(Classic) Skype not logging you in when using MFA as primary authentication

With the beginning of the new year, I tried to give the new Skype a chance, so I removed the classic version and took the new one for a test. I promised myself I will be patient this time, even though it was immediately visible how incomplete the product was. Well, few weeks later and a newer version, I finally had enough of this crap.

So back to Classic Skype then. I installed the latest version available and was immediately greeted with some login issues. Since the account I use is now associated with my Microsoft ID, and since I have two-factor authentication enabled on the account and actually configured Azure MFA as primary auth factor, after entering my username I received the familiar login prompt via the Authenticator app. Then, Skype simply started showing the progress indicator over a blank window. And keep doing this forever. No error message, no nothing. Talk about good user experience.

Anyhow, after trying few more times and getting nowhere, I decided to try the good old fashioned method of login via username and password instead. Only to run into an even crappier experience – the moment I pressed the “use password” link, the embedded IE instance used for the login process threw in a JavaScript related error:

JavaScript required to sign in

Microsoft account requires JavaScript to sign in. This web browser either does not support JavaScript, or scripts are being blocked.

To find out whether your browser supports JavaScript, or to allow scripts, see the browser’s online help.

Skype worked just fine with another account. So funnily enough, JavaScript is enabled and working OK, and does so across all other processes, passing any verification test I threw at it. Of course, the Skype folks decided to have their own take at implementing the login process instead of relying on the ADAL/MSAL libraries, so they use a host process which launches an IE instance instead. Just goes to show you how often the different teams at MS talk to each other, or how much they validate code, even when it comes to things as fundamental as authentication.

Anyway, after wasting some more time in useless troubleshooting, I run into the following issue reported on the Skype Status page: https://support.skype.com/en/status/57644122

While the description doesn’t specifically mention my case, the root cause is the same. If you have your Skype account associated with Microsoft ID and have enabled Azure MFA as authentication provider for your Microsoft ID and using it as primary authentication, you will have to disable it. Which is done by accessing any page that will trigger the login process, apart from the IE instance hosted in the Skype process. Simply use your favorite browser, open a Private session to outlook.com or any other service associated with the Microsoft ID, and when prompted to login select the “Use password to login” option. This will reset the primary auth method and you should be good to go.

And because I’m still pissed off, have some more rants around Skype. Maybe, just maybe, the devs should focus on properly handling important things such as authentication and in general, the user experience, instead of putting effort into yet another crap wannabe replacement. For a something that boasts a version of 8.xxx, the “modern” Skype client is so feature incomplete, it’s not even funny. Even basic things such as being able to pin the program to the Taskbar while being minimized to tray don’t work, but then again who cares about Windows features anymore. How about a proper Search inside a particular conversation? No, lets make it search across all of the Skype directory by default, so you have to click few times before it starts even considering showing matches in your conversations. Oh, you want to look for that conversation from few months back? Tough luck, here are some random matches from the Skype directory or another conversation. But that’s enough ranting, otherwise this will turn into review of the new Skype client, and I have better ways of wasting my time 🙂

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