Most of the time, Skype just works – but every now and then you’ll run into a snag and Skype does not work. These six troubleshooting steps will solve most common Skype problems, whether your microphone isn’t working or the other person sounds like a robot.
Problems with Skype may not even be on your end — the Skype infrastructure may be experiencing problems or your conversation partner may have their system configured incorrectly. If you’re still experiencing problems after following these steps, be sure to ask the person you’re speaking to to go over these steps — the problem could be on their end.
First thing’s first: If you can’t connect or use a specific Skype feature, check the Skype heartbeat page. You can access this page by clicking the Help menu in Skype and selecting Heartbeat (Skype Status), or by visiting heartbeat.skype.com in your web browser.
The heartbeat page informs you of Skype’s system status – if there are any problems with Skype’s infrastructure, you’ll see them here. If there is a problem, wait for Skype to fix it and try connecting later.
You can test your microphone and speakers from the Audio Settings panel in Skype’s Options window – open the Options window by clicking Tools and Options.
To test your microphone, speak into it – you should see the green volume bar under Microphone move.
If you don’t see the volume bar move, click the microphone drop-down box and select another microphone device. Keep trying different devices until you see the volume slider move when you talk.
Test your speakers in the same way by clicking the green play button to the right of the speakers device. You should hear the Skype call sound. If you don’t, select a different device from the Speakers drop-down box and try again.
If playing with the options on the Audio settings panel doesn’t help, examine the hardware itself. Some microphones and headsets have volume sliders or mute switches on their cords – you could have accidentally moved the slider or flipped the switch.
Also check to make sure that the microphone and speakers are plugged into the correct port. USB microphones can be plugged into any standard USB slot, while analog microphones must be connected to the correct sound jack. The microphone jack is usually the pink one, although different audio hardware may sometimes use different colors.
If you’re using a desktop computer and the microphone doesn’t work when it’s plugged into the sound jack at the front of the tower, try the sound jack at the back of the computer.
Assuming you have a webcam, you can configure it from the Video settings pane in Skype’s options window. If your webcam is connected and you don’t see it in this window, you may need to install drivers for it. Drivers can usually be downloaded from your webcam or computer manufacturer’s website.
Check out our guide to troubleshooting Skype video problems for more information.
If everything seems to be configured properly, try a test call. One way you can perform a test call is by clicking the “Make a free test call” link at the bottom of the Audio settings window.
You can also add the Skype user named echo123 to your contacts list and place test calls from there.
The call testing service will ask you to speak into your microphone after a beep. It records your call and, after a few seconds, plays your message back to you. This ensures that everything is working properly – your microphone, speakers, and the network connection. If the call worked properly, you should be good to go – if you can’t hear another person on Skype, it’s probably a problem on their end.
If you – or anyone else on your network – is overloading your network bandwidth with bandwidth-intensive tasks like downloading files over BitTorrent or other peer-to-peer networks, you’ll experience poor call quality. One of the obvious signs of network congestion is robotic-sounding voices.
Close any file-downloading programs – both on your computer and on other computers on the network – and try placing the Skype call again.
Check out our guide to fixing low-quality audio in Skype for more information.
You can also get more troubleshooting tips from the call quality guide integrated into Skype. Click the Help menu and select Call Quality Guide to open it.