Microsoft’s ‘Next-Gen’ Skype Client Only Works on Old Windows

Posted on October 30, 2017 by Brad Sams in Skype with 53 Comments

If you have been using Microsoft’s ‘next-gen’ Skype client for the past few months, you will have seen that app add new functionality nearly every week. And knowing that it now has feature parity to the older desktop clients, Microsoft is formally ending the preview.

Starting today, the ‘next-gen’ desktop client is now out of preview and is available for users on Mac and older versions of Windows 10. Specifically, if you are running Windows 10 November Update (2016) or older, along with Windows 7 and 8, you can also download the application.

What’s odd here is how this app version works on some iterations of Windows 10 but not all builds. While it may be a technical reason under the hood, this creates a confusing message about which application a user should download. Especially when considering that the Windows 10 November Update (2016) is the Anniversary Update + the November cumulative update, good luck to the average consumer trying to figure this out.

The only logical argument I can think of here is that you can use this version of Skype on the Long Term Servicing Branch but that version of the OS likely shouldn’t be using Skype in the first place. The LTSB version of Windows is not designed for desktop-use and should only be deployed to machines that operate critical infrastructure.

For everyone else, using the Skype app from the Microsoft Store makes the most sense but if for some reason you are holding onto your install of 1511, this is an option for you.

At the end of the day, most people will not notice this change and will likely receive the update via automatic updates; life will go on as normal. The preview for this app started in August and as of today, the beta test is over.

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Comments (53)

53 responses to “Microsoft’s ‘Next-Gen’ Skype Client Only Works on Old Windows”

  1. madthinus

    So if you running the Desktop app on the latest version of Windows 10 you can no longer install the Desktop version off the net?

  2. Eric Dunbar

    LTSB not for the desktop?!? Huh? I strongly beg to differ!

    If you use your computer to earn a living, you current computer runs the apps you need and it's stable enough for your purposes you'd be playing with fire to stay on the "Windows as a service" latest and greatest upgrade frenzy. Luckily Pro and Enterprise offer you some control over your destiny but nearly not enough.

    I am waiting for the day that Visual Studio for Mac becomes mature and I can completely abandon Windows 10. Aside from Visual Studio, there really isn't a single piece of software on Windows that doesn't also run on Mac (which is orders of magnitude more respectful of a user's privacy than Windows).

    I like Windows 10 but I really, really, really don't like how Microsoft violates your privacy with how it operates Windows 10. If you browse with Edge, for example, Microsoft sends each web site you visit to their servers. Microsoft is also extremely opaque about what it collects, what it retains and what it's capable of doing to your desktop (I've tried reading their privacy disclosures a few times and each time I feel like I've been sent in a circle where I discovered absolutely nothing).

    PS For some bizarre reason my laptop was trying to install the Fall Creators Update over a Creators Update Windows 10 install (despite me not being on the beta testers branch). I'm on Windows 10 Pro so I could activate an advanced update setting to stay on the current branch for business, but, despite that it still kept trying to do the upgrade (I was grateful that I'd noticed it and was able to interrupt it each time before it could get started). I had to go into the Windows Update downloads folder and delete all the cached download files to stop the attempts to upgrade to the FCU (did anyone think through how the acronym would sound when they made it?).

    • skane2600

      In reply to OntarioPundit:

      "Aside from Visual Studio, there really isn't a single piece of software on Windows that doesn't also run on Mac (which is orders of magnitude more respectful of a user's privacy than Windows)."

      Hyperbole much? There are hundreds, if not thousands of programs that run on Windows that won't run on a Mac. The same is true for programs that run only on the Mac although probably not as many. There's more to the world of programs than Office, Photoshop, Visual Studio and handful of popular programs.

      • Eric Dunbar

        In reply to skane2600:

        "Hyperbole much?  There are hundreds, if not thousands of programs that run on Windows that won't run on a Mac."

        #1 No hyperbole whatsoever. Aside from Visual Studio's UWP/Windows development mode there is not a single program that I use on Windows at work or at home that does not also exist on Mac or has an analogue that is equally good or that is unnecessary on a Mac.

        The only two programs that I'm aware of that do not run on Mac are NotePad++ and IrfanView, and, there are equally good (if not better) analogues on the Mac in the form of BBEdit and GraphicConverter (I prefer GC to IrfanView but because I don't have my own Mac anymore I just suck it up and use IrfanView).

