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Notes on Windows Fax

Introduction

What is Windows Fax?

Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows 2008 and non-"Home" versions of Windows Vista, all support Microsoft's Windows Fax, also known as Fax32 in older Windows documentation and by other vendors, such as ourselves. No additional software is needed to do faxing from these environments, just a modem in the PC or in the file server.

Rasmussen Software includes fax support for Windows Fax built into each of its products.

  • through the Print Wizard user interface, you can directly fax a file,
  • using the Print Wizard engine and command-line switches you can fax,
  • the Print Wizard DLL includes faxing capabilities,
  • by including a bang command within a print file you can fax through Print Wizard,
  • AnzioWin (our terminal emulation program) and its Print Wizard features support faxing,
  • Print Wizard Server Edition and its "listen", "despool" and "LPD" services support faxing.

So there are options in most all of our software products.

We include documentation for Print Wizard and AnzioWin elsewhere (refer to the links at the right). Here we want to cover briefly some notes and comments when it comes to faxing from any of our products with Windows fax.

Introduction to Windows Fax

Windows Fax exists in three forms, as a printer driver, usually called "Fax", as a callable DLL (windows library) and as a registered COM object (a callable object). In most cases, we call the fax object to post fax jobs to the queue. However, by specifying "fax" as the printer name, you can also use the fax printer driver directly from Print Wizard or AnzioWin - when doing this, it will walk you through the fax wizard per print job.

Note: Any of the HOME editions of Windows Vista do not support the Windows Fax protocol and cannot be used for faxing. In this case, you will need to look for third-party software to do faxing. This includes:

  • Home Basic Edition
  • Home Media Edition
  • Home Premium Edition
  • Home Server Edition

Manually Faxing

Faxing From Local PC

Faxing from a PC with Windows Fax and a fax modem installed

Manually faxing from a Windows PC that has Windows Fax installed is usually simple. You can do it one of two ways. The first, for simple faxing, is to go to the Start : All Programs menu and usually under Administrative Tools and System, there will be a shortcut to the Fax Console.

From here you can create a new fax and send it via the local PC's modem. The fax engine simply faxes to the number you enter and includes a simple cover page for the body of your message.

The second way is to reference the "Fax" printer driver when doing a print job from an application. The fax printer driver will walk you through a short wizard asking for the fax information and whether to include a cover page or not.

Faxing From Local PC Through Server

Faxing from a local PC through a fax server

A local PC can also be set to fax through another PC where the fax driver is marked as "shared". In this case, you would fax from the local PC, out over the network where it would be queued to go out over the server's modem(s). In this case, you usually reference a networked, shared printer driver for the fax. However, like a local fax, this can be set up as the default for the fax console manual way of faxing as well by referencing the correct fax settings in the fax console.

Note: We have found that in most cases, you can set your local PC for one or the other, either to fax locally or to fax through a server, not both. on Windows XP at least, the DLL gets clobbered somehow and only works in a shared environment, no longer supporting local faxing.

The advantage here is that the fax server can support a "pool" of fax modems and fax on the first available. And of course, not each PC would need a fax modem and phone line running to it.

Refer to the Microsoft documentation for the fax server and the setup of the local fax shared printer for more information on configuring this type of setup.

Faxing From Windows Server and Windows Small Business Server

From a Windows 2003 server, 2008 server, Microsoft Small Business Server (or any of the Microsoft Server platforms), faxing behaves the same as if you were faxing locally to a fax server. When running the fax console or printing to the fax printer driver, you should reference the full server name, i.e. the network share name of the fax printer driver such as \\FileServer\Fax.

Note: You may be able to fax directly with the default settings, but in most cases the security on these PCs will force you to use the share name instead.

Troubleshooting

The best suggestion for troubleshooting faxing in a Windows environment is to watch the fax queue (inside the fax console program) to see if your job appears. If you are faxing through a fax server, you can watch the server's fax queue to see if jobs appear there as well.

