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Skype used to be fantastic, but has been gradually strangled over the past few years, and now it is unreliable; the latest changes are ridiculous. I need to leave.

Is there another Windows program that can communicate via IM and voice/video chat? My most important needs are file transfer and screen sharing.

I have looked at Viber, oovoo, Hangouts, Zoom, WhatsApp, Talk, WeChat, Voca, Appear.in and Facebook Messenger, but none of them have a desktop app, they only offer mobile devices or a browser-based service. No EXE file!

TeamSpeak almost does what I need, but adds a layer of complexity (and cost) I would rather avoid. So that leaves Discord, which seems to work for me. Is there really no other option?

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Telegram might be an option.

Pros:

  • Native apps for Windows, Linux, and macOS, as well as a web-interface, and mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, so you're fine even if your platform requirements change.
  • Provides IM, as well as voice and video calling (and the call quality appears to be better than Skype, at least to me).
  • Provides really easy to use secure file sharing.
  • Has a bunch of useful features that make it easy to use for truly secure communication (provided you trust their network that is).

Cons:

  • You need a phone number that can receive text messages to sign up. This is used for verification (because it's actually a whole lot more secure than email), and as a user identifier. I'm not sure if this would be a deal-breaker for you or not.
  • Really hard to use in Russia right now (they're actively blocking it because of the fact that it's functionally impossible to crack, and thus is a perfect platform for dissidents to coordinate on).

I don't know if it provides screen-sharing functionality or not, as that's something I've never really needed.

Alternatively, Twitch might work. They provide all the chat types you want, have 'native' (native in quotes because it's really a PWA) desktop apps, have screen sharing (obviously, given that it's primarily a streaming platform), and I'm pretty sure they also can do file sharing.

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Go To Meeting. Allows parallel phone connection if your pc's audio is crappy. Allows 25 users at once without discernible loss of quality. Allows easy sharing of screens. My company's very happy with it, and we use it quite extensively as we have several important remote team members.

If you don't care about live video, slack is what everyone's using for just IM and file sharing.

  • Oh, until the end of this answer I thought you literally meant to (satirically) suggest to go to real meetings. The first part totally works. :) – rugk Aug 2 '18 at 18:48
  • I would pretend I would never be so sarcastic, but nobody would believe me :-) – George M Aug 3 '18 at 0:26

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