If you are working in a large corporation such as (HP or HPE – Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE is the new splitted company brand name for the Software and Servers division of ex-HP) / IBM / Dell or any other company with the size of top fortune companies and you Computer Domain admistrator has forced your work PC to already use Skype for Business instead of the good tested Lync Client along with the goodies and PROS of having the newer Skype for Business (S4B) as usual for old fashened users like me and the avarage employee the New S4B interface will turn into nightmare with all this circled names and more buttons and the annoying Skype Blue Theme.
For anyone who has even basic idea of design and aesthetics, I believe the default Theme of Skype For Business will be evaluated as a serious "interface downgrade" compared to the simple looking Interface and White Skin of Lync Client.
With this said it will be logical for the end user like me to desire to customize a bit default S4B Skin to make it more elegant looking like Lync 2013 client but guess what there is a Surprise if you google around, Skype For Business just like the regular Skype client doesn't have integrated support for Skins / Themes.
To make the horror complete, many big corporations are choosing to migrate their Email infrastructure from the classical and well tested Windows Domain with Exchange Server to Microsoft Office 365 (Cloud services),
which makes the dependency on M$ products even bigger and in the long run control and spying on people's email and information (people's data security even worsers) as you know how hackable Windows prooved to be over the years.
Well for those who remember the good old times of IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and ICQ (I seek you) 🙂 and even Jabber when chatting emerged and boomed into popularity all the chat clients nomatter whether it was a free software under GPL / BSD license or it was a Proprietary licensed software, there was always alternative on the Interface Outlook of the Chat clients and on practically all popular Chat / Audio / Video communication Standards / Protocols, there used to be some option for the users to use either a different client or to customize the outook of the program.
Well now the big surprise with Skype Protocol which was purchased by Microsoft some years ago back is this terrible already M$ program doesn't have any option for changing the Theme and even basic customization besides the ones provided by default by Microsoft. For my surprise such a trivial and everybody used program like Skype with perhaps already 1.5 or 2 Billion or even more users doesn't have even basic support for customization !!!
To make the Skype program use horror story even worser Microsoft does upgrade the Skype client agressively and for the last 3 or 4 years Skype is owned by Microsoft the interface gets changing slightly or even completely with every next release.
Now with latest Skype versions since a 1.5 year or so the agressiveness of the program even increased further as it wants you to automatically upgrade, every time you run Skype.
With this in mind and the fact, I have to spend about 8 to 10 years on the PC with Skype for Business switched on on my notebook with no option to use Lync for communication because of the Domain Exchange forcing the changes to all of the users within our EMEA.
So after some serious digging on the Internet, the only work around to change the Skype For Business Theme available by a couple of sources is to Revert Back the Skype User Interface to Lync 2013 Client by changing a value to the Windows registry and get back the good old elegant Lync interface instead of S4B.
The Windows registry value that needs to be changed is:
The default value there is:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
The value has to be changed to:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
The value "EnableSkypeUI"=hex:01,00,00,00 – instructs so Skype for Business UI is used:
"EnableSkypeUI"=hex:00,00,00,00 – instructs S4B to revert back to Old Lync interface
For a little bit more on the value check out also articles – Alternate Between The Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business
and Managing the Skype Client UI in Skype for Business.
To modify about registry setting you will either have to manually run regedit from Start -> Run -> cmd.exe or use Windows button + R and type inside run box:
Or even better just use and Run (Click over twice) on this skype.reg (download) sciprt which will modify registry
Because the Domain administrator has forced a policy to automatically offer Change of Lync Interface to Skype for Business on every notebook boot to disable EnableSkypeUI registry value and make Skype appear in the good old Lync UI, I've created also a tiny Batch script lync_ui.bat with following content:
regedit /s skype.reg
You can download lync_ui.bat from here
Note that both skype.reg and lync_ui.bat should be existing in my case in C:\Users\georgi\scipts , change this path to whatever your username is and create scripts folder in your User Home dir.
If unsure about the home directory name you can check it from command prompt with:
C:\Users\georgi> echo %HOMEPATH%
To make the lync_ui.bat (script invoking skype.reg) be executed on every PC boot, you need to add it to:
Start -> All Programs -> StartUp
Well this is it now you will have back the Lync UI, Enjoy! 🙂