back to article Skype pushes out Windows update following massive login glitch

Skype has published an update that provides an easy way for users to log back into the system following a software glitch that resulted in the VoIP service hanging up on users on Thursday. The resulting flood of traffic from confused users also floored Skype's website. The VoIP firm, acquired by Microsoft for an eye-popping $8 …

COMMENTS

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  1. John Latham

    "Fairly technical"

    The manual fix was only "fairly technical" because most of the instructions involved finding a file that Microsoft doesn't want you to see.

    Hidden files, hidden file extensions, hidden folders, variations in user data and app data locations between OS versions. All completely brilliant ideas.

    Imagine an operating system where every user could copy/paste something like

    rm -f ~/Skype/shared.xml

    ...or whatever on to a command line. An operating system of such rigorous simplicity is inconceivable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      "rigorous simplicity"

      You mean like:

      del "%appdata%\Skype\shared.xml"

      Right, sorted.

      1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Start... Run.... cmd...

        You mean Start... Run.... cmd.... first

        1. Blitterbug
          Happy

          WIN+R, cmd?

          Not a Windows user, obv...

      2. kirovs
        Happy

        Nope

        It is longer and has too many weird symbols in it.

    2. Paul Shirley

      remind yourself, does that other OS also have hidden files?

      Would that be the OS that invented hidden files, anything starting with a period not showing up by default?

      If you're going to take the piss out of Microsoft, please try harder to find something they've really cocked up. This is another one they just copied.

    3. Ian Ferguson
      Meh

      Great idea

      except that I don't want to spend my time learning an arcane language just to use my internet device. I just want things to work, or failing that give me a big button to push that says 'fix stuff' (or 'download updates' or whatever)

      Using a command line interface to manage a computer nowadays is a bit like learning how to disassemble an internal combustion engine when all you want to do is get to work. Nothing wrong with it for enthusiasts, but some of us just don't care and want to get on with life.

      1. Apocalypse Later

        Ah, but...

        ...some of us learned the command line first, and were initially a bit pissed at having to adapt to the GUI forced upon us by the common man's limitations.

    4. westlake
      Pint

      It isn't that simple at all.

      >>The manual fix was only "fairly technical" because most of the instructions involved finding a file that Microsoft doesn't want you to see. Imagine an operating system where every user could copy/paste something like

      rm -f ~/Skype/shared.xml

      ...or whatever on to a command line. An operating system of such rigorous simplicity is inconceivable.<<

      Most of Skype's 640 million users - like all but a tiny fraction of world's 1.5 billion or so PC users - have little or no understanding of the grammar and syntax of the command line.

      They cannot be expected to know if you have framed the argument correctly or how much damage will be done if you have made a mistake.

      What they will know is that you won't be there to fix things when they go south.

    5. Old Handle

      Partly agree

      Hiding file extensions is a completely horrible idea, I'll give you that. But other aspects of the app data storage setup used in modern versions of Windows actually seem designed to make it more similar to Unix/Linux, albeit in a somewhat clumsy way. The main difference is that in *nix you HAVE to know how stuff like this works, whereas Windows hides gory details too well for the user's own good sometimes.

    6. Doug Glass
      Go

      Ahhhhhhh, ...

      ... a Lumuxbuoy

  2. Skoorb
    Windows

    Command Line

    For windows that would be:

    del /f %appdata%\skype\shared.xml

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Command Line

      I think you'll find that will fail in many cases (XP, by default, perhaps not Vista and later) with an error "The system cannot find the path specified."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Downvoter

        So, whoever downvoted me, give the command

        del /f %appdata%\skype\shared.xml

        as written a try under XP and report back. It requires double-quotes around the path to trap spaces, as would be the case in any default XP installation since %appdata% expands to

        C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data

        It also does not require the /f since the file in question is not read-only therefore doesn't need a force delete, but it doesn't hurt so...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    So silly to blame MS already

    I think its funny that people think MS could have already made changes to Skype when they just bought it.

    Sillyness

    1. as2003

      True

      Skype has always been shit. I can't believe a program with such a huge global user base can be so poorly constructed, and evidently have such poor QA controls.

      Love the way their website claims this affects a "small number of users", when every other news outlet describes it (correctly) as a serious global outage.

      1. Walking Turtle
        Coat

        (music) That's about the size/where you put your eyes/that's about the size of it! (dance)

        ..."their website claims this affects a "small number of users", when every other news outlet describes it (correctly) as a serious global outage."

        18,234,252 users compared to the global Human Population of ~6,894,522,000 amounts to precisely 0.002644744914875897125 - which makes for a mere 0.26% (well OK, 0.3% if we must Round Up per standard practice) of the World Population at this writing. Truly a Very Tiny Number indeed, now innit? (Sources = http://galen.metapath.org/popclk.html and the "Users Online" number at the bottom of my Skype app's frame BTW fwiw)

        So anyway, mine's the one with the Entire Universe all Boiled Down to the Size of a BB in the pocket, though I forget which pocket; just look for the light leaking out and that's the one...

