How To Use Your Desktop Computer As A Fax Machine

Enabling Fax on Windows

To enable facsimile services, all you need is a Windows Operating System and an analog fax modem. Most desktops are shipped with both. This article assumes that neither are available to demonstrate how easily both can be installed and enabled. This article will tell you:

  • How to check whether your desktop has a pre-installed analog fax modem.
  • How to install and activate the analog fax modem.
  • How to activate and use facsimile services.

If any of the above are ascertained, feel free to skip to next step. This article is written with CONTROL elements like NEXT, CONTROL PANEL, etc. in caps to convey that these need to be clicked on your desktops. Clicking sequences are depicted by separating the capitalized words with a hyphen (e.g., START-SETTINGS-CONTROL PANEL, implies click the Start button then the Settings button etc.).

Step 1

Check whether an Analog Modem exists on your machine. You can easily verify whether your desktop has a pre-installed analog fax modem by accessing the Device Manager. To access the Device Manager, click START-SETTINGS-CONTROL PANEL.

When your Control Panel opens, it displays in one of two views:

1) Classic View: In the Classic View, click on ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS-COMPUTER MANAGEMENT-DEVICE MANAGER, expand on the (+) next to modems and check for installed modems. You will see listings like "SoftV92faxmodem" (modem model may vary).

2) Category View: In this view, click on PERFORMANCE AND MAINTENANCE and either choose "See basic information about your computer" or ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS. As the latter has already been explained above, we will demonstrate the former. Clicking on "See basic information about your computer" brings on the "System Properties" box with the "General" tab. Click on the "Hardware" tab -- "DEVICE MANAGER." Expand on the (+) next to modems and check for installed modems.

If you are satisfied that the installed modem is an analog fax modem, skip to step three. If there is a modem and you don't know whether it is an analog fax modem, google the model number with "specification" typed next to it. This will draw upon the manual which will put the query in perspective. If there is no modem, move to step two.

Step 2

Install your Analog Modem. If your desktop has no analog fax modem, purchase and install it into the PCI slot. Some modems are also manufactured for the USB ports; just be sure that they support facsimile services.

If you were wondering what PCI is, it stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect, an Intel Standard for connecting hardware devices. Just open the CPU and look for the slot that fits the Card -- that's the PCI slot.

Most modems are detected automatically at start-up and installed by the Windows OS. If that is not the case, you may have to run the driver CD that came along with the modem.

Step 3

Enable fax services. To enable fax services, simply follow the path START-SETTINGS-CONTROL PANEL-ADD OR REMOVE PROGRAMS. On the "ADD OR REMOVE PROGRAMS" box look for a tab titled "ADD OR REMOVE WINDOWS COMPONENTS." A Windows Components Dialog Box opens. Check the "FAX SERVICES" and click NEXT-FINISH.

Voila!! Your fax services are ready. Connect your telephone cable to your modem outlet, click on START-PROGRAMS-ACCESSORIES-COMMUNICATION-FAX-FAX CONSOLE/SEND A FAX/FAX COVER PAGE EDITOR.

Your fax console can be used to send, receive and view faxes. The console also sports a HELP tab which will guide you through every aspect you have questions about. You can add a printer and a scanner for full-fledged fax services.

Happy Faxing!!!

In this article we have seen how to check for availability of fax modems and how to install one if it isn't available. We have also seen how to enable Windows Components to allow for fax services. This article was written for the Windows OS. Your comments and suggestions are most welcome to leverage your communication requirements. Also, it would be nice to know if the same guide is required for operating systems such as Ubuntu, Fedora, SUSe and OpenSolaris.


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