Frequently Asked Questions
FAX Frequently Asked Questions
Special thanks to the Microsoft Fax MVPs: Hal Hostetler and Russ Valentine for making this FAQ possible.
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
1. How do I install the Windows XP Fax Services?
Windows XP Fax is not installed by default and must be installed from Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs, Add/Remove Windows Components.
If you wish to connect to a shared fax server on Small Business Server 2000 or Windows Server 2003, you can connect to it using Windows XP Fax Services.
If you do no have a remote shared fax server, it will be necessary for you to have an analog fax modem compatible with Windows XP Fax (see the Windows XP Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog ) and an analog phone line.
If your installation of Windows XP was from a CD, you will be prompted to insert the CD and may need to browse to the i386 folder so the installation routine can find the necessary files. If your installation files are on the hard drive, you may need to direct the routine to the i386 folder there. If you have applied SP1, these files may have been moved to a different folder (ServicePackFiles\i386), and you will need to direct the routine to that folder.
If your installation was performed by an OEM (original equipment manufacturer), it will be the responsibility of the OEM to supply those files. Unfortunately, the installation disks supplied by many OEM's do not contain the necessary files and you will need to contact the OEM to obtain them. The fax installation files are not available to download from Microsoft.
2. Why can't the XP Fax Installation Program find the Installation Files?
When the installation routine is unable to find the necessary installation files (even when directed to the appropriate i386 folder) it usually means that the installation files are compressed. This is often the case when the files are pre-copied by a manufacturer on the hard drive. If you do a search for the files that the installation routine claims are missing (fxsapi.dll and fxcfgwz.dll) you won't find them, but you will find fxsapi.dl_ and fxscfgwz.dl_. These are compressed DLL files and will need to be decompressed. Double click on them and you will get a prompt for the file to use to open them. Click Browse…. and select Win32 Cabinet Self-Extractor, which is in the system folder. With any luck it will uncompress them all and make them visible as DLL files. The install routine still may not find these files. If so, then you must manually direct the installation routine to the i386 folder that contains these extracted files.
In rare cases, a security database can become corrupted, preventing the installation of XP Fax and a number of other components. This article has detailed information on the problem and a method to correct it:
http://support.microsoft.com/?id=884018 - You cannot add a Windows component in Windows XP
Many users don't realize that faxing is a function that can only use analog phone lines and analog fax modems. Accordingly, no fax software will function with cable modems or DSL lines. With some DSL connections you can obtain a DSL line filter suitable for connecting a standard analog voice line to the DSL line and can then connect an analog fax modem to that line.
If you have no analog modem or phone line, you will need to use a fee based Internet Fax Service or connect to a remote shared fax printer on a Windows 2003 Server or Small Business Server 2000 box. Several fee based Internet Fax options are listed here: http://www.savetz.com/fax/
4. Why does the Fax Monitor no longer appear when sending and receiving faxes? Why does Fax monitoring stop working in XP?
A number of standard update and repair procedures disabled the Fax Monitor in the initial release of Windows XP. These problems were fixed in Service Pack 1. Make sure you apply SP1 if you notice this problem. Windows XP Service Pack 1 (English) can be downloaded from here:
More information regarding this issue can be found here:
There are many causes for this problem. Most often, this problem arises because some other imaging application that you installed has set itself as the default viewer for TIF files and is either unable to properly render the files, or has a corrupt file association. To view faxes from the Fax Console, you can use the Windows Imaging and Fax viewer as your default viewer for TIF files. You can easily restore that setting in Windows Explorer > Folder Options > File Types. For most users the command line should read:
rundll32.exe <drive>:\WINDOWS\system32\shimgvw.dll,ImageView_Fullscreen %1
Another common cause of this problem is firewall software Trojan horse rules. The most common is one that ships with Norton Internet Security. Details on that on are available at:
Microsoft wrote an AWD->TIFF converter that will let you convert these files so you can view them in Windows XP. This converter is on the Windows XP CD. Look under i386\win9xmig\fax for a file called awdvstub.exe. Copy this file to your hard drive and run it from a command prompt with the '/c' option to convert an AWD file to a TIFF file. You can also associate AWD files with it. After you do, double clicking an AWD file will convert the file and open it in the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. For the utility to run correctly you must also have a copy of "fxstiff.dll" on your hard drive, usually in the Windows\system32 folder and/or the Windows\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86\3 folder. Normally that DLL will be in place already if you've installed the Windows XP Fax Program.
Like all of its predecessors, the Windows XP Fax service will not process dialing rules unless the phone number to which you are sending the fax is in "international format" or "canonical format". Details on how to use international format to invoke dialing rules are available here: http://support.microsoft.com/?id=318575
It is easy to integrate XP Fax with Outlook 2000 (Corp/Workgroup mode), 2002, and 2003. Once XP Fax is installed, the "Fax Mail Transport" is available as a Service to add to your Outlook Profile. Integration is not as complete as previous versions of Fax, however. Faxes cannot be routed to the Outlook Inbox and there are no delivery confirmations. Details on how to use XP Fax with Outlook are available here: http://www.slipstick.com/addins/services/winxpfax.htm
The Windows XP Send Fax Wizard does not support sending multiple files at one time. There are several work-arounds to this limitation that use additional applications to combine multiple files into a single document:
If you have Microsoft Outlook 2000/2002/2003, you can integrate it with XP Fax and use it to attach the files to a fax message.
If you have Office 2002/2003, you can use Microsoft Office Document Imaging to both create image files of documents by printing them to the MODI “printer” and to insert these image files into a single document that can be printed to the Fax printer. Microsoft Office Document Imaging replaces the Picture and Fax Viewer when either version of Office is installed
Authoring tools for .PDF documents can also be used to combine various types of documents into a single .PDF document that can be printed to the Fax printer.
