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Whether it’s at work or in the home, Skype has become a tool that many of us use on a daily basis. While there have certainly been some snafus along the way Should You Change Your Skype Password to Avoid a Spam Attack? Should You Change Your Skype Password to Avoid a Spam Attack? Complaints have been made to Microsoft that some Skype accounts are messaging diet pill and pornographic spam to contacts. Microsoft is now asking users to change their passwords, but what is behind this apparent breach? Read More , the service today generally offers a convenient and reliable video calling experience for the bargain price of free.

However, the development of the core functionality of Skype has led to some unpopular changes to its user interface. For one, the fact that it’s offered as a free service has necessitated advertising to be used to turn a profit. Second, the very layout of the program has been drastically changed, perhaps as part of a larger effort by Microsoft to make Windows 10 a haven for hybrids What Are 2-In-1 Laptops and How to Pick the Best One? What Are 2-In-1 Laptops and How to Pick the Best One? 2-in-1 laptops combine the portability of tablets with the ergonomics of a laptop, but are they any good? Is it better to get a tablet and a laptop separately? We explore. Read More .

The good news is that there are methods of customizing Skype that will make it ad-free and more space-efficient. Follow this guide, and you’ll cut down on much of the extraneous content filling up your display.

Blocking Skype Ads

Unfortunately, there’s no option to remove ads from Skype within the app itself. To reclaim that all-important screen real estate Too Much Screen Space? 6 Ways To Use Your Multiple Monitor Mac Setup Too Much Screen Space? 6 Ways To Use Your Multiple Monitor Mac Setup So you set your Mac up with a second monitor, which was really exciting – but now you've no idea what to do with all that space. Read More , we will have to prevent the software from making the necessary Internet connection to download the content. However, if executed correctly, this shouldn’t interfere with your ability to make calls using Skype.

Open up the Control Panel and navigate to Network and Internet > Internet Options. Move to the Security tab, click on Restricted Sites and open the Sites dialog with the button underneath.

block sites

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Next you’ll need to add two websites to the list of restricted addresses: apps.skype.com and g.msn.com. Once that’s done, you can save your changes by clicking Apply and close the window with OK.

Remove the Ad Placeholder

Even though you’ve prevented the Skype application from pulling ads from the Internet Which Android App Is Displaying Popup Ads? Which Android App Is Displaying Popup Ads? Do you have ads popping up on your Android device? Figure out how to get rid of them for good. Read More , you may still find a placeholder section of its interface reserved for the content. To remedy that, you’ll need to dip into the software’s configuration files.

To access the configuration files, navigate to the primary hard drive on your computer in an Explorer window and go to Users > Your Username > AppData > Roaming > Skype. You’ll then need to open the folder that’s titled with your Skype ID and find an XML file called config. Right-click that file and choose to open it with Notepad.

skype config file

Press Ctrl + F to use the Find function to search for AdvertPlaceholder. You should find a piece of code that reads <AdvertPlaceholder>1</AdvertPlaceholder> — change that 1 to a 0 and you will remove the placeholder from your Skype interface. Save the document and restart Skype for the changes to take effect.

Clear Up the Default Layout

Recent redesigns to the Skype UI, particularly the Windows version, have been widely criticized by users as a step backwards. Many would argue that the previous iteration made efficient usage of the program 10 Tips To Make You a More Efficient Skype User 10 Tips To Make You a More Efficient Skype User Skype can do more than you think. With this article, you'll learn all about its best hidden and advanced features. It's the Skype productivity manual. Read More  much easier, and unfortunately it’s not possible to revert to that version. However, there are a few layout options that you can tweak to make better use of the space available.

The first change to make is switching to a more condensed contact list by opening the View dropdown menu and selecting Compact Sidebar View. This removes much of the dead space taken up by your contacts, getting rid of their avatars and placing their names much closer together as a result. While the standard view seems to have been designed with hybrid devices in mind, the compact view makes more sense for usage with a more traditional PC.

compact view

If that doesn’t slim Skype down enough for your needs, it’s well worth trying out Split Window View. This separates the standard Skype home screen from your contacts list, treating the pair as two distinct windows. As a result, you can close the home screen and simply have a contact list window active. You can enable this option in the View menu.

contact list

As well as minimizing the contact list, other options can change the way that chat windows are presented to you. To access them, open up the Tools dropdown menu and select Options.

Open the IM & SMS section and click on IM Appearance, then tick the box that reads Compact Chat View. With this option enabled, your text chats will not display avatars, and text and other UI elements will be condensed down. As a result, you’ll be able to display more content in a smaller window, reserving more screen space for other applications running at the same time.

