Faxing with Windows XP
By Jay Dougherty May 27, 2006, 14:42 GMT
Washington - Thanks to e-mail and the Internet, faxes don't enjoy the popularity they once did. But when you need to send or receive a fax, nothing else will do. Professional contacts, colleagues, even friends may need a paper copy of a form or document in a hurry - and only a fax device will get job done.
The good news is that you can still use your Windows XP computer to send and receive faxes. Microsoft hides the capability well, however. Thankfully, it's easy to get your Windows XP fax software working.
Before you start, you'll need to make sure your computer has a fax modem installed and that you're near a phone line. Most notebook computers today come equipped with a fax modem built-in, as do many desktops. Broadband users may have all but forgotten about the lowly modem, but it's still there for many, and using it to help you send and receive faxes makes sense. A simple telephone cord is all you'll need to make the connection from your PC to the wall.
To install Windows' fax software, open the Windows Control Panel from the Start menu. From within the Control Panel, double-click the Add/ Remove Programs icon. Then select the Add/Remove Windows Components icon from the left side of the Add/Remove Programs dialog box. A Windows Components box appears, and you'll see a check box labelled Fax Services.
Select that, and then click Next. Windows will install the fax service. You may need to supply your original Windows CD during this process. If you don't have it, check your hard drive for the presence of a folder labelled i386. Some PC manufacturers place all of the Windows installation files in a folder by that name.
Once installed, the fax service will show up as a printer driver in Windows. So to send a fax, you simply open the application that contains the document you wish to fax, and choose Print from the File menu. Use the Printer Name drop-down list box to select the Windows Fax service instead of your normal printing device. When you click OK, the service starts a wizard that walks you through the process of sending a fax, including the optional creation of a cover sheet.
To receive a fax in Windows XP, you'll need to make sure your computer is hooked up via its modem to a telephone line. Open the Windows XP Start menu, and navigate to Programs, Accessories, Communications, point to Fax, and then click Fax Console. The Fax Console window opens. From the Tools menu of the Fax Console, click Fax Monitor. The Fax Monitor quietly waits for an incoming call. If a fax call arrives, the computer will pick up the call and receive the fax.
Once the fax has been received, a fax icon appears on your Windows XP taskbar, next to the clock. Double-click the icon to view the fax.
The Windows fax software is not the only way to send faxes with your PC. Services like eFax (http://www.efax.com) set up a telephone number for you that is specifically for sending and receiving faxes. You retrieve the faxes online or through your e-mail.
They're a hassle-free way of working with faxes without the bother of a fax machine and without having to hook up your PC to a phone line. But they generally aren't free. eFax does have a free plan that only allows you to receive faxes, and some of the faxes you'll receive will be junk. The plans that actually work well cost from 13 to 20 dollars per month.
But since faxes are still a necessary part of doing business today, some type of fax solution from your PC is probably essential. The free Windows XP solution will work for many.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur