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May 27 2011

Fix Those Constant Skype Crashes

Over the last couple of days a lot of people have been encountering issues with trying to sign into Skype with either their client crashing almost immediately upon sign in or shortly thereafter. This has affected not only Windows clients but also Mac and Linux clients as well.

Fortunately, Skype has released an update for Windows in the last day whilst Mac and Linux client must still rely upon a manual process to delete a file from their computers. Specific instructions can be found here if you are using Skype on one of those platform.

So what caused this problem in the first place?

It seems that something caused a corruption in the shared.xml file on the computers of affected users. If you look inside this file you’ll see a structure of various tags and number of long alphanumeric strings. In amongst this information are account details, IP address and port numbers as well as audio and video device names. Whilst Skype has not specified what exactly was corrupted in this file suffice to say something essential to the authentication process was badly broken (perhaps a security token or some sort of network identifier).

Hopefully, this is not a sign of things to come with Skype now coming under the control of Microsoft which, at the best of times, has had issues with timely communication and release of patches for problems in its software. I just hope Skype doesn’t fall foul of the same sort of attitudes and slow response that Microsoft has become known for in the industry.

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