How to completely remove all traces of Skype when uninstaller is broken

I have been going ALL DAY with a major Skype problem that just about pushed me over the edge. I’ve been near-Postal for the last couple hours.

I am putting up this post to save someone else’s sanity so they don’t have to go through what I just went through.

Here’s the problem:

This morning I load up Skype and get the message “Skype has encountered a problem and needs to be shut down.”

Pain in the ass, but these things happen. Problem is I get the message when I try a couple more times to load it up.

Bigger pain in the ass – so I figure I don’t have the latest version, why not just uninstall Skype 5.0 something and do a clean install of the latest version, right?

Wrong. Typical uninstall through control panel won’t work. The dreaded Windows alert comes up asking YOU where the Skype uninstaller is. When you see that – death is breathing down your back… you’re screwed.

OK – so I figure I’ll just download the latest version of Skype and it will take care of cleaning up the mess and install the latest version, you know, like ALL decent software does.

Guess again. “Cannot uninstall Skype 5.3” error 1638 and sometime during several attempts another 1600-level error.

I begin combing the Skype forums, Google, and everyplace I can find with the exact error text I’m getting. As expected, a bunch of remedial or unrelated solutions pop up. Nothing that helps me.

I now know I need to completely wipe every trace of Skype from my computer and that some remaining files are hiding somewhere, telling the new Skype installer there’s a copy already on the system. It’s trying to uninstall it and, well, we already know the regular uninstaller isn’t working. So it throws the error and asked me to contact my technical support group.

My WHAT? (If you are a software designer and you put this type of advice up in your error files, please include your physical address so I can send someone to your house to kill you!)

Files are hiding on your computer – Skype puts trillions upon trillions of files everywhere on your system.

Through the Skype forums I did all the manual crap they told me, so I know I got most of this thing off. But I was still getting the error.

I was so desperate, I actually put in a ticket to Skype support! Yeah. I know, right? (They still haven’t gotten back to me! Surprise and astonishment!)

The Solution: Completely and utterly wipe every single trace of Skype (or any other program for that matter) from your system with Perfect Uninstaller.

(Free download)

I’ve purchased a couple of different registry cleaners and other software that promise to clean up your computer and make it faster.  Most are junk.  (The best are ccleaner and PC Cleaner in my experience.)

So I wasn’t real crazy about the idea of paying $34 on the off chance this thing really did find and wipe out all traces of Skype.  But what choice did I have at this point?  Wait for Skype support to get back to me? LMAO!  Uh, no thanks.

I downloaded and installed Perfect Uninstaller, and it looks a lot like the uninstaller you have on Windows.  I was starting to get buyer’s remorse right there.  But I pointed it to the Skype files that I was so far unable to get rid of and told it to uninstall.

Then the first thing it tries to do is a regular uninstall.  I knew that wasn’t going to work before the Windows alert even came up “Please help us locate the uninstall file, click browse.”  Remember the kiss of death above?

Buyer’s remorse deepens.

I click cancel on the alert and try to remember where I put my gun.  But Perfect Uninstaller wasn’t done yet.  It still goes and scans the whole computer for traces of Skype and FINDS THEM!

I tell it “yes please kill any and all files please” and the sucker worked.  I went to the Skype installer for the 40th time today and the thing did NOT THROW AN ERROR.  I’m back on skype.  Miracles happen.

This solution came from software that works.  After hours (an entire afternoon) looking for help on forums and Google and Skype support that never came, it was software that won the day.

Perfect Installer costs money.  But it saved lives.  Because I was about to head out on my porch and get those kids off my lawn for good this time!

I can’t recommend this software enough and can’t wait till some other program gives me trouble like this because I can now just forcibly kill it with Perfect Uninstaller.

(It’s an affiliate link, but since I charge $150-$300 per hour for consulting and it took me 4 hours to deal with this problem, you’re getting off way easy!)  🙂


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Jack Humphrey

I've been free and thriving as a "digital nomad" for 20 years. And I've helped tens of thousands of people along the way to build and grow businesses that enable them to cut their own trail in life outside the conventional birth-school-work-grave life cycle so many are unfortunate to have to endure. If you meet me soon enough, your cycle could be birth-school-freedom. But it's never too late to break the cycle, either! If you are ready to take your business higher while increasing the time you have for living your biggest life, I just might be able to help you out.