Skype Can Be a Pain In the Ass

I don’t restart my computer very often; it mostly runs 24/7. So when I did have occasion to do a restart, I was hit with the issue that my development instance of Apache wouldn’t start. I would get the error: “Windows could not start Apache 2.2 on Local Computer. For more information, review the System Event Log. If this is a non-Microsoft service, contact the service vendor, and refer to service-specific error code 1.”

Never one to follow instructions, after several retries, much teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling, I decided I might make more headway were I to have a look at the Apache error log.

Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Just a note that the httpd.pid file had been overwritten.

So, maybe following suggestions is a good thing. Opened up the WinXP event viewer. Hallelujah, there it is.

“The Apache service named  reported the following error: >>> no listening sockets available, shutting down.”

I have Apache configured to listen on port 80, so I don’t have to go through shenanigans when I’m developing a site. What this error is telling me is that port 80 isn’t available to attach to – probably because some other program got there first.

I’ve never had this problem before. What’s different between now and the last time I restarted my machine with no problems?

Aha! I upgraded Skype.

Sure enough: shut down Skype, Apache starts up normally.

Skype was hijacking my listening socket, and because it’s higher up on the auto-start list than Apache, Apache choked.

AFAICT, this wasn’t previous Skype behavior. I’ve never had the issue before, so logically the last upgrade changed things.

So I set Skype to start manually instead of automatically. Problem solved.

45 minutes wasted, never to return. I know that’s not much, but still.

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