Microsoft begins to kill Skype Classic today, but two versions of Skype remain. Windows 10 includes a "Large App" version of Skype, which has fewer features than Skype for desktop, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft website.
Yes, there are two Skype Apps
There are two versions of Skype for Windows:
- "Skype for Windows 10" is included in Windows 10. It comes from the Windows Store. It is a UWP app, which means that it has different limitations, unlike old desktop applications. This is called a "Trusted Microsoft Store App" on the Start menu, and it has a Windows 10-style icon.
- "Skype for Windows" can be downloaded from the Microsoft Skype website. If you have Skype Classic installed, it will soon install this version of Skype on your system. It has extra features, as it does not need to handle the limitations in the UWP sandbox. This is called a "Desktop App" on the Start menu, and it has the traditional Skype bubble icon.
Here's what gets confusing: Both Skype apps are based on the new Skype 8 code and they are very similar. But the downloadable version has more features. You can install both on your system at the same time, and you can even run them both at once, side by side.
RELATED: Microsoft Kills Skype Classic on November 1st and this is why people are busy
How to Download Skype from Microsoft's Website
Microsoft really hides this download too ! To find it, you must go to the Skype download page.
The regular "Get Skype for Windows 10" option downloads the store version of Skype 8. To get the desktop version of Skype 8, you need to click down arrow next to the download button and select "Get Skype for Windows" under the different download options for Linux.
What's the difference?
At first glance, these apps look the same. They are both based on Skype 8, so it's sensible. But dig a little deeper, and you will notice differences.
For example, the desktop version of Skype offers more options. Under Settings> General, you can automatically start Skype at the Skype desktop at startup and keep it running in your notification area, also known as your system tray. The store version of Skype does not have these options.
The desktop version also offers Cortana features here. You can enable Cortana-suggested answers, expression symbols, and actions in Skype. You can also choose if you want this Cortana to have personal experience. The store version of Skype does not include these options for any reason.
If you upgrade from Skype Classic, the desktop version of Skype 8 can import your chat history. There is also an "Export chat history from Skype 7.x" under Settings> Notifications so that you can export the old chat history to a file on your computer if you want to keep it. But this option is only available on Skype for the desktop.
Settings Settings> Messages also offer an option that allows you to control your conversation text size, but only on Skype for desktop for any reason.
Only the desktop version of Skype 8 supports DirectShow camera inputs, which are required for applications such as Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and Xsplit.
Store version only supports camera entries with the new "Microsoft Media Foundation" platform. So, if the store version can not find a camera feed device you need, try downloading Skype for your desktop. (The traditional desktop version supports both types of inputs.)
Skype for the desktop also supports NDI, while Skype from the Store does not seem to have this option. This is a professional feature that can capture video from a network camera and use it as a video source in Skype, or even route a pre-recorded video to a Skype call. This option is available in Settings> Conversations> Skype Advanced for Desktop.
You can distinguish the difference between the two from the Settings> Help and Feedback screen. The Store app shows both a Skype version and an application version. The desktop app will only list a Skype version number.
When we wrote this, the version of Skype for the desktop was slightly newer than the version of Skype available through Store, so Microsoft may also update the desktop version more often.  Updates to the Store version are automatically installed via the Store app on Windows 10, while desktop version updates are delivered to traditional Windows desktop. You can go to Settings> Help and Feedback in the desktop version to see if a new version is available, and Skype automatically notifies you and invites you to install new versions when available.
Skype 8 is now as large everywhere, from Windows 7 to MacOS to Linux. There is also a preview of Skype for Web that matches the design now. Microsoft gets rid of the latest Skype 7 users and moves everyone to the new version.
Would you care about downloading desktop version?
Would you even like the desktop version to have more features? Well, maybe not. If you do not use any of these features, it might be good to buy the store version of Skype for you.
However, if you want more supported video sources, export for your saved messages, a Skype icon for your message area, the ability to launch Skype at startup and text size options, you must obtain Skype for desktop from the Microsoft website.
We wish Microsoft to do a better job to explain the differences between the two Skype programs. We found no official documentation about this so we had to dig through the two Skype programs to detect the differences.