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When it comes to communicating with your contacts and other people here in Windows 8.1, you might want to instant message them. You might want to have a phone call, or even a video chat with them. Well, there's one tool that allows you to do all three of those things here in Windows 8.1. It's now included. The free version of Skype which is now owned by Microsoft. We're going to take a look at it next. If you're already logged in to your Windows Live account like I am, or using some other Microsoft account, you'll have access to your Skype account which is included.
Clicking this tile will take you to your Start screen. If you're not logged, or if you've never done this before, you might be prompted to provide some Skype credentials. If you already had a Skype account, for example, you could use that, or you can create a new account. But once you got through those steps, this is what you see, the Start screen. Over here on the left hand side, we see the Skype logo and a button for starting a call. A call could be a video chat. Could be a voice call using voice over internet protocol. Not a phone line. Or it could be an instant message.
We can also use the search functionality to search for people that we want to communicate with. Which could include our contacts. Down below, as you begin to have conversations, regardless of the type of conversations, you'll see a recent conversations list. I like this because you can go back to a conversation and resume it by clicking the tiles that appear here. We'll see how we can do that a little bit later on. With the free version of Skype, you get some advertising. And if you don't like that, there is a way to upgrade to the premium account, and the advertising goes away.
Favorites can be added. So people you communicate with on a regular basis can be added to your favorites, just like they could in the people app. And speaking of that, over to the right, you'll see a connection to your people app. Including your like I have here, email@example.com. And another one that appears here for everyone by default, access to the echo sound test service. We'll take a look at that shortly as well. Up in the top right corner, you'll see your status and if you've added a mood message, you'll see it here as well. So my status is available, feeling good.
I can change that by going into my Profile, which is represented by this icon and it could be your picture if you wanted to add that. I'm going to give it a click. There I see my name and my account that I'm using for Skype. I can click the picture if I want to add my own photo, for example, or some other photo. I'm going to go to my pictures library here, which includes a few pictures from the exercise files. I'm going to use the flowers and click Open.
That becomes, as you can see in the top right corner, my profile picture. Here is where we add our mood message. And if you have nothing in there, it'll say add mood message. Could be anything you like, I'm going to leave feeling good there. And your status will appear with a green dot if you're available. If you don't want to appear as available, you can choose invisible. You can also access your Skype account settings online using the account link. We'll go there a little bit later on, even sign out if you wanted to. But we're going to click off to the left just to close up that pane.
You can see what's happening now, my profile picture's changed. There's my mood message, feeling good. And, it's time to start a conversation. As I mentioned, we could go right up to the Call button and give it a click, or if you want to communicate with one of your contacts, you could click them. I'm going to go to Dee Rivers at Lynda.com over here, which was added to my Contacts using Mail. It wasn't done using People or Skype, but I have access to it. And notice the ways I can communicate with this person. I could go down to the bottom, be a Messenger and start typing a message.
Hi David, are you available to chat? And when I press Return you can see the conversation's started. I'll see the conversation going back and forth as it continues, but for now nothing's happening. Not sure if this guy is available. Let's try calling using the phone icon to use voice over internet protocols. It's not your phone line, but it's an audio call. Get a click. (SOUND) You can see I'm calling. (SOUND) There's no video. (SOUND) Microphone settings can be adjusted.
(SOUND) Or I can go right to the hang up, the red circle, (SOUND) give it a click, hangs up, so I never actually completed that call. But if David was available, he could have picked up and we could have had a voice conversation for free, using Skype. Let's try a video chat. Now, you'll need a webcam attached to your computer for this to work, otherwise you won't even see this icon as an option. Again, we're calling and as you see in the bottom right corner, I can see myself.
And I'll be able to see the person I'm calling if they pick up. But they're not. (SOUND) So I'm going to click hangup again to end that call. But that's all there is to starting those types of calls. We use the Back button to go back to the Start screen. And you can see recent conversations are starting to show up here. So, all I need to do to resume that conversation or try again is to click the tile. Right back in, I can resume the instant message conversation or voice and video as well. Lets go back.
Maybe that's a person I like to communicate with on a regular basis. They should be a favorite here. So, all I'm going to do is click the Add Favorites button. Select that person from my list of contacts. Click Add. And they'll always be easily accessible right here from favorites. Also under people, you'll see by default something called the Echo Sound Test service, where you can test up your configuration to make sure it's working properly here in Skype. Let's do that. So we click the tile, and as you can see, it's kind of like any other contact where we can start text conversation down below.
Or if we wanted to, we could call up this service to see if our audio devices are working properly. Let's do it. (MUSIC) It's calling >> Hello, welcome to Skype core testing service. After the beep, please record a message. Afterwards, your message will be played back to you (SOUND) >> This is Dave Rivers, testing out the echo sound test here in Windows 8.1 using Skype testing one, two, three. This is David Rivers, testing out the echo sound test service here in Windows 8.1 using Skype, testing one two three.
>> If you are able to hear your own voice, then you have configured Skype correctly. If you hear this message but not your own voice, then something is wrong with your audio recording settings. Please check your microphone and microphone settings, or visit Skype.com for more help. Thank you for using the Skype call testing service. Goodbye (SOUND). >> So, the call ends automatically, you can see the length of the call. And how would I rate the overall quality of this call? I can do that, I'm going to go with a four star, no big problems.
And, when I go back now using the Back button to my start screen, you can see I now have another recent conversation showing up on my recent list. Now for me everything seemed to work properly. I'm configured properly. If you're not, you might have to go into your settings and that's what we're going to do now. Again, we can use the Windows keyboard shortcut, Windows+I, to go directly to our setting for Skype. So at the top is Profile. We've been there already once. Click that and you'll go back to the Profile pane that we saw earlier.
But let's go back, using that Back button, and check out the options, which is where we can go to ensure our audio and video devices are working properly. I can see that my microphone is working properly, and I heard that in the sound test. Click the dropdown You'll see other things that might be connected. Maybe I want to use a microphone built into my webcam, I'll just use a default device. I'm going to stick with my high-def audio device. For speakers, again you have a drop down. I might want to use the default device, or other devices that might be on the list.
And you can test it out clicking the Play button. (MUSIC) Works pretty good. Next is the video camera. I see the name of my video webcam. Notice that I can also see a tiny little icon here of me moving around in the background. So that's working properly. It's going to start automatically with incoming video and screen sharing calls. I can change any of these settings obviously, including privacy settings down below, who can call me. Right now it's set to everyone, so everyone who has a Skype account will be able to find me.
If I click the drop down, I might want to set it to only my contacts. Same thing for sending instant messages, only my contacts. The history that we see over here under the Recent list can be cleared at any time using Clear History. And then down below, when it comes to answering incoming calls automatically, I've set mine to No. And that means I won't be interrupted if I'm busy doing something else with these little popups, phone calls or video chats, even instant messaging. Lets go back, and we're back to our settings now.
Notice, there's nothing here about our account, that's actually done online. So if we actually go to the profile, we can access our Skype account. And when we click this, we actually leave Skype temporarily and go to the internet to access our online account. And here's where we have those additional options for setting up our profile completeness, and you can see a number of other options including changing passwords and so on. When we're ready to close this up, I'll just go to the top. When you see the hand appear, click and drag straight down to the bottom of your screen when it flips around.
You can let go and you closed it up. We're back to Skype. Alright, we'll just click anywhere to close up the pane. And that's a quick look at Skype now included here in Windows 8.1, your tool for communicating using different means. Press the Windows key to go back to our Windows 8.1 Start screen.
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