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As Microsoft is embracing the Software as a Service model Windows 10 Is the Last Version of Windows. Ever. Windows 10 Is the Last Version of Windows. Ever. Microsoft is sick of you not upgrading, and has a solution: Windows 10 will be the final "version" of Windows. Ever. This could mean that you will never again have to buy Windows. Read More , they are increasingly integrating ads in their free products. Skype is no exception. Even Windows 10 has seen ad-like content How to Ban Windows 10 Ads & NSFW Content from Your Desktop How to Ban Windows 10 Ads & NSFW Content from Your Desktop Windows 10 may be crossing a line with desktop ads and NSFW content. Microsoft and third-party developers can push promotional material directly onto your desktop. We show you how you can defend yourself. Read More .

Where else have you spotted annoying ads in software? Do you have a tip or a request for making the most out of the Skype UI or the program in general? Share your advice and questions with other users in the comments section below.

  1. Anna
    November 14, 2016 at 8:48 am

    I have a feeling something has changed recently because after months of this working this morning I got an add when logging in. In the blank space where there was previously a loading circle there was now an ad.

    I checked and all the settings are still as described here.

    Thanks!

  2. Karma
    October 15, 2016 at 1:12 am

    Thanks. This worked like a charm. Ads no more or even the placeholder. :)

  3. Diana
    October 14, 2016 at 5:43 am

    Thank you very much, easy to follow instructions and works perfectly.

  4. anon
    October 11, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you!

  5. Geoffrey Gordon
    October 4, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Worked perfectly. Thanks

  6. A Denis
    August 31, 2016 at 5:35 am

    NOT WORKING...

  7. Lochlan
    August 9, 2016 at 9:11 am

    its nice, skype home doesn't work any more though, but it's not much off a loss

  8. LogixTree
    August 1, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you. Very Useful.

  9. Abhi
    July 21, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Superb Guide... Nice job... Super Thanks

  10. John Bravo
    July 13, 2016 at 3:34 am

    any guide on how to do this on mac os?

  11. hurrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
    July 8, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    THANK YOU IT WASNT A VIRUS!!!

    • Tina Sieber
      July 8, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      Why would it have been a virus?

      • Xeno
        July 20, 2016 at 6:38 pm

        Some "viruses" (adware) make ads pop up everywhere.

  12. Xalo
    July 5, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Awesome! Thanks!

  13. Adry
    June 30, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    very very useful! Thanks!!!

  14. dwaipayan sarkar
    June 30, 2016 at 8:31 am

    not worked in windows 7 ultimate skype latest versions 7.25.0.123 ,everytime i change 1 to 0 and save but while i restart skype it automatically changes to 1 to default and as it the same annoying ads ,the system is not taking to change 1 to o ,not working man ,find some other technique?

    • Tina Sieber
      July 8, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      That's odd. Do you have some kind of system restore on reboot enabled? Are you the owner / administrator of this computer?

    • Nightwing
      July 20, 2016 at 6:29 am

      right-click on the file and select 'read only' in one of the tabs

  15. Corina
    June 29, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Awesome! Thank you so much!

  16. Brett
    June 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Bam! Totally removed it. Great tutorial. Got an ad from Nordstrom or something with a girl in her underwear - don't want to see that crap! Thanks for this!

    • Tina Sieber
      June 27, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      Thank you for the feedback, Brett. Great to hear this still works! :)

  17. Anoop Kumar
    June 24, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Thanks ton, It really helped...

  18. Ankur
    June 21, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks a Ton.
    I got rid from filthy adds.

  19. myhero
    June 21, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Thank you!

  20. Mindy
    June 19, 2016 at 5:07 am

    Amazing. Worked perfectly. Thank you very much for these instructions.

    • Tina Sieber
      June 27, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      In the name of the editor behind the idea: You're welcome, Mindy. Glad it worked!

  21. Jeroen
    June 18, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Thanks! Great! Keep up the good work

  22. WMG
    June 16, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Great article. It works.

  23. Den
    June 15, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Amazing article. Thank you for taking time to share. Saved my brain and attention from annoying adds.

    • Tina Sieber
      June 27, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      So good to hear this is working and helping people. Thank you for the feedback, Den.

  24. #Lucky
    June 12, 2016 at 7:03 am

    This is awesome. Totally worked for me.

  25. SlicEnDicE
    May 30, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Editing the XML does not work anymore in Skype v7.24.0.104. Even if the settings.xml is writeprotected, the ad-placeholders keeps existing. Seems this part of the setting is programmed in to the Skype executable itself...or there is a cache file or a setting in one of the databases somewhere I'm not aware of.

    I hate ads smacked up my face while working, if I'd want them I'd subscribe to a newsletter filled with ads. (NOT going to happen, EVER!)

    • CapoFantasma97
      June 1, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      You have to use the first option (blocking the site), then modify the XML.
      To apply the changes however I had to restart Skype.

      • Tina Sieber
        June 27, 2016 at 6:09 pm

        Thank you for helping our readers troubleshoot, Capo - much appreciated! And it's good to hear this is still working.

