Why is quitting Skype so difficult on Windows 10?

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 8, 2019

Skype is still a popular application, especially on Windows 10 and in business environments. While I cannot say that Microsoft does its best to improve Skype and increase the application's popularity, it seems fairly common that one or the other version of Skype is installed on Windows PCs.

I noticed Skype running on a Windows 10 Professional PC that I use occasionally only. The Skype icon was displayed in the System Tray area indicating that Skype was running.

no close skype menu

A right-click on the icon displayed several options but no option to quit Skype. Skype listed two options -- to open Skype or the Skype Settings -- and informed me that there were not any unread conversations.


With no option to exit Skype from the System Tray area, I decided to open Skype to find the quit option there.

skype no close

First thing I tried was to click on the close icon in the titlebar. This minimized Skype but did not terminate the process.

No close or exit option was displayed anywhere. I checked the menu -- no luck -- and the profile icon -- nothing either; in short: Microsoft's Skype team created a software program that you cannot close anymore after it opens automatically or you launch it; at least not in an easy to understand way.

There are two options, however, to close Skype on Windows 10 after it has been opened on the system.

The first kills the Skype processes in the Windows Task Manager; far from ideal, but better than not being able to close Skype at all.

The other solution is actually integrated in Skype, but it is not super comfortable either. What you have to do is sign-out of Skype.

You can do so with a click on the profile icon in the Skype software and there on the Sign out link. Signing out keeps Skype open and if you don't investigate further, you could come to the conclusion that it does not change anything in regards to closing Skype.

If you right-click on the Skype icon in the system tray now, however, you will notice that it has a quit Skype option. That option is only available for signed out users, apparently.

quit skype

Just select Quit Skype from the menu to terminate the program for good. Downside to the method is that you need to sign in to Skype again if you need to use it; not a problem for users who use it once or twice a year, but a problem for users who use it regularly.

Closing Words

It is rather interesting that Microsoft's Skype team changes the century old function of the close button. While Microsoft is not the first company to do that, it should have added an option to close Skype to the application as it is a much requested feature by users of the communication software.

I don't know why Microsoft decided to remove all exit options, at least the visible or natural ones, from Skype. What is your take on that?

Now You: Do you use Skype?

Why is quitting Skype so difficult on Windows 10?
Article Name
Why is quitting Skype so difficult on Windows 10?
Find out why it is difficult to quit Skype on Windows 10, and how to terminate the program on devices running the operating system.
Ghacks Technology News

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Davin Peterson said on February 8, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Last week, I noticed Skype had started up when Windows 10 loaded. I looked in the settings and their is no option to turn if off from loading. The only way to do so was to sign out of Skype

    1. Bobby Phoenix said on February 8, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      Exactly what happened to me. For a second I thought I was hacked. Well I guess I was by MS.

    2. Brian S Wilson said on February 10, 2019 at 3:59 am

      Since Skype 8 is a big step backwards in terms of functionality, I’ve just decided to drop it all together. Frankly it just isn’t worth the bother any more.

      1. Anonymous said on March 6, 2019 at 7:54 pm

        Well said! I’ll be doing the same. Skype’s UI has gotten so bad over the years. It’s full of bullshit and it’s nagware.

  2. fxg said on February 8, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    kill it from ever autostarting in the first place and don’t use it

    1. Some guy said on March 15, 2019 at 6:23 pm

      They changed it in the last windows patch, so that preventing it from autostarting no longer works. The OS now automatically starts it even with startup disabled per task manager.

  3. pHROZEN gHOST said on February 8, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    There is an easy way to quit it. Just uninstall it.

    1. Anonymous said on June 4, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      This was what I just did, the taskbar icon no longer had the quit option so I uninstalled it.

  4. chesscanoe said on February 8, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    I do not experience the problems Martin describes as I run Skype Desktop under Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.17763.292]. I do not like Skype’s “People you may know” feature as I consider it a privacy concern but I have the function turned off. I use it primarily for texting and sharing URLs and photos, and it works very well for me.

    1. Yan said on February 8, 2019 at 5:42 pm

      Your comment about privacy is interesting. Do you know anything about how “People you may know” actually works?

    2. VioletMoon said on February 8, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      Same here . . . running 8.38 and have no problems like Martin claims. Once I shut off Skype by a click on the X in the corner, Skype shuts down–doesn’t even go to the tray. Doesn’t show as running in Task Manager.