        Wait, I do occasionally use Access. It does not have a Mac presence. I guess that's the one app that I use that is not present on a Mac. But, I have access to it on work devices anyway so it wouldn't affect me :).

        #2 While you may be factually correct in your assessment of the number of programs that run on Windows, you would equally be factually correct to say the exact opposite! There are many high quality apps that run on Mac that have never been ported to Windows.

        PS I use a lot of apps compared to your regular computer user. I'd estimate that 50% of computer users would find their needs 100% met by Mac, Linux or Windows. And, that 90% of users would find 95% of their needs met by any of the three families of OSes with nothing mission critical missing from their repertoire.

        • skane2600

          In reply to OntarioPundit:

          Yes, it was obvious that your own personal experience using Windows involved a small subset of Windows applications. Had you not omitted the critical qualifier "that I use on Windows" in the first place, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

          Had you actually read my post completely, you would realize that I acknowledged that there were Mac applications that don't run on Windows.

    • Chris

      In reply to OntarioPundit:

      To follow up on what skane2600 said, there are a lot of programs that run on Windows, that do not run on a Mac, and it isn't limited to business software. I'm a member of a model train club, and there is software that we use to draft track plans (SCARM), which isn't available for Macs.

      Most of the software produced by Autodesk (namely 3ds Max, and Revit) are also not available for Macs. I use 3ds Max, and even though I've tried to use Maya and Blender, I started in Gmax and found it much easier to learn 3ds Max that I have in trying to learn Blender for anything more complex than creating a box.

      Regarding your "PS", the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update was officially released about two weeks ago, so it is no longer beta tester specific, which could be the reason why your laptop was trying to upgrade to it.

      • mariusmuntensky

        In reply to c.hucklebridge:

        In the mediocre state windows 10 is in, it is always in beta...

      • Eric Dunbar

        In reply to c.hucklebridge:

        A quick Google shows that SCARM runs under WINE on Macs :).

        The other point that I didn't bother raising is that you can simply run Windows in a VM on your Mac if you have a piece of Windows software that you need. Or, you can dual-boot. That way you get to leave Microsoft's privacy-destroying OS except for the occasional piece of software that you need.

        I'm just hoping that the EU investigates Microsoft's behavour vis-a-vis privacy and forces changes in terms of the data they collect. Otherwise I don't see anything happening. I like Windows 10 but, the more I learn about how Microsoft has a cavalier attitude towards a users' ability to control what information is sent out from their computer to Microsoft the more I distrust Microsoft as a company.

        Apple appears to have a much better handle on the privacy concerns of its macOS users, and, Linux, well, things are even better there, but, the flipside is you don't have the same support/quality as you do with Apple's or Microsoft's OSes :(

        • Eric Dunbar

          In reply to OntarioPundit:

          No, cavalier attitude towards privacy doesn't capture Microsoft's approach to privacy. It's wanton disregard. They do their level best to hide what they do. It's "hints and tips", not advertising. It's called "sharing", not sending your URLs back to Microsoft.

          And, the kicker is, these features and Cortana are fully disabled in the Education edition of Microsoft's OS because they completely and blatantly violate the privacy of minors.

          If these settings violate the privacy of minors then they also violate the privacy of adults. Consent is only valid when it's fully informed. It's hard to argue that "hints and tips" is sufficient to claim that a user is fully informed about their having consented to being advertised to in their own OS.

        • skane2600

          In reply to OntarioPundit:

          I was waiting to see if you were going to use the "run Windows in a VM" excuse. If you are running Windows in a VM, it means you need Windows, obviously.

  3. Care

    I appreciate the callback to the Lumia 900 tagline. :)

  4. bluvg

    Anyone else seeing that the new "SkypeApp.exe" is just a dog, performance-wise? It sucks up/leaks RAM until it is slow as molasses--even though I have plenty of free, contiguous RAM (the machine has 32 GB). Even responsiveness-wise, it's quite noticeably slower than the desktop version. Example: both versions of Skype will autocorrect words (sometimes maddeningly), but if I type fast enough, the UWP version won't. I can't out-type the desktop version.

    Based on this and other experiences, UWP is a huge, very troubling disappointment so far. The apps just don't perform nearly as well, plus they soak up resources at a dizzying rate. And one would think their performance should be off the charts, given their voracious resource consumption!

