• Posted by Konstantin 22.01.2015

    Update from year 2017: The tool described in this post DOES NOT WORK with recent versions of Skype. Either these versions stopped saving removed messages altogether, or they are doing it in a novel manner not recognized by the tool.

    In other words - you would only recover "removed" messages if you are running older version of Skype (or these messages were sent at the time you were using that older version).

    Yesterday I happened to attend a discussion about the security and privacy of information stored locally in Skype and Thunderbird profiles. It turns out, if you obtain a person's Skype profile directory, you will be able to log in as him without the need to know the password. In addition, Dominique made a remark that Skype does not really delete the messages that are marked as "removed" in the chat window. I found that curious and decided to take a closer look.

    Indeed, there is a bunch of *.dat files in the chatsync subdirectory of the Skype's profile, which preserve all messages along with all their edits or deletions. Unfortunately, the *.dat files are in some undocumented binary format, and the only tool I found for reading those lacks in features. However, hacking up a small Python parser according to what is known about the format, along with a minimalistic GUI is a single evening's exercise, and I happened to be in the mood for some random coding.

    Skype Chatsync Viewer

    Skype Chatsync Viewer

    Now, if you want to check out what was that message you or your conversation partner wrote before it was edited or deleted, this package will help. If you are not keen on installing Python packages, here is a standalone Windows executable.

    Posted by Konstantin @ 8:05 pm

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    2. John on 13.03.2015 at 06:34 (Reply)

      doesn't work, in the Open File dialog box all chatsync/*.dat files are grayed out

      1. Konstantin on 13.03.2015 at 11:57 (Reply)

        Does "grayed out" mean you cannot open them? I can't reproduce.

    3. Anonymous on 12.07.2015 at 22:23 (Reply)

      Thanks! It worked beautifully and I do not have the skills to make one of these by myself.

    4. James on 21.07.2015 at 19:43 (Reply)

      Wow thx a ton :D! My curiosity was eating me from the inside out. I couldn't stop thinking about that removed message.

    5. MOO on 23.08.2015 at 21:42 (Reply)

      is there a 32bit compatible version of the exe?

      1. Konstantin on 23.08.2015 at 22:50 (Reply)

        Here is a version compiled using 32bit Python. Perhaps it will work.

    6. Jodonix on 09.09.2015 at 18:21 (Reply)

      When I select the chatsync subdirectory the program gives me the following error: "Done. No non-empty conversations found or could be loaded.". What am I doing wrong?

      1. Konstantin on 09.09.2015 at 22:27 (Reply)

        Apparently the program is either unable to find files it could parse successfully. It could be due to some changes Skype made to the file formats in the later versions or some specifics of your conversations the code does not take into account. Unfortunately, there is no way I could debug the problem without access to your chatsync folder.

        1. Krishna Deepak on 13.09.2015 at 10:47 (Reply)

          Hey, even I am facing the same issue. I am using Skype 4.3 for linux. The folder structure is something like chatsync/fe/fe***.dat.

          1. Konstantin on 13.09.2015 at 14:25 (Reply)

            As mentioned, I cannot help with that as I can't reproduce those errors. The project is more of a toy example rather than something super reliable anyway.

            The source code is up for fixing in github, so your best bet is to hope that at some point someone skilled enough will be able to reproduce and debug the issue.

    7. John Smith on 10.11.2015 at 18:41 (Reply)

      The 32bit one worked really well, but theres a removed message that i want to read from the 16th september 2013 but only shows messages from 9th september 2013 for that person. any help?

      1. Konstantin on 10.11.2015 at 21:11 (Reply)

        I don't think I could help here. Either Skype did not save that message on your computer, or the way the file is read somewhy prevents reading this message.

    8. Very Curious on 05.02.2016 at 08:22 (Reply)

      it seems like messages from the past week are not there but the rest are. Does this mean i have to wait and hopefully it will be there some time next week?

      1. Konstantin on 05.02.2016 at 13:00 (Reply)

        I am not sure, but I'd guess no, as I believe Skype client would not syncronize all messages, leaving the older ones out. Week-old sounds old enough for me to not synchronize them any more.

    9. Group Help on 06.03.2016 at 13:57 (Reply)

      Is there any way for one to view deleted messages from a group chat?

      1. Konstantin on 07.03.2016 at 01:58 (Reply)

        I presume those might also be somewhere in one of the data files in the chatsync folder. If it is not the case, I'm not sure how to get those at the moment - I did not study the data formats to that level of detail.

    10. Justin Stevens on 07.03.2016 at 08:42 (Reply)

      First off thank you for creating this as this works amazingly and has been of great use to me. I have a similar issue as the gentleman above who needs to recover deleted data from a group chat and I was wondering you could look into making the python package work with group chats. Either way thank you very much for creating this.

      1. Konstantin on 08.03.2016 at 14:34 (Reply)

        At the moment I certainly do not have the time to look into it, nor does there seem to be any public information about the relevant data formats that would help me out. But perhaps eventually either I'll find the time or someone else decides to contribute this effort. The code is open for improvement, after all.

    11. Sandy on 13.03.2016 at 06:50 (Reply)


      Thanx a ton as its worked well!!

      But i have one query as when i read the main.db file the chat is marked as removed with person x while in chatsync folder the chat is completely missing with person x.