      No hint of it running anywhere. No trickery by disabling autostart. There is a setting under General. And loads of settings to turn off for privacy, but, as far as “why is it so hard to turn off Skype,” I think users may be missing something.

      I’ve never had such a problem with Skype. No need to log in again once I’m logged in. I use a local log in for Windows 10, not an account log in.

  5. Rui Castro said on February 8, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    I’m guessing Microsoft is still doing what Skype used to do. Even if your are not using Skype, your computer is a node for it’s network. I’m guessing that’s why they don’t what you to turn it off from running in memory. This is the secret for the good quality that Skype has, it’s like a torrent, each node is a seed for a call from someone near to you. Anyways this was what I heard it did in the past.

    1. Anonymous said on February 8, 2019 at 5:12 pm

      Ten years ago, Skype call quality was the best among the competitors. It’s because the competitors were just bad in that area. Nowadays other messengers already have the same or even better call quality than Skype. My personal opinion, Jitsi is the best when it comes to call quality.

    2. John Fenderson said on February 8, 2019 at 6:29 pm

      @Rui Castro:

      I believe that’s how Skype worked back when it was peer-to-peer. Microsoft changed that to a client-server model, though, so doubt (but don’t know) that it still has that sort of requirement.

    3. Doc said on February 10, 2019 at 6:40 am

      One of the first things Microsoft did when they bought Skype was set up servers to remove the “node”/”supernode” function of Skype.

  6. Laan said on February 8, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    JavaScript developers are paid with the revenue generated by trackers and ads, so it’ normal they don’t want to let people quitting Skype easily.

  7. Sophie said on February 8, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Have not touched Skype since Microsoft bought it. Much prefer to use the very excellent “Line App” from Japan, which does the job perfectly, collects no obvious data, does not autostart, and serves no Ads.

    Seriously…Microsoft have lost every ounce of respect I once had for them. Wouldn’t trust them to BBQ my summer sausages or turn the lights out last thing.

    1. Anonymous said on February 8, 2019 at 5:17 pm

      I wonder why people are not using LINE.. It has desktop application that’s not Electron(Skype, Discord), and it does not need phone to use the app(Whatsapp), it also allow you to use the app without phone number(Signal, Telegram). LINE is superior in every aspects in my opinion.

  8. Dave said on February 8, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    I tried skype once. Getting it off my PC wasn’t hard for me being an advanced user but, getting my account deleted was a nightmare.

    You’d think a “phone” app would have support you could call, they do not. Well, at least not until after weeks of agonizing email interactions with the usual form letter spewing call center employee you end up getting that has no more technical skill then that required to be a cashier at a fast food drive up window.

    Finally after several escelations, I got a live person on the phone, apparently that cashier I mentioned, and a few more escelations after that, I finally reached someone who seperated my hotmail account from my skype account and deleted the skype account in about 30 seconds.

  9. ilev said on February 8, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    “I don’t know why Microsoft decided to remove all exit options”…

    This way Microsoft can brag that they have hundred of millions users using Skype every day.

  10. CrazyMax said on February 8, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    Or switch to Skype Portable : https://portapps.github.io/app/skype-portable/ :)

    1. JLD said on March 17, 2019 at 5:03 pm

      Legend, intrusive software like that needs to get off my pc immediately! Cheers

  11. Decent60 said on February 8, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Last week, despite blocking 70% of all call backs to Microsoft (the remaining 30% were essential to make the program run), it told me I had to upgrade Skype or else it would just close on me. I was still rocking 7.41, which allowed for hotkeys to be used and custom settings. Now that I’m on 8.3 or something like that, it’s a just horrible look and feel. I’ve finally got enough reasons to just drop Skype completely. I’m primarily using Discord and while it’s not the exact over-all functions that I want, it’s still more usable than Skype will be anymore.

  12. ULBoom said on February 8, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    The basic functionality of so much software has maxed out, companies are relentlessly pounding on “features,” usually ones designed to collect user data they can sell or use to further mess up their software. MS has been such an industry leading bunch of screw ups for the last few years, I doubt they have any cohesive plan around what to do with all the info they collect; I mean their software blows, data analysis has to be close behind!

