Skype Error 1603 – fixed!

Normally I only write about SharePoint on this blog, but my recent experiences trying to setup Skype for a friend have been such that I want to share the problems and the solution with a wider audience.


Skype v3.6 is up and running on a laptop – operating system Windows XP Professional.  User is being encouraged by Skype to upgrade to the latest version (4.2).  User downloads the file from Skype and runs it – immediately the system reports – “Cannot remove  older version 3.8”  – where did version 3.8 come from?  After much searching on the Skype site and other web resources I had to:

  • Run a special version of the Windows Installer to un-install Skype
  • Manually edit the Registry to remove all (several hundred!) references to Skype,
  • Remove all files on C drive with Skpye anywhere in the name

Having done all this I retried installing Skype v4.2 – this time I had the same error message plus a Error 1603 message.

Skype’s support system was terrible – all it could do is send a standard auto generated message designed to look as though it was produced by a human, repeating the same mantra as before.  Following that mantra to the letter did not work and they clearly had no other suggestions to make – apart from “try v5.0 (beta)” – that too did not work and generated the same error messages!!


I decided to try another route – what happens if I re-install v3.6 and then upgrade to v5.0?  Result – it worked!!!

My guess is that the Windows Installer is still looking at some other invisible file content that relates to the previous version of Skype and as long as that reference exists it will insist on having it un-installed before allowing the next version to be installed.  By re-installing a clean version of the original software it reset all the necessary file and registry entries.  This may or may not work for you but it did work for me.

My thanks also goes to – a splendid website that has copies of all the old versions of Skype available for free download.  A great resource….

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2 Responses to Skype Error 1603 – fixed!

  1. MK from Tokyo, Japan says:


    One of my colleagues who is not very familiar with computer had a same problems and asked me to fix it, however I have never used skype myself, so I tried very hard to find the solution on the net and finally found this site.

    all the problems has been solved and thanks again for your help!!

  2. Green says:

    Thanks for the link. I couldnt install the latest version of Skype (code 1603) but I could install version 3,6, If needed I will update later.
    Thanks a million, your experience was precious!!

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