Need to keep an audio archive of your Skype calls? Here's a fast and free way to do it.
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
For many Windows users, Skype is the go-to Internet phone service. With it you can make free Skype-to-Skype calls around the world. And calls from your PC can go to not just other PCs, but also tablets, smartphones and landlines.
Skype is also a popular tool among podcasters, who use it for chats with co-hosts, interviews with guests and so on.
Needless to say, there are any number of reasons you might want to record your Skype calls. Alas, the Windows client doesn't offer that capability, but there are some free tools that do.
I'm going to discuss two of them. First up is DVDVideosoft's Free Video Call Recorder for Skype, a simple but effective utility that can record video or, if you prefer, just audio. True to its name, it's free -- and not just for personal use, but commercial use as well.
That's a big plus if you're one of the aforementioned podcasters. However, I discovered one unfortunate catch: Although I was careful during installation to opt out of the shovel-ware extras Free Video Call Recorder wanted to install, I still ended up with a bit of sneak-ware -- a search engine that had weaseled its way into my browser.
It wasn't an outright virus, and I had no trouble removing it from my PC, but it sure left a bad taste in my mouth. I understand "free" software isn't always free, but don't be sneaky about it. I'd much rather have a feature-limited version with an option to upgrade.
Which brings me to MP3 Skype Recorder 4.20, a freeware, adware-free recording utility that -- as you've probably guessed -- saves your Skype audio in MP3 format. It's actually a little more robust than the DVDVideosoft program, with features like auto-start and -stop.
However, it's free for personal use only. If you have commercial plans for your recording (like podcasting), the Pro version costs 7 GBP (or about $10 US). To my thinking that's pretty cheap.
Both programs work more or less the same way: Choose your recording format(s), set the output folder, then click Record when you want to start recording (or let MP3 Skype Recorder start for you when you get on your call). When you're done, you'll have an audio or video you can use as needed. Easy-peasy.
If you've found another Skype recorder that's free, by all means name it in the comments!