Hands On: Next Generation Skype Preview for Windows 7, 8.1, and Mac Desktops

Richard Hay, Senior Content Producer

August 18, 2017

23 Slides

Over the last couple of years Microsoft has been doing a lot of work on Skype. Some of it has been well received and other elements not so much. 

However, I have come to discover in watching people talk about their experiences with Skype that it tends to put folks in one of three camps.

Loving it, hating it, or tolerating it because they have to use it.

I use Skype daily and have not experienced any serious issues with it so I am one of those who pretty much love it for the capabilities it provides me to do my job and stay in touch with family and friends around the world.

Development efforts have been steady on the Skype UWP app for Windows 10 on PCs, Tablets, Xbox One, Hololens, and Mobile plus next generation versions have been released for iOS and Android.

The one version of Skype that has not changed a whole lot while these other versions have been getting next generation make overs is the desktop version of the software.

This week that changed as Microsoft released a new desktop version of Skype to their Insider program that is solely for Windows 7, 8.1 and Mac desktops. This update, which can be installed alongside the existing Skype Desktop software, provides several new features although it is not able to deliver them all due to the focus on the larger screens on desktops.

Some of those enhancements you will see in the new Skype Preview for Desktops include:

-- @mentions, message reactions and a new notification panel—Stay on top of your day with help from the notification panel. Quickly jump back into conversations where you were @mentioned to see how people reacted to what you’ve said.

-- New chat media gallery—Finding shared content—such as links, documents, or media—in a chat has never been easier with the chat gallery.

-- Enhanced group calls—Customize your group call experience with drag and drop ease. Say it with an emoji using our new in-call reactions, too!

There are also light and dark themes available which has seemed to become a standard option in most software these days.

The experience looks a lot like a mobile version of Skype but they have done a good job of making it fit in a desktop environment.

So whether you love, hate, or tolerate Skype it looks like this might be the future of desktop Skype on non-Windows 10 PCs and Macs so it is a pretty good time to start trying things out.

Note: The gallery images are from the install of the Skype Preview for Desktops in a Windows 7 Virtual Machine.


But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.

About the Author(s)

Richard Hay

Senior Content Producer, IT Pro Today (Informa Tech)

I served for 29 plus years in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer in November 2011. My work background in the Navy was telecommunications related so my hobby of computers fit well with what I did for the Navy. I consider myself a tech geek and enjoy most things in that arena.

My first website – AnotherWin95.com – came online in 1995. Back then I used GeoCities Web Hosting for it and WindowsObserver.com is the result of the work I have done on that site since 1995.

In January 2010 my community contributions were recognized by Microsoft when I received my first Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for the Windows Operating System. Since then I have been renewed as a Microsoft MVP each subsequent year since that initial award. I am also a member of the inaugural group of Windows Insider MVPs which began in 2016.

I previously hosted the Observed Tech PODCAST for 10 years and 317 episodes and now host a new podcast called Faith, Tech, and Space. 

I began contributing to Penton Technology websites in January 2015 and in April 2017 I was hired as the Senior Content Producer for Penton Technology which is now Informa Tech. In that role, I contribute to ITPro Today and cover operating systems, enterprise technology, and productivity.


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