    • warren

      In reply to bluvg:

      If this were true, then explain how Edge is so fast. Or Office Mobile. Photos is pretty snappy too, as is Maps. Spotify is rock-solid and has identical performance to the regular desktop version. Paint.NET performance is identical, too.

      Nah, this isn't a problem with UWP, it's a problem with Skype's development team, which is representative of Microsoft's various messaging teams for the last 15 years -- they just can't seem to make a messaging client that is speedy, efficient, and just plain works. MSN Messenger 6.0, anyone?

      • Eric Dunbar

        In reply to warren:

        Edge is fast? Have you tried it of late? Compared to Chrome it's a dog, especially on the Fall Creators Update (FCU :).

        With the FCU Edge is even worse than the mediocre browser it was before (and, I'm not the only one reporting major slowness). It also is a massive CPU drain on the FCU.

        To test the FCU I recently did a clean install of the FCU on a mid- to high-end tablet (Elitepad G2... you'd expect it to run Windows 10 FCU since it is designed for touch, right). When I say clean install, I mean clean. Nothing was left of the Windows 10 CU that was on there. I allowed it to update drivers and then tried using. That's when the problems started.

        After a few minutes I was forced to install Chrome because Edge was so incredibly frustrating. Pages would start to load and then freeze. It would take quite some time before the fully rendered page would suddenly appear. From a technical point of view I understand what Edge is doing and why but it doesn't work.

        The problem Edge has always suffered from is that web pages often freeze and have to be "recovered".

        This is a function of how their rendering engine works and its origins on the mobile platform. This is how Chrome and Safari on iOS/Android handle over-sized/over-engineered webpages. They simply crash the program rather than wasting precious battery cycles on rendering the page. It makes sense. On a desktop you don't have the same battery concern or the CPU cycle limitations. Chrome "just works". FireFox "just works". They plough through and render the page. In Edge the decision was made to adopt the mobile route.

        This lead to bad impressions of Edge in CU and before. In FCU Microsoft has tried to address that by waiting to render the page in one go. Rather than "crashing" the page (i.e. allowing the user to 'recover' it) Edge now tries to render the whole thing. Only problem is that it takes forever to render the whole page.

        Anyway, long story short, when I installed Chrome things got much better on the same hardware. Chrome was able to render pages quickly. It wasn't that the hardware was too slow. Chrome also rendered those pages without chewing up CPU cycles. While it would take Edge a long time to settle down and stop using a sizable percentage of the CPU's cycles Chrome was settled almost the moment it was done with the page (and, it wasn't that Edge had some sort of race condition it was dealing with... both Chrome and Edge capped out at about the same max CPU cycles).

        This matches my experience with Edge before. I've never noticed it to be a particularly "light" browser in terms of battery usage. Chrome's own in-built features (like disabling JavaScript) go a long way to making Chrome the better battery choice over Edge without having to install any extensions (I refuse to install extensions... why waste the CPU cycles). Chrome also seems to do a better job of sleeping tabs than does Edge.

        Anyway, to the original point, Edge's behaviour is not evidence of UWP's inferiority. UWP's inferiority is demonstrated by the low quality of the UWP apps in the Microsoft Store. Not a single store-delivered app is part of my daily usage. If the Store were to magically disappear I wouldn't even notice because I only seem to find use for Win32 apps.

        Trust me, I've looked and I've sampled. The user interface on UWP apps (including all the in-built Microsoft ones) is so terribly mediocre that it's not even funny.

        UWP is designed for touch devices. It's not a paradigm that works well for a desktop (incl. laptops).

        Microsoft is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. They're going full steam ahead with mobile while abandoning the desktop users that made their OS the dominant OS.

        They missed the mobile device boat when iOS came along and ate their breakfast. Then, when Andoid came along Android offered OEMs something that Windows never could--freedom from Microsoft.

        They just don't get it. iOS is the proprietary and premium mobile OS (which is what Microsoft wants/needs to be to compete with Android) and Apple has huge customer loyalty (which Microsoft doesn't).

        Android is the cheap junky OS, lower quality than what Windows mobile offers but, but, but, it offers one thing that no Microsoft OS ever can--freedom from Microsoft.

        While consumers may not care about that, OEMs do.

        Microsoft is not an easy company to do business with since they like control over their OS (like Apple).

