The Windows 8 Release Preview is a great improvement over the last two pre-release versions of Microsoft’s next big operating system. Metro-style apps like Music are much better than what was previously available, and desktop apps like MetroTwit finally work without compatibility problems. Unfortunately, the Release Preview also breaks a few desktops applications, particularly Skype. This could be a major issue if you rely heavily on Skype, as we do for the CrowdGadgets podcast.

Installing and running Skype for the first time on the Windows 8 Release Preview works as expected. Eventually, however, Skype will break down. The application loads correctly, but it stalls at the login screen, preventing you from actually using the app. This affects all accounts, and attempting to reinstall or update the application does nothing to fix the problem. Officially, there’s no way to fix this issue. “We are aware of this problem and will fix compatibility with a future update to Skype for Windows,” said Skype Community Manager Claudius. “Right now there’s no solution to get Skype working with Windows 8 Release Preview.” This is very unfortunate, especially given that Skype is a Microsoft product.

Unofficially, however, you can fix the problem by deleting a few files. According to Skype forum member bojanbozinovski, the workaround requires you to delete all of the files and folders which start with “shared” in the folder “C:\Users\<YourUserName>\AppData\Roaming\Skype.” Specifically, the folders “shared_dynco” and “shared_httpfe,” as well as the files “shared.lck” and “shared.xml.” Before deleting the files, make sure Skype is not running in the background. This can be done via the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + ESC). Select More Details and then look for “Skype (32 bit)” under the background processes heading. If it’s not there, you’re good to go.

This workaround seems to have fixed the issue even after multiple application and OS restarts. Of course, there’s always a chance that the problem could resurface. If that happens, simply delete the files again to continue using Skype. That being said, it’s quite annoying. Hopefully, Microsoft will fix the problem with an update in the near future.

[Skype Forums]