “See my video.” If all is correctly configured, Skype will display a window showing whatever your video camera is currently pointing at.

That’s it! If the last two steps worked, you are ready to begin using Skype. The next thing to do is to use the Skype Directory to find the Skype addresses of your friends, so that you can add them to your Contact list. In the next post we will describe how to find friends and start and end phone calls.

The above instructions were specifically for the operating system that most of our readers use: Windows XP. Other versions of Windows, and other Operating Systems, may differ a little, but all will follow a sequence very like this one. If you need instructions for installing Skype on another type of computer or operating system, let us know in the comments below!

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