Fix Installing Skype Failed With Error Code 1638


Recently I ran into an issue with Skype. A new update of Skype was available and since Skype is on auto-update, it automatically downloaded the latest version and asked me to install. When I clicked the install button, it would give me an error “Installing Skype Failed Error Code 1638”.

I download the latest version of Skype manually and tried to install again but got the same error. The error message looked like this:

installing skype failed with error code 1638

According to the information provided in the error message box, I went to Programs and Features in Control Panel and searched for Skype. To my astonishment, Skype was not showing as installed program. I did some troubleshooting and was able to find two solutions for fixing the installing Skype failed with error code 1638 problem.

This problem usually occurs when Skype is being uninstalled or upgraded and the installation/uninstallation process does not get completed. This results in corrupted files and registry entries which will prevent Skype from being installed again. Windows does not have any idea whether Skype is installed or not.


If you are having the same issue, one of the two solutions provided here should work for you. If one doesn’t work, try the other one.

Uninstalling Skype using Command Line

If you do not find the Skype entry in your Programs and Features installed programs, you can manually uninstall Skype using command line. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Open command prompt with administrative privileges
  2. Navigate to C:\ProgramData\Skype. Run dir command to list the contents of Skype folder. Open the first folder with a name similar to 7F051EAD89204D1008D517DCAFCCBCA4BF49F1B1. For opening the folder, run the following command:
    cd 7F051EAD89204D1008D517DCAFCCBCA4BF49F1B1
  3. Run the following command inside the folder:
    msiexec /x skype.msi

This should get rid of corrupted Skype installation files. And you should be able to re-install Skype without any issues.

Fixing Skype installation registry entries using Microsoft Fixit

The above method should work when Skype installation files are corrupted. If the Skype registry entries are also corrupted, then you will need Microsoft Fixit tool to remove the corrupt entries. Just following the steps below for fixing Skype installation problem with error code 1638 using Microsoft Fixit:

  1. Download Microsoft Fixit tool “Fix problems that programs cannot be installed or uninstalled
  2. Run the executable. There is no configuration required. The fixit tool will automatically do its job and will fix everything for you.
  3. Install the latest version of Skype again. This time you should be successful.

The Microsoft Fixit tool is able to do the following:

  • Corrupted registry keys on 64-bit operating systems
  • Corrupted registry keys that control the update data
  • Problems that prevent new programs from being installed
  • Problems that prevent existing programs from being completely uninstalled or updated
  • Problems that block you from uninstalling a program through the Add or Remove Programs (or Programs and Features) item in Control Panel

I hope this has been informative for you and you are able to solve your Skype updating/installation problem with error code 1638 smoothly without any additional issues. Do let us know about your troubleshooting experiences of Skype messenger.

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