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Skype on Ubuntu


  • Skype is installed and kept up to date automatically on the Maths Ubuntu machines.
  • Download Skype for your laptop here.
  • If you require any hardware such as speakers, headphones or a webcam, please speak to Reception in the first instance. If they cannot supply what you need please email help@maths.

Configuring sound and Skype

Depending on your hardware, Skype may Just Work without any changes being required. However it is advisable to test Skype before using it for the first time on a new system. Skype can be found in the menus under Applications -> Internet, and the options to make a test call and check your video are in the "..." menu.

If this does not work properly then approach the problem in stages - the issue may be with your computer's sound rather than Skype.

  • First ensure that sound output is working.
  • Then check that your microphone is working.
  • Then try again to make a test call from Skype.

Configuring the microphone under Sound Settings

To configure sound and the microphone, click on the volume control icon and select "Sound Settings". A window titled Volume Control with five tabs will appear. The tabs which may need adjusting are the Output Devices and Input Devices tabs.

Sound output does not usually require configuration other than adjusting the volume. Check that it is working by playing an online video. If you experience problems you could try changing the Port in the Output Devices tab or clicking on the green tick so that the computer falls back to the correct device.

Sound input may require the correct microphone to be selected (under Port) and the volume (Front Left/Front Right - locked to each other by default) to be turned up. Speak into the microphone with the tab open and check that your voice is detected. Click on the green tick.

Try the Skype test call again.


  • If you are missing your volume control, run and log out and back in.
  • Some problems are solved by deleting your .Skype and .pulse directories.
  • One tester experienced a problem where he had to switch to the front microphone every time he logged in as the computer persisted in defaulting to the rear microphone. This kind of issue is more common on older computers and may be resolved by clicking on the green tick.
  • If the issue of the incorrect default microphone persists email help@maths.