      Can you help me why i was not able to read/find conversation with person x as i am able to read all other conversations

      1. Konstantin on 13.03.2016 at 12:51 (Reply)

        As I mentioned above, I'm not that knowledgeable about all the details of the data formats of Skype chat syncing to answer such questions.

        It could be the case that the corresponding chat is not synced to that machine (you chatted on another machine). But this is not necessarily the only possible explanation.

    12. udovas on 28.04.2016 at 11:51 (Reply)

      This app is awesome!!! 🙂
      But it shows only conversations with not more that 2 participants. Is it possible to retrieve messages from conversations with more than 2 participants?

      1. Konstantin on 28.04.2016 at 15:15 (Reply)

        Unfortunately, I do not know. This data must be somewhere apparently, but searching for its actual location is a bit beyond my current time resources. I'm waiting when someone else comes up with constructive contributions 🙂

    13. Sad Skype User on 29.04.2016 at 15:01 (Reply)


      I wanted to retrieve simple one to one conversations but I always get message : "Done. No non-empty conversations found or could be loaded". If I choose another 'chatsync' directory for a user that has not cleared his conversations, I get all the conversations. Am using the windows version of the app.

      I have even created a new Skype ID on my PC, made only 1 conversation and cleared it, then use your App to load the 'chatsync' directory for that user, same error as above.

      Thanks Konstantin for this app. You said earlier that this prob could be due to the latest version of Skype. However has someone been able to lately recover deleted messages ? P.S. am using Skype on windows 7 64bits.

      1. Konstantin on 29.04.2016 at 15:30 (Reply)

        As I said, I really wish I could be able to help, but I am not familiar enough with how Skype works and what might change in the newer versions.

        For example, it may be the case that chatsync files are not created in all situations, but only when the Skype "decides" to synchronise things from one machine to another for some reason.

        It may very well be due to changes in the recent Skype version. I'm running 6, where things seem to work. Given the overall history of Skype getting worse with newer versions 🙂 I'm somewhat reluctant to upgrade. If the format changed in the new version I wouldn't probably find the time at the moment to study it in detail again to fix things.

        1. Rodrigo on 18.07.2016 at 23:36 (Reply)

          Hello Konstantin, I have tried to read the files but it can't read them, I can send you a file in order you can debug and check it out if that is possible to read. There are six files that I would like to get the text. Thank you!!

    14. Kisola on 15.06.2016 at 17:48 (Reply)

      Hello mate,

      I have a question: I've downlaoded this file hoping to see what the my chat-partner deleted. After finding the chat, the deleted messages can not be find. The only thing you can find is the chat, which can also be read on Skype. Could you help me pls?


      1. Konstantin on 15.06.2016 at 21:52 (Reply)

        I think that newer version of skype have either changed the format of their chatsync files or stopped syncing removed messages.

    15. 4iwby on 04.08.2016 at 04:10 (Reply)

      Hey, I have a question...
      Like right about today 4 hours ago, someone sent me a message and deleted it afterwards. I was offline at that time. When I check the chat I can see all the messages which were before and after that moment. Also that person send me 2 messages while I was offline, the one which wasn't deleted is also absent in skype chatsync file viewer
      So my question is this: if I am offline, the program won't record the messages that were sent to me?

      1. Konstantin on 04.08.2016 at 14:50 (Reply)

        I suspect that newer Skype versions handle deleted messages differently, perhaps not storing them in chatsync files anymore. Given what I read in the last comments here, it seems that way.

    16. P on 15.08.2016 at 22:34 (Reply)

      HI Konstantin, I have skype .dat files from 2007. When I try to open them i get msg "Done. No non-empty conversations found or could be loaded.".

      1. emjhey88 on 01.07.2017 at 09:07 (Reply)

        can a skype conversation be retrieved where in the setting of the skype you uncheck the saved conversation and when you did not manually saved or deleted any conversation?

    17. emjhey88 on 01.07.2017 at 09:05 (Reply)

      can a skype conversation be retrieved where in the setting of the skype you uncheck the saved conversation and when you did not manually saved or deleted any conversation?

      1. Konstantin on 02.07.2017 at 11:18 (Reply)

        I'm not sure I understood the question.

        Note that it seems that recent versions of Skype have a file format which is different enough for this tool to be unable to recover messages.

    18. art054 on 17.10.2017 at 10:19 (Reply)

      I need help to find a way to read a deleted message that someone deleted. I tried the application and all i can see are the chatsync ones that date back but not the recent ones which i want. Can someone help me please?

      1. Konstantin on 17.10.2017 at 12:48 (Reply)

        I think you're out of luck at the moment. Since the latest updates Skype seems to have stopped using chatsync files (or changed the way it uses them), so the tool described in this post does not work any more.

    19. Sam on 30.12.2017 at 15:35 (Reply)

      I am researching skypes main.db file

      Is it true that the file can be edited / manipulated - so that IM chats being sent and received can be changed on the file - so the conversation can be shown to be different to what actually took place?

      If done - are there any traces / logs of changes on the file?

      1. Konstantin on 07.01.2018 at 20:34 (Reply)

        The main.db file, as far as I know, is a SQLite database (you can open it with this tool, for example).

        I have no clue how Skype reacts to "unauthorized manipulations" of this file. Try and see 🙂

        Not sure about logs or changes either (however, common sense suggests that "securing own logs" is most probably not among the core functionalities a typical IM software would need to have).

        If you are really interested, a tool like Sandboxie might help you find out more precisely what files are written to and when.

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