Resource-intensive software and malware infestations aren't the only things that push PC processors to their limits. Buggy software can also overtax CPUs.
Microsoft found itself in just such a situation after some Skype for Windows 6.11 desktop users found that the software was pushing their processors harder than usual. Designed as an "always on" Internet communications suite, Skype typically keeps a low profile in the Windows Task Manager, even on aging computer hardware.
That wasn't the case for some unlucky users who also happened to run a popular Web browser from a major rival.
In a Jan. 22 blog post, Skype's Tom Huang announced Skype for Windows desktop version 6.13. "Some of you have reported that your computer processor usage is high when Skype for Windows desktop is running with Chrome as your default browser," he wrote.
"We'd like to let you know that we have identified and fixed the issues with this update," he declared.
Thanking the Skype community for its feedback and help in finding the cause of the issue, a forum moderator reported that the company was able to address "various areas of the client and increase overall stability." Specifically, the update should remedy "the 'High CPU' / 'Skype lagging after update' issue that some of you reported here on the community."
Users of the software's video conferencing features and owners of pixel-packed displays should also notice an improvement. "We've also addressed a few other bugs including enhanced stability during both group video call and in High DPI mode," added Huang.
The start of the new year has been an eventful one for the Microsoft business unit. The update arrived weeks after hackers briefly took control of Skype's social media accounts and service blog on Jan. 1.
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) hacktivist group used Skype's Twitter account to issue statements with an anti-National Security Agency bent. "Don't use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook), they are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the government," read a tweet posted during the SEA's fleeting control of the account.
James Blamey, global head of Product and Technology Communications at Skype, announced on Jan. 6 on the company's reclaimed Skype Blog that the damage was contained to the blog and its social media accounts. "No user information was compromised, and Skype's service was not affected," he wrote.
"On Jan. 1, 2014, we became aware of a targeted cyber-attack that led to access to Skype's social media properties on Facebook, Twitter and this blog. We quickly reset the credentials used to manage these properties," stated Blamey.
Microsoft vowed to tighten security in the wake of the U.S. government spying scandal that followed the leak of classified documents from ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president, called NSA's actions an "advanced persistent threat" that ranks up there with "sophisticated malware and cyber-attacks."