Skype voice service crashes; users offered fix instructions

With some users unable to sign into Skype and make voice calls, the soon-to-be-acquired-by-Microsoft company offered users a multi-step fix to get its service running again.

The fixes center around deleting a "shared.xml" file, but Mac and Linux users will be able to solve the problem in fewer steps than Windows users.

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Skype updated its status page Thursday, noting "problems signing into Skype and making calls for a small number of users."

Although Skype is not yet technically part of Microsoft, which is spending $8.5 billion in a deal pending regulatory approval, the outage fueled more criticism of the acquisition.

"Seems like #skype crash is global. Now you know it's a #Microsoft product," one person on Twitter wrote.

The Inquirer, a tech publication, wrote "Voice Over IP (VoIP) and chat service Skype has crashed throughout the world and continues to crash on login, leading many to suspect that its recent acquisition by Microsoft is a definite disaster."

While it's probably a bit early to say whether the acquisition will be a success or failure, let's take a look at the fix Skype offered to users.

Initially, Skype offered a 12-step fix to Windows users and a four-step fix to Mac and Linux users. But the fix was updated to be a bit simpler.

For Windows, it goes like this:

1. Click Start, type run and press Enter. (On Windows XP: Click Start and then Run.)

2. Type the following and click OK: %appdata%\skype

3. Locate and delete the file shared.xml.

4. If you cannot find this file:

1. Click Start, type run and press Enter. (On Windows XP: Click Start and then Run.)Type the

2. following and click OK: control folders

3. In the View tab, ensure that Show hidden files and folders is enabled.

4. Repeat steps 1-3. Restart Skype.

The Mac fix is easier: "Open Finder and locate the following folder: ~/Library/Application Support/Skype. Delete the file shared.xml. Restart Skype."

The Linux fix is almost identical, perhaps not surprising given that Apple's Mac operating system is based on Unix.

Skype's Twitter feed said an "easier solution is coming soon!"

Although Skype's fix instructions indicate there is clearly some trouble with the service, Skype's main status page claimed sign in and registration are "all working normally."

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

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