    No, I don’t use skype, it was uninstalled day one on all our devices but this could be just a button they removed in error. We’ll get some face saving reason why it was removed presciently for compatibility with their upcoming chromedge browser or some other improbable nonsense and why it will remain missing.

  13. Bart from Holland said on February 8, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    Found This:

    Minimize all windows

    Right-click the empty section of the desktop and select New = > Shortcut

    Type this in the window that opens: taskkill.exe /IM skype.exe /T and hit Enter (or click on ‘Next’)

    Type in the name for the shortcut (my usual name is SkypeKill) and click ‘Finish’ (or hit Enter)

    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


  14. Weilan said on February 8, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    I think Microsoft’s goal is to make all their products impossibly hard to use and on the side do a psychological experiment to see how many people will be OK with this, how many will be pissed off and how many fanboy white knights will actually defend Microsoft and claim that it’s better than actually giving people choice.

  15. Jojo said on February 8, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    I like Skype for what I use it for, which is a substitute for an outgoing only VOIP phone. I pay $8.52/3 months for unlimited outbound calling to any telephone in USA/Canada. Works pretty good. Mostly very good connections.

    I do this because I have an old (cheap) cellphone plan that limits my cellphone calls to 100 minutes monthly.

    The UI sucks on Skype as does the usual Microsoft customer driven 1st level support.

    btw: I am on Win 10 Pro and when I right-click on the Skype icon in my tray, I have a “Quit Skype” option.

  16. Alex said on February 8, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    That looks like the Skype Store app you are using there, Martin. Remove that thing and use Skype 8, the familiar ‘quit from tray’ option is there.

    1. Rick said on February 9, 2019 at 8:26 pm

      Agreed. And the desktop version also gives you the ability not to have it startup automatically at all (including any tasks in memory related to Skype). The desktop tray icon also gives you more functionality, like status changing. The Store app tray icon is more of a faux one, a glorified shortcut for a suspended program.

      Uninstalling the Store app and installing the desktop version is usually my first piece of advice these days when it comes to Skype.

      1. Duc said on May 13, 2019 at 9:37 pm

        I use 8.44 with win10 home and it doesn’t have any quit option when right-clicking in the system tray, logged in or not.

        Even worse, a few hours after I killed the 3 skype-related processes, skype LAUNCHED ON ITS OWN, without me rebooting the comp or anything… I’ve never seen such an intrusive behavior in a “legit’ software.
        This is virus-grade shit.

  17. Dave P. said on February 8, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    I suddenly found Skype in MY notification area on one of my three Win 10 pro. machines and I’m none too sure why this is, as I have used the Group Policy Editor to restrict updates, after numerous problems with them and I wasn’t even aware that Skype was running . Seemed almost impossible to stop, as per. the article. Used task manager, and, as I don’t use Skype, I uninstalled it, using Advanced System Care under their “Windows Programs” section.

  18. Benjamin said on February 9, 2019 at 9:22 am

    …this rather small example shows how much these corporate interests dicatate all our lives in ways that become more and more distopian… in short, they need to be regulated to advance society and not only their shareholders…

  19. didier said on February 9, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    why still using Skype ?
    Wire is the best application..https://wire.com/en/

    1. chesscanoe said on February 9, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      Why use wire.com? Skype Desktop under Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.17763.292] is free and allows encrypted chats when you click on “Private” when viewing a contact chat.

  20. Doc said on February 10, 2019 at 6:43 am

    I love all the “uninstall it” comments. Not an option if your company runs all its messaging through Skype…
    I also have absolutely none of Martin’s problems when using the Windows Desktop version of Skype 8.

  21. Jeff said on February 10, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Smart people use Google Duo or WhatsApp. Dumbos still use Skype.

  22. Bobo said on February 10, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Because Skype and all things Redmond and Windows 10 are controlled by NSA. That’s why.

  23. bill williams said on February 20, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Was a paid skype user for a decade, once MS bought it and started changing the functionality, eventually I dropped paying for skype and using it all together. Now I just uninstall it from windows whenever Microsoft rolls out a new windows version and reinstalls Skype (which they do with any major update).

    It borders on malware the way Microsoft forces Skype onto your OS, permissions level, and how it autoruns.

    1. chesscanoe said on February 20, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      If you run Skype for Desktop (not from Microsoft Store) under Windows 10, and review all settings for your definition of the way Skype should work at every Skype version update, most if not all Skype problems and concerns disappear.

