Skype for Windows 8 updated, improves performance and enables contact blocking

The Skype team has released an update for Windows 8, announcing the changes in an official blog article. Version 1.6 implements a number of improvements to further enhance the user experience. A notable feature addition is the ability for consumers to better control who can contact them by blocking contacts. 

To block contacts in the latest release, bring up the command bar (swipe from the top / bottom or right-click) and select "block". Contacts can also be reported as spam. The performance improvements include loading speed and reliability across the app. For example, contacts are reported to load faster when accessed.

A number of minor fixes are also bundled in the update, including: 

  • In some cases, outgoing video was not displayed after switching camera in the Options menu
  • Calling In some cases, Skype displayed the wrong call error message when a call failed
  • Generic Skype occasionally crashed when clicking on the “info” menu option
  • Generic Skype crashed after typing “batch” into the IM input field
  • Calling It was not possible to switch between calls on hold

Unfortunate there's a known issue in version 1.6 for Windows 8. Should Skype be running in the background, call answering may not succeed in some cases. There's no workaround presently available, but we expect the team to be actively looking into the problem. We last looked at Skype on Windows back in February when the app was bumped to version 1.5.

It's quite a nice refresh to see applied to Microsoft's communication service. The company certainly has to pour more resources into the development of Skype on Windows platforms (including the Xbox console), especially since it's set to take over from Live Messenger as the main form of communication.  It's going to be interesting to see how the apps develop as time progresses.

You can download Skype from the Windows Store.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.