Setting Up A Fax Server

I was asked if I could set up a fax machine so that incoming faxes were delivered to people's Exchange inboxes and so that they could send faxes from their desktops without needing to print the document first.  I knew it was possible but I had no idea how tedious and complicated it would be, with very little cohesive help online.  So I've written this article to talk anybody else wanting to achieve the same thing through the process from start to finish.

What You Will Need
A computer running Windows Server 2008 as your fax server (you can probably use Windows 7 just as well but I haven't tested it).
A fax modem.  I used a US Robotics USR5637, which connects to a USB port on the server.
A second fax machine that you already know works, for testing.
Details of your SMTP server for routing faxes by email.

Configure The Server

1. Install the Fax Server Role

1. Open the Server Manager console.  There's usually a shortcut in the Quick Launch bar but if not find it under Start > Administrative Tools.
2. In the Roles Summary section in the right-hand pane of the Server Manager click Add Roles.
3. The Add Roles Wizard launches.  Click Next on the Before You Begin page.
4. On the Server Roles page check the box alongside Fax Server.  Click Next and progress through the wizard until the new role is installed.

2. Install the modem

Next install the fax modem on your Windows Server 2008 box (from here on just called 'the server').  Instructions on how to do this should come with the fax modem itself, along with the drivers it needs.  I had problems getting my fax modem to connect to the internal telephone network, which I didn't know about until I tried to send a test fax (see below).  Troubleshooting problems with the telephone network is beyond the scope of this article, though.

Once this is complete a new Fax device should appear in the Devices and Printers window (Start > Devices and Printers).

3. Connect to Fax Modem

1. Open Windows Fax And Scan.  This is usually found in Start > All Programs.
2. Select Tools > Fax Accounts... from the Windows Fax And Scan toolbar.
3. In the Fax Accounts window that opens click Add....
4. The Fax Setup wizard launches.  Click Connect to a fax modem.
5. Enter a friendly name for the account.  It doesn't matter what you choose, and unless you're planning on connecting multiple fax modems to this machine you'll probably never care what you entered here.  When you've entered a name click Next.
6. Click on Answer automatically.
7. The Fax Setup wizard closes.  There should now be a new account in the Fax Accounts window.  Click Close.

At this point the server should be ready to send a fax.  Let's test it!

4. Send a Test Fax

1. In Windows Fax And Scan click the New Fax button on the toolbar.
2. A New Fax window opens.  It's just like writing an email, except in the To: box you enter the destination fax number.  To send a test fax you're going to need another fax machine that you know is working to send to.  Don't forget, if you need to dial 9 to get an outside line on your telephone, you need to prefix the destination fax number with a 9 too.
3. Enter some text in the Subject: field and the body of the message.
4. Hit the Send button.
5. Click on the Outbox folder in the left-hand pane of Windows Fax And Scan and you'll see the message you just sent, along with the status of its transmission.  When transmission completes successfully it'll move the to the Sent Items folder.

If this test doesn't work you need to troubleshoot it until it does because nothing after this point will work either until you can send faxes directly from the server like this.

5. Route faxes to Email Address (Optional)

If you want to you can configure the server to automatically deliver faxes it receives to an email address.  As far as I can determine you can only route to one address.  Here's how:

1. Open the Fax Service Manager (Start > Administrative Tools > Fax Service Manager).
2. In the left-hand pane right-click on the top node in the tree, probably Fax (local), and click Properties.
3. In the Properties window select the Receipts tab.
4. Check the box alongside Use these SMTP settings for the Route Through E-Mail incoming routing method.
5. In the From e-mail address: box above enter the email address from which routed faxes will be sent.
6. In the Server address: box enter the SMTP server for your mail account.
7. In the Port: box enter the port that your SMTP server uses.  This will almost certainly be 25.
8. Click the Authentication... button.
9. In the Authentication window ensure that Anonymous access is selected.
10. Click OK to close the Authentication window.
11. Click OK to close the Fax (local) Properties window.
12. In the left-hand pane of the Fax Service Manager expand the Devices and Providers node, then Devices, the node named after your fax modem, and finally select Incoming Methods.
13. In the right-hand pane, right-click on Route through e-mail and choose Properties.
14. In the Route through e-mail Properties window select the E-mail tab and enter the email address to which you want faxes to be delivered, then click OK.
15.  In the right-hand pane, right-click on Route through e-mail again and choose Enable.