  24. Tomek said on April 3, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    I’m using a short batch script to close Skype processes:
    @echo off
    taskkill /F /T /IM “SkypeApp.exe”
    taskkill /F /T /IM “SkypeBackgroundHost.exe”
    taskkill /F /T /IM “SkypeBridge.exe”

  25. Andy said on April 8, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    There are 2 different downloads for skype: “Windows 10” (the default) and “Windows”.

    The first option (Win10) is the one you CANNOT QUIT and appears to install through the Windows Store.
    The 2nd version is the desktop version and CAN QUIT by right-clicking on the tray icon.

  26. Tim B said on April 13, 2019 at 6:38 am

    Just updated to desktop Skype on Win 10 Pro.
    Previously closing Skype with “x” only minimized it to the taskbar and I had to right-click & “Quit” to close Skype completely.
    Now at least on my desktop pc, it appears Microsoft has reversed it – Quit means minimize/run in background while “x” means exit Skype completely.
    If this is true and that’s what MS has changed, I can only say wtF!

  27. Anonymous said on April 13, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    Are Microsoft ever NOT total jerks?

  28. Alex said on May 2, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    @Rick there’s a problem I’m having with Skype 8 (since its release) is that it keeps forgetting the credentials and I have to regularly re-enter the password. It’s infuriating. I haven’t tested the W10 app to see if it behaves similarly.

    I suspect it has something to do with the Microsoft/Skype accounts mix-up. No solution for months though.

  29. Aaron said on May 5, 2019 at 10:25 am

    This problem only happens on my Surface Pro 4 copy. The version on my work computer has that option + status menu. I really don’t understand the UX design process for Microsoft, or at least the Skype team.

    Meeting agenda: How can we make users’ lives more difficult?

  30. Dan said on May 14, 2019 at 8:06 am

    I have voiceattack. I just set it up to close all tasks associated when I say “close all shit programs”, as there are a few I have like the new Skype. I’m tired of this shit, but I fighting it.

  31. Greg said on May 21, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Now in Skype version you can’t even exit with sign out anymore.

  32. jiimy8me said on May 22, 2019 at 3:47 am

    tried this but no more can you close once signed out. guess they figured out how people could close and removed that function… :|

  33. Anonymous said on May 30, 2019 at 4:30 am

    Yall crazy if you’re still using $kype my M$.. Check out https://rocket.chat/ — Its free, open source, encrypted, private, and sooo, soo much better than Skype!

  34. Anonymous said on May 30, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    There are several versions of Skype, each for different platforms, MAC, Linux, Mobile, etc. There are 2 version for Windows, Skype for Windows and Skype for Windows 10. The Skype for Windows 10 is the version you get from the Microsoft Store and is the typical crappy App version of the program. This is the one that does not allow you to quit. If you uninstall that then install Skype for Windows, this being the true Windows desktop program, you will have the Quit option. And, as is with ALL real programs, there are several more options. Because Apps are generally designed to be used on phones and tablets, small touch screen, low memory, weaker CPU devices in general, they are generally limited to the most essential features/options, otherwise they become too difficult to use on the small device.

  35. Anonymous said on May 31, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    This isn’t an option anymore, there is no ‘quit’ option on the tray once you’ve signed out. I hate microsoft, the slimy bastards.

  36. Pete said on June 21, 2019 at 8:45 am

    If you need ad money start using Brave browser

  37. Manish said on August 23, 2019 at 8:13 am

    No need to sign out, just open task manager and kill the Skype app.

  38. Graham said on February 15, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    So complicated to use MS accounts for Skype that I’m uninstalling it.

  39. darren n wilson said on August 5, 2020 at 1:41 am

    Maybe this has been mentioned before, but there is a “Quit” option under the “File” menu. You may need to show menu in order to find it. I found the show menu option by clicking the down arrow next to the settings (gear) icon on the top right of the Skype window. Seems to be a real quit, because I don’t get the stupid notification that Skype will remain running in the background.

  40. Fuzuki said on December 3, 2020 at 10:29 am


  41. Fulu said on December 11, 2020 at 9:45 am

    The configuration of Skype forces the app to remain active and run in the background even when not in use. This ensures that you are always available to receive incoming calls and messages when your computer is on. Hence, it is difficult to quit Skype on Windows 10.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.