Skype 1.4 beta: better sound quality, call forwarding, personalization
It’s the day of the good news. We’ve just released Skype for Windows 1.4 beta as a [secondary download](http://www.skype.com/products/skype/windows). As usual, we recommend public betas only for advanced users and for testing — there are known issues but overall it should not break your computer or wreak havoc in some unknown way.
What’s new? Most importantly, significally improved call quality. We continue to work to maintain Skype’s leadership in defining how calls over the Internet should work and sound, and 1.4 is a major step forward on that path.
Featurewise there’s the über-requested **call forwarding**. This means that you can forward your incoming Skype-to-Skype and SkypeIn calls to either another Skype Name or to any landline or mobile phone. Yes — no more missed Skype calls! For forwarding calls to landline or mobile you need to have sufficient Skype balance available, but otherwise call forwarding itself is free and open to everyone.
You can do tons of cool stuff with forwarding — such as let your grandpa call you on your SkypeIn number. If you’re not around your computer, the call is automatically connected to your mobile, without the caller ever noticing the difference. Or, you can forward to multiple numbers and Skype Names, and the first one to pick up receives the call.
We’ve also spiced up Skype for those who’d like to see more personalized sounds, ringtones and pictures. You can get them from our webstore and the selection is certainly big. For now, this new service works only with Skype for Windows 1.4.
There are several improvements to search, adding contacts, Getting Started Wizard and finding contacts from your Outlook, Outlook Express and Opera address books. Following are some other changes you may find interesting in this version. Full list of changes is in the [change log](http://www.skype.com/products/skype/windows/changelog.html).
]]> ### New Skype buttons
Skype used the callto:// protocol for letting you call other Skype users. There wasn’t much you could do to for example view someone’s profile on the web, add him to your contact list or send him voicemail. Now you can! While nothing changes in callto:// support, Skype for Windows 1.4 introduces the more flexible skype:// schema. More details are upcoming Really Soon Now in our [Developer Blog](/sdp).
We also have new and cool Skype-Me button designs upcoming that you will naturally see first here on blogs.skype.com. Stay tuned.
As [Phil from Skype Journal put it a while ago](http://www.skypejournal.com/blog/archives/2005/05/accessible_skyp.php), “We can leave no Skyper behind”. We’ve made improvements in this version that make Skype more accessible to users with screen readers, by improving Skype’s support of MSAA (Microsoft Active Accessibility) standard. That work is not yet finished, and we hereby invite users of such programs to try this version and provide us feedback on what more we need to do to make Skype conveniently accessible to screen readers and other similar programs.
### Disabling Skype API and File Transfer features
We’ve had many businesses come to us with a line like “we like Skype, but we don’t want people to be able to send and receive documents using File Transfer because it can’t be intercepted by our antivirus gateways. This is why we’ve had to make a policy to not allow Skype at all on our premises, as unfortunate as it may be.”
Viruses are an acute and increasing risk these days. In order to make it easier for organizations to enforce their security and intellectual property protection policies, Skype for Windows 1.4 lets you disable the File Transfer feature and Skype API connections by having a special registry key. This is not only limited for businesses, of course — if you’ve got your grandma set up on Skype and are afraid someone may trick her into receiving a virus, you can disable these features for her too.
To disable Skype File Transfer, create a new key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwarePoliciesSkypePhone, key name “DisableFileTransfer”, type DWORD, value 1. After this, outgoing file transfers will not be available and incoming file transfers will be silently rejected.
To disable Skype API, create a new key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwarePoliciesSkypePhone, key name “DisableAPI”, type DWORD, value 1. After this, connection requests from all external Skype plugins and hardware will be ignored. (The location of the registry keys corresponds to Microsoft’s [Registry-based Policy Guidelines](http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/policy/policy/implementing_registry_based_policy.asp).)
To enable either feature again, just remove the corresponding registry key and restart Skype. Disabling File Transfer or API does not affect any other Skype features in any way.
### Disabling animated emoticons
Many users said “we like your emoticons, but having them animate all the time is kind of annoying”. So now you can disable emoticon animation.
### Autostart bugfix
In some cases, Skype refused to accept you disabling the “Start Skype when I start Windows” setting and switched to invincible-resurrecting-zombie mode, always starting even though you had told it not to. Fixed now — it humbly obeys.