        Sorted nonetheless! And that is all! 0{:-)o<

  4. Rippy
    Windows

    Fairly Technical?

    > The manual fix was only "fairly technical" because most of the instructions involved finding a file that Microsoft doesn't want you to see.

    Of course not, silly boy. If you could see it, you might change it and corrupt the application.

    That's our job.

  5. NoneSuch
    Linux

    Give MS some credit

    The bat file with the "del /f %appdata%\skype\shared.xml" command was only a 43.2 MB download.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    software glitch?

    I don't understand how a software glitch at the server end could cause a peer-to-peer system to fall over. Once the call is set up all it takes is moving packets from one IP address to another. All the servers need do is maintain a telephone book, a DNS for VOIP services.

    1. Patrick O'Reilly
      Linux

      And cross platform

      What really surprised me was that it wasn't just Window's that was effected, it was Mac and GNU/Linux too.

    2. Lee Dowling Silver badge
      FAIL

      Er

      Troll... because the servers were fine. It was a bad CLIENT update that sent things dolally for those users with "Auto-update" turned on. E.g. My Skype was fine all yesterday.

      1. Martijn Otto
        Thumb Down

        Re: Er

        A client update? It happened on a linux system too and the only way to get that to update is to tell aptitude to do so. The servers instructed the client to do something that was cached in shared.xml before crashing the client.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Skype encryption cracked

    Modern computational linguistics can crack the encryption on VOIP calls well enough to reconstruct what is being said. Even though they are encrypted, the frames that make up a Skype call contain clues about what phonemes are being spoken ..

    http://www.i-programmer.info/news/149-security/2487-cracking-a-skype-call-using-phonemes.html

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: Skype encryption cracked

      Try telling us something we didn't know:

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/26/bypassing_skype_crypto/

  8. XMAN

    Skype is decent

    Not sure why people are bashing Skype so hard. I'm a big fan. I've never had any problems with it on Mac and it's still working despite this suposed glitch that some of you are experiencing.

    @Skype encryption cracked: Same thing goes for most VOIP networks. Just that Skype is singled out because they're so popular.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Oh, people... please!

    I forget where it is, but Windows explorer can be told to display hidden/system files.

    There is absolutely no need to panic over the prospect of facing a bare, black rectangle that just says

    C:\ >

    everytime you press return. No need at all.

    There... Feeling better now?

    (Nice to see some new icons: thanks, El Reg)

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. BozNZ
      WTF?

      Chill out..

      Life's far too short for that attitude

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Paid $8.5

    So Microsoft pays $8.5bn and the installer still pushes installer for Google Chrome.

  12. Antoinette Lacroix

    Hm

    "What really surprised me was that it wasn't just Window's that was effected, it was Mac and GNU/Linux to."

    I'm still running the last OSS Version (2.0.72) on FreeBSD and wasn't affected. Looks like the latest updates were a bit flaky. I wonder for how long we can use Skype on 'Nix anyway, now that MS owns it. Lets hope they're not trying to 'enhance user experience' (TM) anytime soon.

  13. LochAwe
    Stop

    Depends on your definition of "technical."

    I mainly use Skype for video chat with my father, who's 88 years old and several thousand miles away. He doesn't understand computers and he never will. Nor does he want to have to learn about them. He quite literally does not have the time to learn about hidden system files, command lines, etc. He's got better things to do with his time. Nobody who lives near him would have the expertise to do the original fix mentioned in the article, either. I'd be the one doing it remotely via TeamViewer.

    Lots of people use Skype to keep in touch with elderly relatives who, like my Dad, are extremely intelligent but simply don't have the computer skills required to do much more than click a familiar icon or two. Anything out of their comfort zone, especially a process involving looking for a hidden file or something like that, basically means they're just not going to be able to use the program until someone else performs the fix for them.

    And the end result, and the only thing that really matters to them, is that they don't get to talk to or see their kids or grandkids until the problem is fixed. And their kids or grandkids don't get to talk to them, either.

    So a "one-click" fix is precisely what's needed in this instance.

  14. N13L5

    Skype calls getting worse every day for the last week, it seems

    I did get the new update.

    I talk to my wife and child over skype every day for 2 hours since January.

    However, since about a week, we keep getting our calls disconnected non-stop. We can still type chat messages, but mostly our video calls cut out after less than 2 minutes.

    I think today our session consisted of 40+ individual 1-3 minute calls.

    Add to that, that she had been online typing messages to me for 30 minutes, before they all arrived in one shot in my skype client.

    So, this update doesn't seem to cut it. Its so bad, i'm thinking of using Yahoo next time.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skype is a pile of steaming Cow Dung..

    Tried Skype went down for a week or more few years back. Moved to voipfone never used Skpye since, its a pile of steaming Cow Dung...

  16. Stephen Jeffrey
    FAIL

    Skype borked again

    Hmm - looks like Skype is borked globally once again.

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