Skype & Windows 8.1

Okay, I guess someone, somewhere, somehow thinks this is the best thing since sliced/buttered bread, but I don’t see why. For some odd reason, W8.1 (just as with W8) believes that the user name for Skype must and shall be only the same as for the computer onto which one logs in to use. This is ridiculous, but, being MS Windows, there’s not much to be done about that.

Or is there? To use my computer, freshly upgraded from W8 to 8.1 just last night (the computer isn’t even a month old yet, so it arrived with 8) and I still need to use my other (as in, previous) Skype info to log into Skype. How on Earth can I do that? Note that my other–as in, not connected with MS because I got the account long before MS grabbed the service–Skype account is not associated with an MS E-mail account.

Another question: Why aren’t there regular folks standing behind the desks of the programmers at Microsoft? When the programmers do something this obviously stupid, the regular folks can just club them with the very low tech, but very effective, bats issued for this purpose.

I can’t answer to the details of their skype integration, but it is certain that there are QA and interaction design and testing people at Microsoft. I don’t know if they count as “regular folks”, but they are usually not the same people as the ones writing the code.

In my experience as developer user interaction issues like that are usually decided by fiat from the top down. The only UIs that might get designed by the programmer are the deeply hidden ones that most end users never interact with.

Likely as not the software behaviour you are experiencing was designed to be “helpful”, and the fact that it’s not is bad, but I’d guess that the rank and file of the dev team are not the right target for your anger.

Are you using the desktop version of Skype, or the dashboard/app store version? I don’t have 8.1 yet, but the desktop version allows me to change my username in Windows 8.0.

Some groups at Microsoft (Office, for example) are very good at usability. Some (SQL Server, for example) are not. Windows lies somewhere in the middle.

In any case, programmers don’t make UI decisions, there are specialists for that. The programmers are just writing to the specs; you have to seek out the guy who wrote the specs.

(I also take issue with “obviously stupid”. It’s not obvious at all that someone would install Windows 8 with a Microsoft account, then want to use a DIFFERENT Microsoft account for Skype-- especially when Microsoft lets you merge accounts at any time, and especially when Windows 8 supports multiple users. In fact I’d call that extremely non-obvious.)

Yes, it’s obviously stupid. New operating system that can supposedly run programs older than the new OS should not require the user to have the new computer’s log-in matching the older program. That’s not just incredibly obvious; it’s absolutely fucking incredibly obvious.

P.S. I got the Skype account before it merged with and replaced MSN Hotmail. I have a few pay functions involved with it that I don’t want to abandon.

Thanks for the tip about Skype desktop. Just downloaded, installed, and ran it. Works like a charm.

You misunderstand what I’m saying.

The non-obvious part is: why would a user who already had a Microsoft account create a NEW Microsoft account just because he installed Windows 8? Are you going to make another new account when Windows 9 comes out?

And even if you had two Microsoft accounts (one “old” one for Skype, and one “new” one for Windows 8), why didn’t you just use Microsoft’s account tools to merge the two into one account?

Maybe what you’re doing is “obvious” to you, but it’s certainly not “obvious” to me, or apparently to anybody who build the dashboard/app store version of Skype. And I don’t blame them.

In any case, it’s not “absolutely fucking incredibly obvious”. That’s just ridiculous and you know it.

And in any any case, the desktop version still works the way it always did-- which is “absolutely fucking incredibly obvious” and you didn’t even try the “incredibly obvious” solution of just downloading and trying it.


(Sorry; this is meant mostly tongue-in-cheek. But it bothers me when people get so pissed about trivial software matters. Programmers are people, too, ok? Microsoft isn’t some evil cthulhu out to eat your children-- if they make a change to the OS, believe me, it’s because they genuinely believe the changed version is better for the majority of their users. Tone it down a little.)

Whenever I set up machines, I always use a local account. I have no desire to tie my ability to manage my machine to a 3rd party service even if it is a MS service.

br: See dc’s comment. Plus, I did try downloading the thing. MS, in its glorious wisdom, took me directly to the app store when I did this before upgrading. And just because MS’s people can’t comprehend that real world users wish to bring old accounts for a number of programs to their new machines doesn’t mean that said users are creating new accounts like the MS folk think is the case–and is actually their inane suggestion to work around the issue in the first place. Seriously, it’s almost as bad as the PRC government creating the Great Firewall and then, you’ll love this no doubt (I do; I think it’s funny), the very same government actually selling a service to get around the Great Firewall.