        When Microsoft had vanquished all non-Apple OSes OEMs had to build Microsoft-compatible devices and stick to Microsoft's rules. With the rise of this new computing platform (ARM) OEMs had the opportunity to break from Microsoft's sphere of influence.

        Android may not be the same quality but it offered OEMs infinitely more freedom since Google's terms and conditions for the use of the Android promotional materials are far looser than Microsoft's ever were for Windows.

      • bluvg

        In reply to warren:

        I think some of those are Centennial apps, though, right? Regarding Edge, it eats up memory on my machine far more than Chrome or IE. All browsers seem to go on memory binges from time to time, but Edge is in its own category. I also have doubts about how much of Edge truly UWP-ified and not a mix of new and wrapped older tech (it's an updated fork of the IE Trident engine, isn't it?).

        Honestly, I have no problems at all with the old desktop client--very fast, very stable for me.

  5. ulrichr

    I think you are going to see a number of apps suddenly offer a Windows 1709 version only. With the release of the Fall Creators Update, Windows Store apps can now call the .NET Standard 2.0 API, which increases the 'capabilities' of native Windows Store apps enormously. According to Microsoft,. approx. 70% of all the NuGet packages available on are now compatible with the Windows Store. Once the developers get across this, we should see a massive improvement in functionality for Store applications.

    As a simple example, my network application needed to get the address of the DNS server, and prior to the 1709 version, I had to do this by sending complex requests to the DHCP server to obtain this information. This call also returned invalid information if you had manually set your DNS server in your network settings. Now it's a simple call to the NetworkInformation API.

    I think THIS is the single most significant improvement in the Fall Creators Update.

  6. mariusmuntensky

    LTSB should be used by everyone because it is the only one not being used as a beta testing ground for users. Skype is anyway a broken piece of crap, Nadella quality style meaning ZERO!

  7. Winner

    Just remember, Windows 10 is the last version of Windows.

    Except of course different versions of the "last version" of Windows behave differently, lol.

  8. Breaker119

    I'm running the Preview Build (Skype version on 1703 LTSB since I can't get UWP. I'd better not accidentally uninstall it or I may end up stuck with web client

  9. andrewtechhelp

    Yea, I have a suspicion that November Update (2016) actually means 2015 (so version 1511), because version 1607 is the first version that came with the Skype UWP app pre-installed. So essentially, if your version of Windows came with UWP Skype, we want you to use that, if not, then this is available.

  10. jimchamplin

    Leave it to the Skype team to completely screw up at even the most basic of tasks.

  11. Davor Radman

    Wait.. This is not in the store then? :/

  12. hrlngrv

    FWIW, you forgot to mention that this also includes Linux.

  13. maethorechannen

    I just thought of something - this line at the end of the post

    Windows 10 users will receive an update shortly to add the new features.

    Does that mean the UWP app is getting these features, or is the UWP app going away, replaced with the Desktop app delivered via the Store by centennial? That would explain the bit about "November Update", if they got the year wrong.

  14. Bart

    Windows 10 getting a PWA version for Insiders?

  15. Stooks

    Does anyone have any numbers on Skype usage?? I wonder if it is plummeting?

    Microsoft has so jacked up this offering that I avoid it like the plague. I know many others that have done the same.

  16. Eric Jutrzenka

    Does anyone know if win10 version of skype is 'pure' UWP? The 'next-gen' skype is clearly implemented using web technologies. I imagine the reason it exists on windows 7 and 8 is simply that it's very easy to port that sort of application to other platforms. On win 10 there are some deeper integrations line my people that may make it more difficult.

  17. rseiler

    "And knowing that it now has feature parity to the older desktop clients..."

    Did MS actually say that, or is this your conclusion? I don't know if you've tried it, but it simply does not have all the things the classic client does, and it's not even remotely close. Look at Settings, for instance. It's missing 90% of the stuff (so, for example, if you want to change any number of things about the chat experience, forget about it). It can't even do multiple windows. I'm hoping the parity line came from PR and not your own experience.

  18. crfonseca

    Well, this isn't confusing at all.

    Thing is, Microsoft really really really wants you to use the UWP version of Skype on Windows 10, not only do they constantly nag you to do it if you're using Skype "Classic", starting Skype UWP will automatically shutdown Skype "Classic" even if it's logged in into another account and you're in the middle of a conversation.

    Because obviously no one ever needs to have 2 different Skype accounts, and use them at the same time.

    And Microsoft wonders why its user base is dropping...