You can now test this by sending a fax from your secondary, test fax machine to the number of the phone line to which your fax modem is connected.  You should see it appear in the Incoming folder in Windows Fax and Scan until it is fully received, after which it'll move to the Inbox, and an email will be delivered to the address you specified in step 14.

6. Configure Clients to Send Faxes

If you want to be able to send faxes using your fax server from a client workstation, this is how.

1. On a Windows 7 PC open the Devices and Printers window (Start > Devices and Printers).
2. Click the Add a Printer button.
3. Click Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer.
4. Select Select a shared printer by name and then in the box beneath enter two backslashes and then the name of your server followed by a backslash and the share name of the modem, e.g. \\faxserver\fax.  In my case this didn't work as easily as that - I had to click on the Browse... button, find my fax server in the listed network devices, and then when I double-clicked on it I was prompted for login credentials.  After entering the username and password of an administrator account on the server I was able to select the modem connected to the server.
5. Click Next and complete the Add Printer wizard.  Don't set the fax as your default printer when prompted.
6. Still on the Windows 7 PC open Windows Fax and Scan (Start > All Programs > Windows Fax and Scan).
7. Choose Tools > Fax Accounts... from the toolbar.
8. In the Fax Accounts window click the Add... button.
9. Click Connect to a fax server on my network and click Next.
10. In the Name box enter two backslashes and then the name of your fax server, e.g. \\faxserver and click Next.
11. In the Name box enter a friendly name for the fax account.  Just as when we did this on the server, it doesn't matter what you enter and probably never will unless you're connecting to multiple fax servers.  Click Done when you've entered a name.
12. Click Close to close the Fax Accounts window.

You should now be able to send a test fax, following the instructions in step 4: Send A Test Fax above..[Step="7" title="Send a Fax From Microsoft Word"]Sending a fax from Word is easy.  

1. Open up Word and type your document
2. Go to print the document.  In the Print dialogue, select the fax as your printer, and click OK to print.
3. Because this is the first time you've done this you may get a warning message pop up saying something about needing to connect to a fax account.  If so, just click OK.
4. A New Fax window opens, the same as when you create a new fax in Windows Fax and Scan, with your document attached as an image.  In the To: box enter the recipient's fax number, and enter a subject and some text in the body if you wish.
5. Click Send.[/step][Step="8" title="Configure Microsoft Outlook to Send Faxes"]You can also configure Outlook to send faxes.

1. Open Outlook (I'm using Outlook 2007, other versions will probably differ slightly in where things can be found).
2. Click on Tools > Account Settings... from the toolbar.
3. In the Account Settings window click New....
4. Select Other and then Fax Mail Transport and click Next.
5. Complete the wizard.
6. In the Account Settings window select the Fax Mail Transport account you just created and click on the Change... button above.
7. In the Fax Mail Transport window ensure that under Fax Printers: your fax printer is selected, then click OK.
8. Click Close to close the Account Settings window.[/step]

9. Send a fax from Microsoft Outlook

This is really easy but took me a while to figure out!  To send a fax from Outlook:

1. Create a new email message in the usual way.
2. Click the Account button under the Send button and choose Fax Mail Transport.
3. Create you message in the usual way.
4. In the To: box enter the recipient's fax number like this: [Fax:nnnnnnn], including the square brackets, with no spaces, where nnnnnnn is the recipient's number.
5. Click Send.
And that's it.  I hope this is useful - it certainly would have been to me five days ago!!

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