Frustration with Skype’s inappropriate use of the Windows close button could be why you’re here, reading this post. Well, I share the same feeling, because Skype programming ‘geniuses’ decided to hack the default Windows ‘close’ button so that instead of closing the program, it does exactly the same thing as the ‘minimize’ button, which is located guess where? Right next to it! Oh, how smart. I don’t buy that rubbish, and perhaps the just announced Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype (updated May 11, 2011) will fix this problem, but until then, here is how I make a shortcut to close Skype instantly with a single click on my Windows 7 PCs (XP and Vista probably work similarly but I haven’t tested it):
1. Minimize all windows
2. Right-click the empty section of the desktop and select New = > Shortcut
3. Type this in the window that opens: taskkill.exe /IM skype.exe /T and hit Enter (or click on ‘Next’)
4. Type in the name for the shortcut (my usual name is SkypeKill) and click ‘Finish’ (or hit Enter)
5. Pin (drag) the shortcut to the taskbar so Skype can be closed and shut down with a single click on this taskbar icon.
That’s it. What this does is:
/IM gracefully closes a process with the “image name” skype.exe
/T closes all associated processes skype.exe opened
If Skype doesn’t close gracefully with this (I’ve seen it on some computers), I append ‘ /F’ to the end of the taskkill command to close it forcefully: taskkill.exe /IM skype.exe /T /F
Add a Keyboard Shortcut
For those who like keyboard shortcuts like me (this only works for icons on the desktop or start menu): I edit the desktop shortcut icon created with the above procedure (right click on it and select properties), then click on the shortcut field so a blinking cursor appears in it, then hold either Shift or Alt or Ctrl key and press the letter that will be associated with that icon, in my example letter ‘s’ (the shortcut field will show Ctrl+Alt+S in this case). If a letter is already used for another shortcut, it won’t show in the shortcut field when you try to enter it this way, so you have to use one not already taken by a different shortcut. Once saved, you can run the shortcut from any screen by hitting the three-finger keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Alt+s in my example.
Reasoning Behind Skype’s Trick
Most likely, Skype uses this sneaky approach to minimize instead of closing their application so it can stay up and available for random calls and also possibly to sometimes use your computer as a traffic hub in their proprietary VOIP system. I don’t have a problem with this here where my ISP traffic has no monthly cap, because this is what keeps Skype services free on the global level, but it can create extra cost on PCs where users pay extra for every additional GB transferred, so I created this workaround having my 89-year-old dad who gets charged for every extra GB of data he uses. Without this shortcut it is not easy to close Skype if you are a computer beginner like him, because you have to right-click the minimized Skype window on the taskbar and select ‘Quit Skype’, or right-click the Skype icon in the system tray (notification area by the taskbar clock) and select ‘Quit’ each time you want to fully close the program. That is annoying even for users like me, but I have to admit it is helpful for those who need to keep Skype up all the time so they can receive random calls from their friends and relatives all over the world.