Note: Another approach is to watch the "Printers and Faxes" dialog. For the Fax printer driver or the Fax shared printer driver, you will see a count. If this dialog shows a count after the printer driver name, but when you open the Fax Driver (Fax Console) and see no jobs, then there is a security issue, the jobs are not under the current user (see our notes below on "Security") and probably the user that put the job into the queue does not have permission to send faxes.

Here are a couple of steps to try if you are having fax problems:

a) Open up the Fax Console and try sending a cover page style fax. The Fax Console can be started by going to "Printers and Faxes" and selecting the Properties for the Fax printer driver.

b) From another application, such as Microsoft Word, try doing a "Send To - Fax Recipient" (from under the File menu).

c) From another application, such as Notepad or Microsoft Word, try printing direct to the Fax printer driver.

If any of these fail, check the modem line, the fax permissions and the various configuration items inside the Fax Console application. Also the System Event Log (Administrative Tools : Events) may provide additional information on what failed.

Security Issues

There are several security issues to be aware of. Here are some helpful hints (refer to Microsoft documentation for more hints and for solutions):

a) When you set up a fax printer driver, do so as Administrator. If you do this under a restricted user, other users of this PC may be able to see the printer driver (or may not), but probably will not have permissions to print to the fax printer driver or fax through the Fax Console program.

b) If you are running under a domain with group or user policies, even though you can see the fax printer driver and the Fax Console comes up OK, you may not have permissions to send faxes. This is especially true on Windows 2003 and 2008 servers and on Windows Vista or XP where your login is controlled with policies. You will need to get a system administrator involved to change your policies to allow faxing. One work around in this case, is to set up a local user on that PC that is not part of the domain. This user should have access to the fax engine with no problems.

c) In a Domain environment, both group policies and user policies usually control whether a user has access to the fax driver and the Fax Console, as well as if the user can actually fax anything.

Cover Pages

Cover pages for Windows Fax are totally different than for other fax engines. These can be set up and designed through the Fax Console and one of its "add-in" programs.

When running on a local PC, you can reference a local cover page. When running out to a file server, you can also reference a local cover page, but the server cover page MAY override the local cover page and be used instead.

Dialing

Within the Control Panel on your PC or on the fax server, the "Modems" ("Phone and Modems" icon on Windows Vista), controls the dialing rules used. Do not assume that the local PC dialing rules will apply when going to a fax server, the fax server dialing rules control how a number is dialed.

Automating Faxing

There are several products on the market that will help automate faxing. Print Wizard Personal Edition, Print Wizard Server Edition and Print Wizard inside AnzioWin are just examples of products that will aid in automating your faxing needs.

Along with automation, comes a whole new set of problems however. Most of these deal with security and access to the fax drivers.

Faxing From Local PC

Automated faxing from a local PC is pretty straight forward. Provided the user has access to the fax driver and to the Fax Console application, the user should be able to set up an automated way of faxing. With the Print Wizard and AnzioWin products, faxing becomes easy in these cases.

The stand-alone Print Wizard (Personal Edition) can fax using a set of command line parameters or by including a BANG command in the actual print file (see our documentation for examples). This is pretty simple and straight forward, using the "fax object" calls to push the print job into the fax queue.

The Print Wizard Server Edition can take a print job and also force it out over the "fax object" from either command line switches or from a BANG command included in the actual print file. Again, this is pretty straight forward and as long as the user has access to the various components of the fax engine, it should go OK.

However, Print Wizard Server Edition can also receive remote jobs via a "service". Print Wizard Server Edition supports two types of services, Print Wizard Services (run by the current user logged into Windows) and Windows Services (these run as a background job regardless of if a user is logged into Windows).

AnzioWin simply outputs to the local 'fax object" as if it were a print job. In this case, faxing is pretty simple and follows the rules of the Print Wizard Personal Edition - the user just needs access to fax.

Faxing From Windows Services

Windows Services that do faxing present an unique situation where the faxing application may not run as the user you expect. In the default case, a Windows Services run as "Local System (or "System" in the case of Vista). This user does not always have access to everything and it can be hard to determine whether faxing is available. These type of applications are usually quite restricted by the Windows Services user they are running under.