  26. AJlol
    May 24, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Just a little something to add, after you change AdvertPlaceholder, there is also another line labeled AdvertEastRailsEnabled. Not sure if changing that helps, but something key to remember Skype will sometimes revert these values. To stop that from happening right click the config.xml file click Properties, and set the file to Read-Only.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 31, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Great tip, thank you AJ!

    • A V
      June 15, 2016 at 4:08 am

      Worked after removing AdvertEastRailsEnabled. :)

  27. Parvathy
    May 9, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Worked! thanks

  28. Isobel
    April 27, 2016 at 3:00 am

    in order to make the most out of skype AND a small or split screen; would you know if it'll be possible to reduce the side bar (other than 'compact sidebar view' that would actually reduce the space allowed in the sidebar (contract or crop names and other features). That would be really useful!

  29. Soki
    March 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    This method actually worked; I'm surprised. :P Thanks!

  30. Super Roxxapo
    February 5, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you so much! I'm really not a fan of intrusive ads like Skype has... or HAD thanks to your guide!

    Nah, but for real, thanks.

  31. Trigger
    January 31, 2016 at 1:34 am

    This simply doesn't work, and frankly hasn't worked for some time. Editing config.xml has zero effect on Skype's UI. For starters, when Skype is restarted, it resets anything that's been altered in config.xml, including the value of AdvertPlaceholder. If config.xml is altered and set to read-only, Skype STILL displays the ad placeholder after restart, even though the value of AdvertPlaceholder hasn't been reset from 0 to 1.

    Editing config.xml worked months ago, but it doesn't work now and hasn't worked for a while.

    • Mark
      February 3, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      I just tried it and it worked, even after restart. My AdvertPlaceholder setting stayed at 0. I am on 7.18.0.109

    • Mark
      February 3, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      Also my advert space is no longer on the top of the skpe window as it was when the value was 1

    • Merlin
      February 27, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      @Trigger: You might want to try starting notepad with elevated permission. To do this right click the notepad icon and select "Run as administrator". You can then open the config.xml and edit and the changes will stay put. This is what worked for me. Hope it helps you too.

      • Halo
        March 6, 2016 at 9:14 pm

        @Trigger @Merlin Or you could use Notepad++ like a sane person. XD

    • Murdoc
      May 4, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      I agree with this, I don't even have a "roaming" folder on my computer. I have Skype version 7.23.xx and it's frustrating that i can't get rid of the ads. In the config.xml file, there isn't even a "AdvertPlaceHolder" entry. Which version of Skype was this article tested with? Can you post screenshots with the latest version of Skype?

    • Cookiez21
      May 20, 2016 at 4:21 am

      You have to set the config file to "Read Only" and the program cant change the file.

    • Thomas
      May 22, 2016 at 3:25 am

      make the file read only via properties.

    • SlicEnDicE
      May 30, 2016 at 11:21 am

      I can confirm that on Skype v7.24.0.104 changing the settings.xml and write-protecting it, does nothing anymore. I guess it's time to switch chat client to something less intrusive, or even write my own in assembly for better performance ;-)

      When Skype was still Skype and not MS Skype all was great, awesome actually, now it has only taken steps backwards, for each version, ever since.

  32. Jonas
    January 27, 2016 at 4:40 am

    On the latest version of Skype, which I just downloaded today, I'm still left with a spinning blue circle with a lot of white space on the right side of my screen.

    Thoughts?

    • Alex
      February 1, 2016 at 12:28 am

      2016.01.31 Spinning circle is Skype trying to pull down its home page which we blocked by restricting access to apps.skype.com. Just click on contacts or start a conversation, and it's gone. Ads are blocked all right as per instructions. Thanks to the author!

      • Alex
        February 1, 2016 at 12:32 am

        Forgot to mention: after restarting Skype config.xml stays with 0 all right. I didn't even have to change it to read-only.

        • Ben
          February 4, 2016 at 5:48 am

          I used this method months ago, but I would like that home page with my friends' statuses back. However, there is no 'ads.skype.com' or anything similar in my blocked sites?

      • dadadadadad
        February 23, 2016 at 11:48 pm

        this isnt working..

  33. Ed Jones
    December 30, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Easy to follow and works 100%. Thanks man.

  34. Tom Barrister
    December 28, 2015 at 5:00 am

    Well written. Thanks.

  35. Artur
    December 26, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    no more ads ;) thanks

  36. Tnargav
    December 12, 2015 at 11:08 am

    What I also did to make the layout look more even is to set other settings to 0 too:

    41892
    0
    0 582
    0
    0

    Now the width is spread across the chat window and input box is in the middle.

    Cheers for the tips.

  37. S.E.A.R
    December 8, 2015 at 3:58 am

    excellent stuff, worked 100% exactly as stated 10/10 would pass on advice

  38. Pratap Bhat
    December 7, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Thank you! This was very useful.

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