Troubleshooting Skype

Here are a few of the most common problems which occur when using Skype and common solutions to these problems. If none of these solutions work, contact a helpful mLab employee at

1. "I can't hear the interviewee or they can't hear me:"

By far the most common problem. Start by checking if the microphone is working. Inside the audio / video preferences there is a bar which should respond when sound is made near the microphone. If you see a "spike" in this indicator, than the microphone on your side is working. If not, check that the audio device is set to the correct device, ensure the device is not muted, and that all cables running to and from the device. If the microphone is picking up sound, then the audio problem is on the contact's side. If they are using earbuds or a headset, ask them to temporarily disconnect it. If the problem persists, ask them to check their volume controls and sound device. Finally, if all else fails try switching the microphone. Most Apple computers have a built in microphone, as well as a selection of audio devices inside the mLab.

2. "The video looks awful and/or the audio is choppy:"

This is likely caused by a bad internet connection to the contact, most likely due to poor WiFi connectivity. Ensure that you are connected to the best WiFi available (generally Reed1X in favor of ReedXenia on Reed's network), or switch to an ethernet connection. If these solutions do not work, there is a setting to turn off the video part of the Skype chat which may clean up the audio by reducing strain on the connection. If the audio is still to choppy to understand, there is a conference phone available in the mLab which can be used to make a phone call instead.

3. "I can't get my laptop to project, or the projection itself has a problem:"

Check that the projector is set to the right input, then ensure all cables are tightly connected, especially on the projector side. Next, check the display settings on the computer itself. If the computer recognizes there is another display, you can set various options. Generally setting the display type to "Duplicate" is the best choice, and changing the resolution may resolve certain problems. If none of these fixes work, the mLab has a projection computer with an HDMI hookup that will work.

4. "The interviewee can't find my contact request or I can't find their Skype account:"

Give the interviewee the mLab account; account details can be acquired by sending an email to

5. "The instructions were unclear or didn't work, or I have a problem not covered:"

Ask an mLab attendant if one is on duty, or contact us at