Using the Windows Live Call button with Skype and other applications

Like a lot of people reading this, I’ve invested in various Microsoft headsets and webcams (some pretty good, some disappointing) but one thing in common with all of them is that they have a Windows Live Call button.

Out of the box and the software installed, pressing the button with bring up Windows Live Messenger’s contact list so you can start a call with your contacts.  Which is great for some people, but for me, the vast majority of my calls are made and received on Skype nowadays and the button has remained unused.

Introducing Skype Call Button
So, I created Skype Call Button.  Skype Call Button remaps the Windows Live Call button to operate with Skype or any other application you choose.  Additionally, when you receive a call in Skype, you can answer the call by just pressing the button.  I’ve been testing this functionality for over a month now, and being able just to throw my headset on and press the button to answer a call has vastly made life easier.

Click the download link below and run the executable to begin the installation.  The setup wizard will guide you through the necessary steps to install Skype Call Button.  After installation is complete, you will be prompted to unplug and plug your headset or webcam back in.  Alternatively if that isn’t possible, you can just reboot your computer or just continue on.  If you choose to just continue, both Messenger and Skype will appear when you press the button until you restart.  Finally, you will then need to authorize Skype Call Button to be used in your Skype client by opening up the main Skype window and choosing the Allow access button or in previous versions, choose Allow this program to use Skype radio button and choose OK.  This only needs to be done once.

Using and options
Skype Call Button will appear in the notification area and by default will automatically start up with your computer to monitor calls.  To access the options, just double-click on the icon. 

You can configure what Skype Call Button does when you press the button normally and what happens when you press the button during an incoming call.  Skype Call Button supports Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Call, and Office Communicator and you can switch the button to work in another application when you choose to.

Additionally, if you choose to not show the notification area icon, you can still access the options by choosing Skype Call Button from the Windows start menu.

Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
Both 32-bit or 64-bit supported
.NET Framework 2.0 or higher (checked during setup)
At least Lifechat 1.3 or Lifecam 2.0 (checked during setup)

Download Skype Call Button

Version history:
6/2/2009  Initial Release


Posted on June 2, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Hi Jonathan, I’m looking for a way to hook my application to the call button of Microsoft headsets – my application is a softphone and I’d like to react on key presses, i.e. hangup or answer whenever user pressed the call button. Unfortunately I can’t find any API for that.

    I hoped that your application uses some undocumented API to hook into this thing, and I could reverse-engineer it, but so far I couldn’t even install your app, as on my Windows 8.1 desktop the installer (setup_skypecallbutton.exe) complains that I haven’t installed Microsoft LifeChat or LifeCam, even though I have installed both (LifeCam 3.22 and LifeChat 1.4).

    Could you please explain how did you hook into the call button key pressed? What API did you use? I guess it wasn’t USB HID? Is there any higher level API ?

  2. Hi Jonathan, what is the API used in your application to hook into the call button events of Microsoft headsets?

  3. Hi Jonathan, what is the API used in your application to hook into the call button events of Microsoft headsets?

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