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.

Installation
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.

Requirements
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)
Skype

Download Skype Call Button

Version history:
6/2/2009  1.0.0.0  Initial Release

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Posted on June 2, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. Thank you so much for the app, works great. Im using this for my elderly parents so it makes it a bit easier for them. Great work, and thanks again.

    Was hoping it would have an option to answer calls with video right away, that would be amazing.

    • Greetings Al. Ah, I admit I don’t use Skype that often with video myself so I never thought to add that in. I’ve added it to my list of features for the next release (whenever I get to finishing that).

      Also, nice to hear of great uses for this, I appreciate it :p

      • I too would be interested in an option to answer with video. This would help out my grandparents tremendously!

        Are you still developing a new release, or pretty much just leaving it as is?

        The answer with voice works great!

        • Wow, I’m really pleased people find this useful.

          But yes, a new release is pending actually with a few bug fixes and some small features I’ve done over the years, like the video option. This still needs some testing but I’m thinking some time near the end of the month or beginning of the next hopefully.

          • Any news on the answer with video option? Thanks!

            • Well I’ve been debating this myself recently because Microsoft has announced they’re discontinuing allowing software to access Skype (officially anyway) by the end of this year, which means no more add-ons or additional software will work. In other words, if you continue to update Skype, the Call Button software will just stop working one day in the near future. Luckily Call Button isn’t that complex Skype-wise there may be some trickery that may get around this, but it might be difficult to keep working. Alternatively, I could just force users to use older versions. What would be your preference going forward?

  2. As soon as I saw that “only works with Microsoft” guff I just knew a bright person somewhere would have resolved it. Well done, sir!

  3. Please help me, I bought LX-6000 and my Call Button is not working, tried your software and it doesn’t help. I have windows 8 x64. Are you still working on updating this?

    • Greetings. Yes, Call Button is in need of some love. However, before I go spending hours researching this, can you be more specific as to what doesn’t work? I’m assuming based on your question that on its own, pressing the button does not work – that is, Messenger doesn’t come up (although you’ll need to install a Messenger client first presumably). Any error messages that appear would be great to know as well.

      Also, as a follow-up question – do you actually use the LX-6000 for audio calls in general? Due to a series of unfortunate events, I actually own two of them and I find them the quality completely unusable.

    • When pressing the button nothing happens, on the box says windows 8 ready, skype certified, blabla. That button was made to answer calls, I’m using Skype latest version. Thank you!

      • Well I was able to confirm that out of the box with the LifeChat software the button doesn’t appear to do anything for me on Windows 8, but installing Skype Call Button still works to make the button do something. I am however using Windows 8 32-bit to test and a LX3000, I’ll perhaps try 64-bit and charge of a LX6000 later however I can see no real reason why it would be any different in this case.

        I realize this sounds ridiculous but you do have both the LifeChat and Skype Call Button installed? And you rebooted after installation (or unplugged and plugged back in the wireless receiver)?
        Also, based on your IP address, are you using the Italian version of Windows?

  4. Jonathan :
    Well I was able to confirm that out of the box with the LifeChat software the button doesn’t appear to do anything for me on Windows 8, but installing Skype Call Button still works to make the button do something. I am however using Windows 8 32-bit to test and a LX3000, I’ll perhaps try 64-bit and charge of a LX6000 later however I can see no real reason why it would be any different in this case.
    I realize this sounds ridiculous but you do have both the LifeChat and Skype Call Button installed? And you rebooted after installation (or unplugged and plugged back in the wireless receiver)?
    Also, based on your IP address, are you using the Italian version of Windows?

    damn, fuck microsoft, tried teh button in a virtual machine with windows 7 x64 and same, the light on the button works but the button does nothing.

  5. Any news?

  6. I’m afraid the button does not work for me. The error message I received was:

    Stopped working

    Problem signature:
    Problem Event Name: CLR20r3
    Problem Signature 01: skypecallbutton.exe
    Problem Signature 02: 1.0.0.0
    Problem Signature 03: 4a2445bc
    Problem Signature 04: SkypeCallButton
    Problem Signature 05: 1.0.0.0
    Problem Signature 06: 4a2445bc
    Problem Signature 07: 41
    Problem Signature 08: 86
    Problem Signature 09: PSZQOADHX1U5ZAHBHOHGHLDGIY4QIXHX
    OS Version: 6.1.7601.2.1.0.256.1
    Locale ID: 3081

    Read our privacy statement online:
    http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=104288&clcid=0x0409

    If the online privacy statement is not available, please read our privacy statement offline:
    C:\Windows\system32\en-US\erofflps.txt

    Hopefully this will get updated cuz it would really help me out a lot 😀 Thanks!

  7. 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 ?

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

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

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