Where can I find my conversation history in Skype for Windows desktop and what can I do with it?

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Your conversation history is all the instant messages you’ve sent to and received from your contacts or groups, as well as details of any calls that you have made or received over Skype.

The following questions and answers will help you find your history and show you what you can do with it.

How do I find my conversation history?
How do I search for something I’ve written in a conversation?
Where are my instant messages saved to?
Can I transfer my conversation history from one computer to another?
How do I mark conversations so I’ll remember to read them again later?
How do I see several conversations next to each other?
How do I hide my conversation history?
How do I delete my conversation history?
How do I change my history settings?

How do I find my conversation history?

To view your conversation history:

  1. Sign in to Skype.
  2. Under Contact or Recent, simply click the contact or group you want to view the conversation history for and your conversation history is displayed.

The conversation list is sorted by date, with the latest conversations displayed at the top of the list. If the group or conversation doesn’t appear in the Recent list, go to the bottom of the Recent list and click Show earlier messages to display a full list of group conversations.

If you’re looking for a specific conversation, you can find it using the search box under the Recent tab. Simply start typing the name of the conversation you’re looking for and the search narrows down the possible matches. Click a conversation to see all the instant messages that have been sent as part of that conversation. To resume any conversation, just send another instant message.

Did you upgrade from Messenger to Skype? Learn how to find your Messenger chat history.

How do I search for something I’ve written in a conversation?

You can find something specific you’ve written or been sent in a conversation by searching for a word that was typed in that conversation. To do this:

  1. Sign in to Skype.
  2. Select the conversation you’d like to search.
  3. From the menu bar, select Conversation > Find or press the Ctrl + F key combination on the keyboard. A search box opens.
  4. Enter the word or words you’re looking for. Press Enter, or click Next or Previous, to move across the search results.

    To search across the entire conversation history with a particular contact or group, select the conversation, scroll to the top of the conversation window and select the longest available period. Then simply start searching.

Where are my instant messages saved to?

By default, the instant messages you send and receive are saved on your computer and you can view them at any time.

This means that if you send a message to a contact who is offline, the saved message will be delivered either as soon as the contact comes online, or as soon as you're both online, depending on the versions of Skype you're both using.

If you’re both signed in to Skype with a Microsoft account, instant messages sent to an offline contact are saved for 30 days and are delivered as soon as the recipient signs in.

For more information on how Skype manages personal data, please refer to the Skype Privacy Policy.

Can I transfer my conversation history from one computer to another?

You can copy instant messages from one computer to another by backing up and restoring your chat history file. You might need to do this if you’re updating your operating system or moving to a new computer. The name and location of your chat history file depends on the version of Skype for Windows you’re using.

  1. Hold down the Windows key The Windows key on your keyboard, then press R to bring up the Run window. If you are using a touch screen device on Windows 8, you can bring up the Run window from the Search charm.
  2. Type %appdata%\Skype into the Run window and press Enter.
  3. Open the folder named after your Skype Name.
  4. Find the main.db file in the folder, this file is your chat history.
  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. Go to:
    C:\Users\<windows_8_username>\AppData\Local\Packages
    \Microsoft.SkypeApp\Localstate\<skype_name>

    Your Windows 8 username is the one that you use to sign in from the lock screen. Your Skype name is the username you sign in to Skype with.
  3. Find the main.db file in the folder, this file is your chat history.

To store your chat history

Simply copy the main.db file to a USB flash drive or another external media device. Keep it safe. 

To transfer your chat history

  1. On your new device or operating system, install and sign in to Skype so Skype will create the necessary folder on your device. Then sign out from Skype again immediately.
  2. Replace the existing main.db file with the main.db file that you’ve kept safe.
  3. Sign in to Skype. Your chat history is displayed.  

How do I mark conversations so I’ll remember to read them again later?

To mark a conversation as unread, right-click the conversation you’d like to re-read later and select Mark as Unread. This places a notice beside the conversation, on the Recent tab and on the Skype icon in your tool bar, reminding you to read it later.

Read more about receiving instant messages.

How do I see several conversations next to each other?

You can open conversations in separate windows. To do this:

  1. Sign in to Skype.
  2. From the menu bar, select View > Compact View.

Now every time you select a conversation, it will open in a new window. Each window can be scaled and moved around your screen, which means you can organize them in a way that works best for you.

How do I hide my conversation history?

To hide a conversation from your Recent list, right-click the conversation and select Hide conversation.

Hiding a conversation won’t delete it from your conversation history. If you’d like to show your hidden conversations in the Recent list:

  1. Sign in to Skype.
  2. From the menu bar, select View > Show hidden conversations.

This will return all your hidden conversations to the Recent list. If you receive a new instant message to one of your hidden conversations, this will also return it to the Recent list.

How do I delete my conversation history?

It is not possible to delete individual conversations on Skype. However, you can delete your entire conversation history. This removes your entire history, which includes:

When your conversation history has been deleted, it can’t be recovered.

To delete your conversation history:

  1. Sign in to Skype.
  2. In the menu bar, click Skype > Privacy….
  3. Under Keep history for, click Clear history.

Although you cannot delete individual conversations, you can delete individual instant messages you have sent by right-clicking the message in question and selecting Remove Message. However, this option is only available for a few minutes after you send your message.

How do I change my history settings?

To change your history settings:

  1. Sign in to Skype.
  2. From the menu bar, select SkypePrivacy....
  3. Below Keep history for, click the drop-down list and select the amount of time you’d like your history to be saved for. You can select forever, three months, one month, two weeks or no history at all.
  4. Click Save.

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