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Summary:

If you are like me you have come to depend on Skype for easy, free communications with friends and colleagues. Skype has become a simple way to chat or call any of your contacts and carry on discussions, no matter where the two (or more) parties […]

If you are like me you have come to depend on Skype for easy, free communications with friends and colleagues. Skype has become a simple way to chat or call any of your contacts and carry on discussions, no matter where the two (or more) parties might reside in the world. Skype recently released a new beta version, 2.0, that adds video capability, among other promised goodies like better audio quality. Sucker that I am for new versions, this morning I downloaded and installed the new beta version. Big mistake.

One of the neat features that Skype added a few versions back was storing your contacts on the Skype servers so no matter what device you log in from all the people you want to chat with are right there where you need them. This has saved me a ton of trouble since I test a lot of PCs and devices and I never have to worry about finding all my contacts online again. But I found today this can be a bit of a gotcha that I didn’t plan on.

Installing the new Skype beta was simple and once done it asked me to log in to my account which I did. Unfortunately, Skype told me my password was incorrect and wouldn’t let me into my account. Bear in mind this is the same password I have used since installing the very first beta version of Skype several years ago. So I was stumped at this point and unable to get into my account. No problem, I thought, I’ll request a password change and when I get into the account I’ll change it back. This is where it gets really dicey and long-time Skype users should pay particular attention. To change my password Skype asked for my Skype ID and the email account I used to register Skype for the very first time, which in my case was years ago. I ran through every email address I use now and when those didn’t work I started trying old email addresses I have used in the past (companies I used to work for and organizations I no longer belong to) before hitting on the correct one. It was an old email address I used when I was sys admin on the now defunct PocketPC Tools web site. I thought I was OK at this point and that it would let me into my account to reset the password. Nope, silly me for thinking that. Skype informed me it had successfully reset my password and the new password had been emailed to the old email address. The problem is, this web site has long since shut down and that email address is no longer valid. So I am hosed at this point.

I traipsed around the Skype help web site where I found the only option I have is to “open another account under a different user name”. What? To do this means I lose all my prepaid credits for SkypeIn and Out, Voicemail, etc. But the very worst part is losing all my contacts. Dozens and dozens of them. I have to notify each and every one of them that my Skype ID has changed and to please let me see when they are online so they will get added to my new account. This is frankly unacceptable. I have submitted a support ticket to Skype customer support and received an automated reply that said I would receive a reply within 48 hours, unless it takes longer. I swear that’s what it says.

I am the first to admit that it is not Skype’s fault that my old email address is no longer valid, but I’ll bet many Skype users have the same situation. Do you remember what email address you used to register Skype the first time? That problem aside it is definitely Skype’s fault that the new version installation would not recognize my tried and true password, that one I still don’t understand. Until I get some resolution from Skype customer support I will be using the following Skype ID so if you were in my contact list please add me so I can see you on Skype:

jkontherun

I really apologize for this inconvenience and I hope this is temporary as I shudder to think I will lose my original Skype ID. Shame on you, Skype.

I should add that this situation with Skype is what scares me about web-based applications and data storage. I can easily see a similar situation where you are blocked out of your data for a day or two until it gets straightened out. Can you imagine needing to access your own data stored on the web and not being able to?

  1. Ouch. I had a similar thing happen back when I did the full reinstall. Like a fool I neglected to copy down any of my Skype info. When I reinstalled Skype I had fogotten the user name I set up. At the time I used it very infrequently. Marc Orchant came to the resuce with what the user name was and I was back up thank goodness, but, I got the same, you have to create a new account approach as well.

    Not fun.

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  2. I feel your pain. I’m currently going through a similar situation with my yahoo account. I run the risk of losing my email as well as the 6 domain name I registed with them. The people at flickr were nice enough to unlink my account though, yay for them..

    Not fun at all.

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  3. Oh no! Yuck. On the bright side I upgraded to the skype beta last week and today I borrowed a little camera and the video part worked without a hitch. Small screen but that may not be that bad a thing :-) Olga

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  4. JK, I’ve done exactly the same thing – so it’s not just you. I think that Skype 2.0 is doing something weird with passwords, as a new install of it refused to let me in with my regular password. So I did the same as you – reset my password, and then remembered it’s linked to an old, dead email address. Ouch. Let’s hope they can sort this out.

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  5. I had no trouble with the upgrade to Skype 2.0 beta, but it may be because I just did a regular uninstall and didn’t wipe out all Skype data on my computer as someone more careful might have done, or because I signed up only weeks before installing beta 2. I didn’t use any email address when setting up my account, but I added one now, using a special purpose address that I control.

    JK: Are you saying that the email address on your “My Profile” screen wouldn’t be the one that Skype would use and that they would insist on the first email address you ever used? Or is it just that you can’t get into your “My Profile” screen to see the listed address? If it is the latter you would be saved if you could find an installed copy of Skype somewhere that has your account information – you could also change your password directly from such an installed copy.

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  6. Mickey, the email address in your profile has nothing to do with the address used to register Skype in the first place. Many people did not supply an email address when first registering Skype (they didn’t require it) and according to Skype’s customer support FAQ if you ever get locked out due to password problems you MUST get a totally new account. In a Googling session earlier I encountered this blog post and comment thread that may be related:

    http://www.skypejournal.com/blog/archives/2005/11/skype_passwords_compromised_1.php

    This details a password comprise problem Skype notified some users on November 30th. They did it via email and it looked like a phish attempt so many people trashed it. According to this article the official Skype response said password problems only affected 1% of Skype users. Last I checked the Skype web site (which is right now) they are claiming over 215 million downloads. That 1% is over 2 MILLION potential people with problems. I am amazed this hasn’t hit the tech news big time.

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