The XP Fax Service does not support sharing. The Fax Console Help Files contain instructions on how to configure a remote Fax Printer, but those instructions refer to using XP Fax as a client, not as a shared service. XP Fax can serve as a client to fax programs that do support sharing, such as Small Business Server Fax and Windows Server 2003 Fax.
Windows XP does not support Distinctive Ring. Therefore, Windows XP Fax will answer every incoming call it receives. The alternative is to install an external switching device to your phone line.
Unfortunately, Windows XP Fax has proven to be incompatible with many common modems and drivers, particularly older ones, even if the manufacturers claim they are "compatible" with Windows XP. Although inclusion on the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) is not a guarantee that the modem will be suitable for use with Windows XP Fax Service, it is still the best resource to choose one from. The HCL is available at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog/
Modem incompatibility is not apparent during installation or the initial setup. It only becomes apparent when you first try to send or receive a fax. The Fax Service will dial or will answer an incoming fax but then fail with any of a number of unhelpful error messages such as “Line is busy", "There is no answer" or "Reception error." There will be nothing in Event Viewer to give a clue as to where the problem might lie.
These errors have been nearly impossible to track down. To do so requires enabling both PSS and debug logging of fax transmissions, both of which require fairly extensive registry changes. For the time being, the best advice is to attempt to use Windows XP Fax Services only if you have a modem that is listed on the Windows XP Hardware Compatibility List and using the latest drivers.
When you create an Outlook contact that has a ‘Business Fax’ filled in addition to his email address, you see two entries for this contact in the address list. That is when you are in a new mail composing form, you click To: to select the contact to send the mail – here you see two entries for the same contact.
This problem has nothing to do with the presence of the fax. The standard behavior for the Outlook Address book is to display all electronic address (both fax and e-mail). That behavior cannot be changed. The only way to prevent the display of fax numbers is to store them in a different field or to disguise them (e.g., precede them with an alpha character) so that Outlook won't recognize them as phone numbers. There are also a number of utilities available that can do this for you automatically. Some are listed here: http://www.slipstick.com/contacts/nofax.htm
Client/Server faxing requires either:
1. Windows 2003 Server and Windows XP clients. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/fax/faxlegacy_1u42.asp
2. Windows 2000 Small Business Server Shared Fax with the SBS Client installed on clients.
a. Please refer to the SBS documentation to know which clients are supported
If you’re talking about internet based faxing solutions (where you have no fax hardware at all), Microsoft’s solution is incorporated with Office and is unrelated to the Windows Fax Services. See http://office.microsoft.com/services/service.aspx?sid=55.4
In Printers and Faxes (Start, Printers and Faxes), on the left pane, you have Install Local Fax Printer as one of the Printer tasks. Just click on it and you’ll get back the lost Fax printer icon.
The same option can be reached through context menu or File, Install Local Fax Printer.
Sending a fax by DSL requires one of two methods:
1. You obtain a DSL line filter suitable for connecting a standard voice telephone to the DSL line, then connect an analog fax modem to the line through the line filter.
2. You hire an Internet E-faxing service. See
Windows 2000 Fax installs automatically when it detects a compatible analog fax modem. The following shortcuts will be added in Programs, Accessories,Communications, Fax
· · Fax Queue
· · Fax Service Management
· · My Faxes
· · Send Cover page
It cannot act as a client to the older Microsoft Fax Service from Windows 95. It can act as a client only to the Shared Fax Service provided by Small Business Server or to the shared fax printer on Windows Server 2003.
You cannot share "Fax" on Windows 2000. This is however supported in SBS2000 and Windows Server 2003
You could look at COM interfaces (on Windows 2000) or the extended COM interfaces for Windows XP and above.
You can find more information on the COM interfaces at
For information on extended COM interfaces, check
For some fax service extended COM samples see
Microsoft Fax supports two resolutions - 200x200 dpi (normal) and draft 200x100 dpi
On all versions of Windows XP and in Windows Server 2003 Web Server, the device limit is 1.
On all versions of Windows 2000, the device limit is 2.
On Windows Server 2003 Server and Windows Server 2003 Embedded, the device limit is 4.
On Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Server and Windows Server 2003 Data Center Server there is no device limit.
Using APIs, it is not possible. See question #22 above for information on work-arounds.
You can create a new dialing rule for your calling card from the Send Fax Wizard ->Dialing Rules. In the Dialing Rules dialog, select New and select the calling card tab and enter the required calling card details. If your Calling card settings are part of the per-user settings, you are out of luck with Windows XP Fax. The XP Fax Service can only run under the System account, so per-user settings are not available to it.
Faxes you have received are automatically archived in the Fax Console’s Inbox and faxes you have sent are archived in the Fax Console’s Sent Items Folder. You can easily access and save these folders from Windows Explorer. The default location of these folders is:
<drive>:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows NT\MSFax\
Simply copy their contents into the same folder in a new installation.
You’ll find the default cover pages in the same location, but there should be no need to copy them. If you’ve created any custom cover pages, they will be stored in your default My Documents Folder\Personal Coverpages as a *.cov file. Simply copy these to the same location in a new installation.
27. Can I use my “Fax capable” Cell phone; Fax Equipped ISDN adapter; VoIP (Broadband) Telephone service with XP Fax?
Maybe. XP Fax has more than enough trouble with a good many analog modems connected to regular wire telephone lines. Attempting to use it with anything even remotely "non-standard", including Cell phones with Fax modem emmulation, ISDN adapters with fax modem ports, etc. very often give it (and you and us and lots of other folk) heartburn.
Last Updated 30 Dec 2004