RPC Bug #2

Unbeknown to many users of the Windows XP Operating System is that it includes a perfectly capable piece of software that allows your computer to send and receives faxes using the modem built in to your computer.Of course I’m assuming that you, my reader are amongst the 99% of the population that do have a modem built into their computer and that you are not still stuck in the metaphorical ‘dark ages’

Accessing this useful utility is fairly simple but first it has to be installed so to do this, click on ‘Start’, ‘Settings’ and then ‘Control Panel’, ‘Add/Remove Programs’, ‘Add/Remove Windows Components’ and place a tick in the box labelled ‘Fax Services’.Click on next then insert your Windows XP CD-ROM, follow the onscreen instructions and the installation should complete.

To launch the software click on ‘Start’, ‘Programs’, ‘Accessories’, ‘Communications’, ‘Fax’ and then ‘Fax Console’ and the first time you run it you will be required to run the Fax Configuration Wizard which will record settings such as your name, fax number, device setup and so on.Most important is the option you set for receive mode as if you set this to four rings for example then you will find the computer will pick up the phone after four rings whether it is an incoming fax or your mother in law trying to get hold of you.Ideally we would all have separate lines for our fax machine but since this is unlikely to be the case then I recommend that this is set to manual.

Once this has been completed you will be able to send faxes directly from all Windows applications that give you the ability to print as instead of selecting your normal printer there will be the additional option to print to the fax machine.If wanting to fax from Word for example, you would click on ‘File’, ‘Print’, then select the fax instead of your regular printer and click on OK.The send a fax dialogue box would then pop up asking you which number you wish to fax to; simplicity in itself.

If you need to receive a fax then just ensure that the fax console is open then get the person in question to start sending the fax and when the computer indicates that the phone is ringing you should click on ‘File’ and ‘Receive a fax now’ and once complete the incoming fax will appear in your fax console inbox.

There are more advanced features such as the ability to send cover pages but essentially it is a simple utility that does exactly what it says on the tin.Bottom line is however that it’s useful to be able to send and receive faxes and by using the utility provided with Windows you remove the need to shell out between £50 and £150 for a fax machine, the need to worry about equipment maintenance costs and cluttering your home/office with fax paper.Of course, if you wish to send documents that are already in paper form then you’ll need a scanner to get it into the computer but this is a different story altogether.

About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.