Disable Skype’s forced updates

The Problem

Older versions of Skype (e.g. 3.6 or 3.8) are being forced to update, with a message which states “Skype must be updated now for security reasons”.

The Cause

Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Skype has meant an increased number of updates. If you’re like me, the necessity and legitimacy of these updates is questionable. Skype automatically downloads these updates in the background to your temp folder.

The Solution

This solution has several parts:

  1. Skype settings to prevent automatic updatesDisable Auto-Update in Skype’s settings.
    If you can still access and use Skype, go to Tools -> Options -> Advanced and ensure the auto-update boxes are all unticked.
  2. Block Skype’s update server using your computer’s hosts file.
    To do this, navigate to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc and open up the file called “hosts” using a text editor.
    Enter the following on a new line at the bottom of the file:

    127.0.0.1   ui.skype.com

    Make sure you enter this on a new line at the bottom, not an existing line, and the line should not begin with a # symbol.

  3. Prevent Skype from sneakily downloading update files in the background.
    Skype downloads updates silently (and sneakily) to your temp folder. To ensure it can no longer do this:
    – Navigate to %temp%
    – Delete SkypeSetup.exe
    – Create a new blank text file in Notepad, and use File -> Save As to save it as SkypeSetup.exe
    – Right click your new file, choose Properties -> Security -> Advanced -> Change permissions -> Add -> type “Everyone” -> Choose “Deny” -> OK -> OK

Done.