Ok, I think you’re still confused. Your Skype account isn’t any different than your Microsoft account unless you went way out of your way to make your own life difficult.

But I give up. If you hate Windows so much, go buy a Mac or use Linux.

If you use the desktop version of Skype instead of the Modern app, it won’t force you to use a specific account. I have Windows 8.1 and this works for me.

  1. Thanks for the bit about the desktop version.
  2. I already had the Skype account before having the 8.0 now 8.1 computer.
  3. I don’t hate Windows. I just think this particular decision is very bad, akin to a few other very bad decisions made for Windows over the years. It’s just ridiculous. What other services that MSN has managed to take over already or will manage to take over will get the same treatment? It’s unnecessary and not very well explained by the people who made the decision.
  4. I’ve asked the mods to close the thread because I got the answer. And I do thank you for that answer.

I think when you created a Microsoft account and then used Skype, you ended up creating a new Skype account. What you should have done is link the new Microsoft account to the Skype account you already had.

And you should be able to do that now - by logging in to Skype using your Microsoft account, going to Account Settings and unlinking the Skype account. And then link your old Skype account.

And what the hell is a Microsoft account? I have a Skype account. All I want to do with it is use Skype. When you say “the username needs to be the same as for the computer”, are you saying they’re expecting me to have the same account name in any computer I use?

Because if so, that’s reason #Ilostcount not to use W8.

It’s the account you use for various online services from Microsoft such as the Win-8 app store, cloud storage (SkyDrive), and Skype. You can also use it as the login credentials for your Win-8 PC if you choose to. It’s very similar to the way Google and Apple accounts are used.

Ah, OK, I’ve been avoiding those. Thanks.

The fact that you can’t understand is a problem with your own ignorance. It’s really not that hard to understand that people who had both a Skype account and a Microsoft account from before the merger now have two separate accounts.

It’s also not that hard to understand that a lot of people like to have more than one email account (with different inboxes), and probably only use one of those with Skype. The user isn’t going to want to have to pay for pay services on both, that’s for sure.

Anyways, the solution is to use a local account with Windows 8.x, which will allow you to have different Microsoft accounts for different apps. Unfortunately, you do lose out on any ability to synchronize your settings between two different computers–but that feature is overrated, in my opinion. More annoyingly, every app that uses Xbox Live will require you to log in separately, if I remember correctly.

I personally just avoid using Apps altogether, with only a few exceptions, like the Weather App and the free copy of Fruit Ninja I got for being a beta tester. My dad uses even fewer, especially now that I reinstalled the Windows 7 games and gadgets.

It used to be called an MSN account, then it was called Windows Live, then it all sort of converged with Skype and Hotmail (although there was always some cross-functionality), which is busy becoming

I think you lose out on SkyDrive access as well? Office 2013 + SkyDrive is very convenient, it’s like Google Docs with the full functionality of Microsoft Office.

That doesn’t happen unless you go out of your way to make it happen. The default, expected route was that when Skype asked to link to a Microsoft account, you picked your existing Microsoft account instead of creating a new one.

Even if you do have two different accounts, that’s an easy fix: You can just “unlink” the Skype account and re-merge it with the correct one.

So I stand by what I said.

I clearly stated what the issue was. I did, in fact, do what the MS site suggested. Odd thing, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because, in their wisdom, they decided that only MS accounts could be linked–at least that’s what my system and MS told me when I attempted to link the accounts.

So, there’s a fix for a problem that MS created? Why is the problem there in the first place? As I already mentioned, I had a Skype account (a pay account which I still require to be active) long before MS decided to do what they did. I had the Skype account when it had nothing to do with Hotmail. I had it before MS bought out Skype.

Yes, the desktop version works the way I need it to work. Do you know what would’ve been nifty? If MS had bothered to tell me that themselves with the roll-out of the new OS! But, no. This was just one big cockup on their part. And why on Earth would In not want to use the already-existing Skype account?

Look, I don’t hate MS. I don’t even dislike it. I like most of their stuff. This occasion, for this product, they’ve royally hosed. Your comment to BigT is incorrect. One must go out of their way to prevent the issue from occurring.