Simultaneously using multiple accounts with Skype 4.0

As an addendum to my earlier post, I’ve just noticed that a) Skype 4.0 Beta 2 runs pretty stable on Windows Vista 64 and b) has built-in support for managing multiple Skype accounts! With the help of this feature, you could for example set up a private account and a business account and use both of them at the same time, using the same Windows user account. The setup is straightforward:

1) Install Skype 4.0 Beta 2

2) Create a shortcut to Skype.exe and place it on the quick launch bar. Rename the shortcut to “Skype Private Account”, for example. Start Skype using this shortcut and setup your first account (in this case, your private account).

3) Create another shortcut to Skype.exe (add it to the quick launch bar, too) and name it “Skype Business Account”. Open the “Properties” dialog of this shortcut by right-clicking on it. In the “Target” text field of the properties dialog box, append ” /secondary” (without double quotes) to the Skype.exe path that is already there. For example, in my case, the “Target” text field contains:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe” /secondary

Rename this shortcut to “Skype Business Account” (right-click->rename). Having done this, start Skype using this shortcut. Skype will then prompt you to enter the credentials of another Skype account of yours (in this example, of your business account).

You can also choose different icons for the two shortcuts. Further, I’d assume the /secondary feature isn’t limited to managing two Skype accounts, though I haven’t tested it with more than two accounts. The main advantage of this “/secondary” feature is that you don’t need to have a separate Windows user account for each of your Skype accounts. Note however that, even with this solution, a new instance of Skype will be created for each of your Skype accounts – every instance consuming about 40 MB of RAM.

I think that’s a very useful feature and I like it a lot.

32 thoughts on “Simultaneously using multiple accounts with Skype 4.0

  1. @Peter: Thanks for your comment. I do like the multi-account feature indeed, but I’d like it even more if things like autologin (for all accounts) were still working ;)

  2. Just got this to work today with Skype 4.0 Beta 3. IMPORTANT: When you are creating the 2 shortcuts for Skype, you must manually create a shortcut to the Skype.exe yourself. If you just make a copy of the shortcut that appears on your desktop when Skype is installed, it will not work because you cannot edit the target of this shortcut for some reason. To make an editable shortcut, navigate to C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\ (or whatever), right click on skype.exe, and Send To… Desktop. Now, this shortcut can be edited.

  3. I’ve followed accurately the instructions but… when I change target path of the shortcut icon to skype exe (secondary) I get an alert message sounds like \Path name isn’t valid, check out the right path name\. I’m using skype 4.0.0.26 on Windows Xp. Thanks.

  4. @Maryhellen: If Windows says that the path isn’t valid, then it probably isn’t. Try searching for Skype.exe on C:\ using Windows search. Then right click on Skype.exe and select “Properties” from the context menu. There you should find the correct path to use in your secondary shortcut. On Windows XP, the target line of your secondary shortcut should probably look similar to:

    "C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe" /secondary
    

    (including the non-typographic double quotes; you may need to replace “Program Files” by the name of the applications folder in your language)

  5. Best way is to install skype 3.6 and download SkypeLauncher1.3.3
    step 1 … create c:\skype folder and copy SkypeLauncher1.3.3 files to it..
    step 2 … copy skype.exe from c:\progr…..\skype…..\phone to c:\skype.
    step 3 … uninstall skype.
    step 4 … run skype once from c:\skype (do not sign in) and disable auto start and auto sign in.
    step 5 … run SkypeLauncher_Config to add accounts.
    step 6 … run SkypeLauncher.
    step 7 … Have FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    P.S it’s work on Vista 32/64 Windows 7 32/64

  6. Note that installing 3rd party apps (like SkypeLauncher) may compromise your computer’s security and your privacy. Don’t install any app unless you trust its source and its quality and accept to take the potential risks.

    Of course, this applies to any piece of software, also to Skype itself. Basically, any program you install on your computer can do with it whatever[1] it likes (delete data; spy on passwords or your communication; install other software, e.g. a trojan or a virus; send your data to an attacker etc.).

    Generally, open source software is considered to be safer than closed source software (like Skype), as the public (incl. you) is free to audit the code. You can compile open source software yourself and hence “know”[2] what kind of software you’re using/installing.

    Some general advice:
    1) Use open source software, if available
    2) Check the signature of the source code, audit the code
    3) Compile the source code, if trusted. Scan the binaries for viruses. Grant minimum privileges to installed binaries.
    4) For closed source software, check the signature of the executable. Scan the executable for viruses before installing the software. Grant minimum privileges only.
    5) Adhere to general best practices like using good passwords, strong encryption, a firewall, a anti-virus scanner etc.

    [1] Some restrictions apply for modern operating systems like Windows Vista/Windows 7, Linux, Mac OS X that have some built-in security features. Unfortunately, users can usually be tricked into granting apps more rights than actually intended.
    [2] Even when using open source software there isn’t full transparency on what you’re using. E.g. there’s a theoretical (and practical, though very rare) danger of using a malicious compiler that introduces malicious code into clean source code. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thompson_hack#Reflections_on_Trusting_Trust for more information.

  7. Thanks for the detailed instructions for using /secondary. Maryhellen, I initially omitted the crucial space also :) Now it works great!! And no need for extra software (I have xp). Thanks.

  8. I cannot seem to edit the target field – it is greyed out with the words Skype 4.0 showing. I have done everything as described above, so not sure what is wrong (is Vista the problem perhaps?)

  9. Tried but did not work:

    1) I run Windows WP and got the admin rights
    2) I had already one a/c
    3) I tried, following your steps to create a new one but when clicking on the new shortcut, it opens my existing skype a/c (I did follow the creation of the new skype.exe that I then cut and pasted to the desktop and amended.

    I am probably missing something, somewhere…

  10. Just a short note to users of Windows 7: In Windows 7 you can’t edit the “target” property of the Skype shortcut that was created in the start menu. Appending ” /secondary” (without the double quotes) to the target text field of a manually created shortcut (e.g. on your desktop) works fine, though.

    You can also pin this shortcut to the taskbar, if you like.

  11. I want to ask if is possible to have a general group account(like a business one) and link to him secondary accounts for each user from the group. I mean someone to contact my company on one general ID and the message will go to each individual skype ID in the company/group and than they can answer from his account or from general account…

  12. @Forbes:

    As far as I know, there isn’t any configurable multicast/delegation feature in Skype. You might want to send a feature request to the Skype team (though I’d wish that Skype prioritized full support for toll-free/special numbers in all countries over adding more features).

    Take a look at open source VoIP PBX software instead, e.g. http://www.asterisk.org/ (according to the specs, it even supports Skype now)

  13. THAT WAS PERFECT !!!!!!!!!
    I have 3 accounts and no problem now to run all 3 of them in the same time !
    Thank you very much my friend !!!
    RESPECT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Pingback: Mehrere Skype-Accounts gleichzeitig laufen lassen « EyeIT

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