Technical Issues > Video problems
  • Skype 5.0 and higher for Windows uses Microsoft DirectX, which makes use of the hardware acceleration features of modern graphics adapters. If DirectX 9.0c or higher is not installed on your computer, Skype can make use of Windows' basic graphics capabilities, but this places additional demands on your CPU, and can cause Skype to run slowly. To avoid this, and to ensure the best performance when making video calls:
    •Ensure your computer meets the requirements for video calling.

    •Ensure DirectX 9.0c or higher is installed on your computer.

    •Update your graphics adapter drivers.

    Checking if DirectX 9.0c or higher is installed on your computer

    To check whether DirectX 9.0c or higher is installed on your computer:
    1. Open the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.
    •On Windows 7:
     Click Start > Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt, type dxdiag and press Enter.

    •On Windows XP & Vista
     Click Start > Run, type dxdiag and press Enter.
    2. Check the version of DirectX that you have installed.
    On the System tab, in the System Information area, next to DirectX Version, check the version number displayed. If it is 9.0c or higher, proceed to the next step. If it is lower than 9.0c, you will need to upgrade. For Windows Vista and Windows 7, get the latest version of DirectX by updating Windows with the latest service packs and updates. For Windows XP, download it here.
    If the DirectX Diagnostic Tool does not open, or an error is displayed, then it is likely that you do not have DirectX installed on your computer. Download and install it using the links above.
    Remember to restart your computer after installing or updating DirectX.
    3. Ensure that DirectDraw Acceleration and Direct3D Acceleration are enabled.

    4. On the Display tab, in the DirectX Features area, ensure that DirectDraw Acceleration and Direct3D Acceleration are listed as "Enabled".

    5. Check the Notes area at the bottom of the Display tab, and check that no problems are found.

    6. Click Exit.

    Updating your graphics adapter drivers

    To update your graphics adaptor drivers, you will need to know the make and model of your computer. Once you know this, visit the manufacturer's website and download the latest graphics drivers, usually found in the support section. Make sure that you get the correct drivers by searching for the specific model number of your computer.
    Popular graphics adaptors are:
    NVIDIA-based graphics adapter

    ATI/AMD-based graphics adapter

    INTEL-based graphic adapter
    If you cannot find your graphic adaptor, you can also try to update your graphics drivers using Windows Update. Remember to restart your computer after updating your graphics drivers.
    After updating your graphics drivers, check again that DirectX 9.0c or higher is correctly installed on your computer.
  • If you're having problems with video on a Skype call, and you've already tried the steps in the Connection Troubleshooter, there are a few things you can check to make sure your webcam is working properly.

    Skype for Windows Desktop

    Before proceeding with the troubleshooting steps below, first ensure that you are in a room with proper lighting (bad lighting can make your video too dark to be seen by the people you're calling.
     Also, if you're using a webcam that plugs into your computer via USB, you might not be sending great video (or your webcam might not work at all) because you’re using other USB devices. An overloaded USB port can make your computer think the webcam is in use by another program, even when it's not. Try disconnecting your other USB devices, or try connecting your webcam to an alternative USB port. If your webcam is plugged into a USB hub, try plugging it directly into a USB port on your computer instead and see if that helps.

    Is your webcam working properly with Skype?

    To make sure that your webcam is working correctly with Skype:
    1. Sign into Skype.

    2. In the menu bar, click Tools > Options...

    3. Under General, select Video Settings. If you have a webcam connected, you should see live video of whatever your webcam is pointed at. If you can see the video stream, your webcam is working correctly.

    If you can’t see the video stream, your webcam is not working correctly with Skype. Until you resolve this, you won’t be able to send any video if you make a video call.

    Is Skype using the correct webcam?

    If you’re using multiple cameras (such as a laptop camera and a separate USB camera), you can easily switch between them:
    1. Sign into Skype

    2. Select a contact, start a Skype call, then click the call quality icon The call quality icon  in the call window.

    3. Click the Webcam tab, then select the webcam you want to use from the Choose the camera you want to use drop-down menu.

    If you can’t see the camera you want to use in the drop-down list, reinstall the latest device drivers from the manufacturer’s website.


    Is another application using your webcam?

    Close all applications that may be using the webcam. These include video-editing software, virtual-camera software, instant messengers, and browsers (such as Internet Explorer).
     Also, if your camera isn't integrated into your computer, try to plug the camera to another USB slot or unplug other unused devices that share the same USB slot as your camera. If you are trying to change your camera during the call and experience an error message, try to end the call, change the camera and restart the call.

    Is there a problem with your webcam drivers?

    Check that your webcam is listed in Device Manager.
    1. Depending on your version of Windows:
    Windows 7: Click the Windows button and select Control Panel. Make sure that Category is selected in the top right corner, next to View by:. Click Hardware and Sound. Under Devices and Printers, select Device Manager. Click the little arrow beside Imaging Devices.

    Windows Vista: Open the Start menu and select Control Panel. Open System and Maintenance and click Device Manager.

    Windows XP: Open the Start menu and select Control Panel. Open System and, in the Hardware tab, click Device Manager.
    2. Check that your webcam is listed under Imaging devices.

    If it’s not listed, or if a question or exclamation mark is displayed, you need to reinstall the drivers for your webcam.

    Are your webcam drivers loading?

    To let your webcam drivers load, you need to change the start-up settings of Skype:
    1. Sign out of Skype by clicking Skype > Sign Out in the menu bar.

    2. In the Welcome to Skype window, uncheck the Sign me in when Skype starts option.

    3. Restart your computer.
    Sign in to Skype and make a video call.

    Are you using an old version of DirectX?
    Make sure that you have the latest version of Microsoft DirectX. For Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can get the latest version of DirectX by updating Windows with the latest service packs and updates.
    For Windows XP, you can download it here.

  • If you've just gotten a new webcam and need to get it to work with Skype, follow the steps below.
    1. Connect the webcam to your computer per the manufacturer instructions.

    2. Your computer should automatically install the software for the webcam (or you might need to install it via a manufacturer-provided disc).

    3. Once the software has finished installing, open Skype.

    4. To check to see if your webcam is working properly:

    • In Skype for Windows Desktop, click Tools > Options > Video Settings. If you can see yourself in the video window, you're all set.


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