I use Skype on Windows 10. Skype frequently automatically installs updated versions of itself. Whenever it does such an update, it recreates a shortcut (icon) for Skype on the desktop. How do I make the desktop shortcut not reappear without disabling the updates themselves?

I am using Windows 10 Pro, 64-bit (x86_64) version. I am currently running Skype version by Microsoft. I have Windows administrator privilages on this computer. It's hard to get more specific version information for skype, but I think this is the personal version (not the business one), and the version that is composed of a traditional windows program and a metro-style windows app. Skype was installed by a dedicated part-time sysadmin.

The machine also has what appears to be the business version of Skype installed, and may have been installed with Office 365 Business (that one is definitely installed on the machine). I believe I'm not using it: I started it once, but then requested the consumer version, because the business version doesn't let me use my pre-existing old Skype account. I don't think that's the one I'm running, and I definitely don't think it's the one that creates the desktop shortcut: the desktop program is "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft\Skype for Desktop\Skype.exe" which is where the desktop shortcut points to, the business program is "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\lync.exe".

All the main functionalities of Skype seem to work: I can start or receive Skype voice calls, they carry voice in both directions, I can switch between different microphone and speaker devices, I can invite new Skype users, use text chat, and I can share my screen image during a voice call. (I haven't tried video chat or receiving shared screen from this computer.) Also, many people I am in contact with already use Skype. Thus, I want to continue using Skype. Although I know of alternative software I could use, please don't propose them as answers for this question.

This notebook computer is connected to the internet most of the time it's running, from behind a NAT. I use the notebook for many purposes and access other internet services besides Skype. I do not want to disable updating Skype, because that could leave security bugs open for too much. So please don't give answers that would disable the updates.

The shortcut is created on the global (not user-local) desktop, the filename is "C:\Users\Public\Desktop\Skype.lnk". I don't like desktop shortcut icons, especially not ones that installed programs create without my request. Most installers of other Windows programs ask whether to create the desktop shortcut during the installation process, and for other installers, it's enough to remove the desktop icon once and it never gets recreated. A desktop icon for Skype is also superfluous on this computer, because I have Skype set up to start on login, and rarely quit it.

Update 2019-10: it looks like this bug was fixed on Skype's side now. Delete the shortcut once, and the updater doesn't recreate it anymore.

  • 2
    Are you using the desktop ("classic"/win32) or UWP (store) version of Skype? "the version that is composed of a traditional windows program and a metro-style windows app" implies you have ... both? Last I checked they're separate. – Bob Sep 4 '18 at 11:48
  • @Bob: I don't know what I'm using. Another admin installed Skype on the machine. Do you have a specific procedure for checking which version I have? Should I make screenshots? – b_jonas Sep 4 '18 at 11:59
  • Click the 3 horizontal dots (menu) => About this version for UWP, or the 3 horizontal dots => Help and feedback for desktop. UWP is currently on 12.x, Desktop is currently on 8.29. – Bob Sep 4 '18 at 12:16
  • Wait. Another admin? Is this a business machine? Are you talking normal consumer Skype, or Skype for Business (which is Lync rebranded, a separate application that comes with Office 365 for business)? – Bob Sep 4 '18 at 12:17
  • @Bob This is a workstation I use exclusively for my job at a small business, the HW and OS is owned by the company but I'm the only user and do most of the user sysadmin tasks. There's a co-worker who is part-time dedicated sysadmin, he installed Windows to the machine, and installed Skype on my request. I think it's not Skype for Business, but consumer Skype, but I'm not sure. – b_jonas Sep 4 '18 at 12:32

A solution that works regardless which Skype version is installed (or even if the update does not have the option to create a shortcut) would be to start Skype on a useraccount that does NOT have the right to create new files on the desktop.

Basically you add a user with no write access to the desktop folder and then you start Skype with those limited rights (you still will logged on as your regular user, you won't use the restricted account to log on).

  • add a new user account which will be the restricted account

  • restrict the new user account's not to write to the desktop folder for "all users": C:\Users\Public\Desktop. Right click on the folder, choose properties, choose the tab "security" and remove the write access (change it from allowed to denied). You can remove access to any other user's desktop in the same way through C:\Users\USERNAME\Desktop.

    enter image description here

    Alternatively you can just restrict the access to create new files by using the "advanced"-button in the security tab of the folder (you have to click on the link "show advanced access" in the top right corner):

    enter image description here

  • Then, start the skype with those user's rights. You can - for example - use PsExec.exe to do that or Process Explorer, here's how. One of those two you will have to download from the Microsoft website, if you don't have them already.

PS. sorry for the German screenshots currently I don't have English OS installed.

  • I will try something like this. But I believe that it's not the Skype process itself that's installing the shortcut, but the auto-updater, which I think runs with administrator privilages, so I don't think that limiting the permissions of the Skype process itself will help. – b_jonas Oct 18 '18 at 17:46
  • @b_jonas The auto-updater can't have more rights then skype which (as far as I understand) starts the auto-updater. Unless you manually assign it more rights, it "should" work (I hope). Let me know and don't forget to assign the bounty (unless you don't wont to assign it). – Albin Oct 18 '18 at 17:55
  • Skype is installed on this computer for all users, so the auto-updater has to be able to update it for all users. I think it needs some admin privilages for that. Would I have to reinstall Skype for just one user? – b_jonas Oct 18 '18 at 17:58
  • @b_jonas No, that shouldn't make any difference. Skype is still has "admin rights" (if it's started by a "restricted user" with admin rights), it's just not allowed to write to the Desktop folder for all users (because the user who started it doesn't have this right) but it still can access all the other folders. – Albin Oct 18 '18 at 18:07

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