If you have problems with Print Wizard's Windows Services not faxing, but faxing worked under a logged in user, try setting the "Log On As" or "Run As" in the Services Properties (under Administrative Tools) to the user you know works.

Faxing Under Domain Policies

Domain policies refer to organization, group and user policies that may be in affect for specific machines and users. In these cases, the policies can control access to the fax printer driver, to the fax object and to the fax applications such as Fax Console.

These policies can control all aspects of the fax engine, i.e. seeing the fax driver, accessing its properties, accessing the Fax Console and even whether you can actually post a fax to be sent.

In some cases, the security policies in place can even hide fax jobs when they are initiated from a third-party program or under a different user. If you run Print Wizard Windows Services to do faxing, they may be able to post a fax, but the user logged in may never see if that fax did make it into the fax queue or if it ever went out.

If you have any problems with faxing, and you are running with security policies in place, check their permissions settings.

Faxing From Local PC Through Server

As with the above issues, faxing from a local PC through a server can have the same problems. Additionally, permissions to the fax driver for the server and to the fax server itself, can be an issue. In many cases, the user may need to run as Administrator to gain full access to post jobs to the remote queue for the shared fax engine.

Also, security policies come into play here. If the local PC and the server running the shared fax server drivers is running under group or user policies, then the policies for both machines may need to be checked (since the fax print job would come in as an owner not necessarily logged into the server).

Add to this the issue of Windows Services and what user they may send a job as 9to the fax server) and you can see the levels of security that may cause concern.

Faxing From Windows Server and Windows Small Business Server

Faxing from a Windows Server or from Windows Small Business Server does require a setup that acts like it is going through a fax server. This is the nature of faxing from a server that has domain user management in place, the server is shared with users, but is not just available without referencing the server name.

In Print Wizard, this fax server name is found in the Fax Setup under the Print Wizard user interface in new versions of Print Wizard. In older versions, this setting had to be manually set in the "printwiz.ini" file and any print profiles set for faxing.

The fax server name in these cases would be the network share name for the fax driver, such as \\FileServer\Fax.

If you are utilizing security policies, these again, have a big affect on whether the user you are running under can automate faxing. Also if you are running a fax service, such as Print Wizard Windows Services, the user the service runs under becomes critical in that it needs access to the components of the fax engine.

Rasmussen Software Products

Print Wizard

Print Wizard faxing can run one of two ways, either direct (using the Print Wizard engine with command line parameters, calling it with a fax-type print profile or providing a BANG command in the actual print job), or with the Print Wizard Server Edition you can fax through a "service".

Check out the Print Wizard manual and various documents and support pages on faxing with Print Wizard for more information.

Faxing Direct with Print Wizard

When faxing directly through the Print Wizard engine (command line parameters, BANG commands or fax print profiles), it is important to think ahead about security and access. The user that Print Wizard runs under must have full access to send faxes. Once this is set up, then automated faxing should work fine with any of the three approaches mentioned.

If you are running to a fax server, you must set the network share name as the fax server name inside Print Wizard.

Remember that if you are running in a domain environment, group and user security policies can still have an influence on the use of the faxing features in Print Wizard.

Faxing Through A Print Wizard Service

Earlier we mentioned several notes on running Print Wizard Server Edition services to do faxing. The important ones to remember and think about in advance are:

  • What user will the service run as (check the Administrative Tools : Services dialog once you start a service to see what it is running as)?
  • Does the user the service runs as have access to the fax components?
  • Do I need to set this up to go to a fax server?
  • Am I running any security policies and will they allow access to the fax components?
  • If I am going to a fax server, what affect does the security on the server influence whether I can fax?

AnzioWin

AnzioWin uses a portion of the Print Wizard engine to do faxing. This is done through "superfile" names passed as the output destination for a passthrough print job. In this case, faxing behaves as if you are faxing direct through Print Wizard.

As above, if you are running to a fax server, you must set the network share name as the fax server name inside the default settings for the fax setup.

Remember that if you are running in a domain environment, group and user security policies can still have an influence on the use of the faxing features in AnzioWin.

Support

As with all our products, if you have any problems, give us a call and ask for tech support.

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