Alternative fix for Linux Skype “Another instance may exist” login error

Ran into this error today, running Skype Most of top Google hits suggest removing lockfiles and killing your profile, but that seemed like an overkill. After some consulting with the developers, it turned out Skype locking mechanisms are also possibly influenced by browser processes that are launched by clicking URLs or in my case, clicking “Open Downloads folder” button. This fired up an “xdg-open” which in turn fired up “links2” somewhere in the non-visible process space, beacuse I probably don’t have XDG fully configured for firefox in my fresh awesome-based setup.

One command to reveal such Skype lockfile-hogging processes is:

$ lsof .Skype/your-username-here/main.lock

If there is no way to cleanly shut them down, kill them and Skype should be able to login again.

About Leho


  • Dmitry

    I had to delete “httpfe” directory in the profile. Nothing else helped. 

  • Sarang Ghamandi

    Go to System ==> admin ==>System monitor ==> seach for skype ,right click on skype and say kill process ..It will work

  • Anonymous

    You should probably mention what desktop environment this applies to. I have no such menus in awesome.

  • lkraav

    Well I’ve been doing this for a while :> Anyway, glad to know you got your problem solved.

  • Ryan Wiancko

    GENIUS!! You are a bloody genius!!  I’ve had it up to my ears with people saying to either reboot or delete the entire directory(and LOOSE 5 years of chat history).  You my friend drilled right down into the problem with a microscope, found exactly where the lock was originated from and then killed it at it’s source.. Man, you rock.. I’m blogging all about yuo and this solution today

  • Ramesh

    Thanks to your help.

  • Haodemon

    Thank you.