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How to set up a fax server?

Here is a step by step guide to help you configure your network fax to perform efficient faxing functions.

Instead of sending your fax straight to a phone line, you send it to a fax server--a computer with a fax modem and special software

If you overwork on you fax server or if you just have too many people working on it, Windows fax server won't cut it.

Tired of taking a copy to be faxed to the fax machine, inserting the paper carefully, dialing the number, and waiting around to see whether the machine has made a connection and so on? You do all that work to convert printed data on paper into electronic bits and back to print on paper.

Doesn't this seem like a huge waste of energy and money?
Won't it be great if you could get your PCs and networks to handle faxing for you? Here we show you in steps, how to implement a network fax.

With network fax, you use a server on your network to manage your faxing, instead of a fax machine. Instead of sending your fax straight to a phone line, you send it to a fax server--a computer with a fax modem and special software that takes care of the following fax needs:

Queing the fax, allowing fax to be in a line to be sent in an orderly fashion.
Resending the fax if it encounters a problem.
Acknowledging the delivery of faxes.

Sending the fax in the cheapest way possible, such as, sending it during off-hours.

Setting up the Fax Server
Follow these steps to turn your Windows PC into your new fax server

Double click the inbox icon on your Windows desktop.

Microsoft Exchange opens. If you've installed Microsoft Fax as part of your Windows installation, Microsoft Exchange should include the menu items Tools -> Microsoft Fax Tools, which contains the settings you need to adjust. If you don't see Microsoft Fax Tools, run Windows Setup to add this feature.

Choose Tools - > Microsoft Fax Tools - > Options.
The Microsoft Fax Properties dialog box opens.

Click the Modem tab in the Microsoft Fax Properties dialog box.
The Modem tab opens, giving you options for configuring your modem.

Click to put a check mark in the Let Other People On The Network Use My Modem To Send Faxes check box.
If you have more than one drive, Windows displays the Select Drive dialog box.

If the Select Drive dialog box appears choose from the list box to select a drive on your computer that has plenty of storage space for storing faxes as they're sent and received. Click OK.

he more space that is available on the drive you choose, the better off you are. A few hundred megabytes would be great, but you can probably get away with less in a pitch. Clicking OK returns you to the Modem tab of the Microsoft Fax Properties dialog box.

Click the Properties button.
A dialog box opens, named after the folder that Windows has set aside to store your fax transmissions. A dialog box named C:\NetFax, indicating that fax transmissions will be stored in the C:\NetFax folder appears.

Click Shared As to share the fax modem with other users.
The Share Name text box now changes from gray to white, indicating that you can enter a name for your fax device.

In the Share Name text box, enter a name for your fax devices.
FAX is a good name, unless you have something better in mind or you already have another fax device on your network using that name. In the same dialog box, if you like, you can set a password that users need to enter before they can send faxes.

Click OK and then click OK again.
Your server is all set now. The section below shows you how to configure the other workstations.
Setting up other Windows PCs to use your fax server
The following section shows you how to set your Windows PCs to use your fax server. So move over to your first client and follow these steps.

Double click the Inbox icon on your Windows desktop.
Microsoft Exchange opens.

Choose Tools - > Microsoft Fax Tools - > Options.
The Microsoft Fax Properties dialog box opens.

Click the Modem tab in the Microsoft Fax Properties dialog box.
The Modem page appears giving you options for configuring your modem.

Click the Add button.
The Add A Fax Modem dialog box opens.

Select Network Fax Server from Select The Type Of Fax Modem You Want To Use list box, and then click OK.
The Connect To Network Fax Server dialog box opens.

In the Path text box, enter the network name where your PC can find the network fax server that you want to use.

The network name is a combination of the name of the computer where you set up the server and the name of the fax device that you just set up. Two backslashes appear before the name of the computer; one backslash appears before the name of the fax device.

If you didn't write down the name of the server computer when you set up the fax software there, walk back to the server and choose Start - > Setting - > Control Panel. Double click the Network icon, click the Identification tab, and look in the Computer Name text box.

Click OK in the Connect To Network Fax Server dialog box.
You return to the Modem tab of the Microsoft Fax Properties dialog box.

Choose the new fax server from Available Fax Modems list box and then click the Set As Active Fax Modem button.

Click OK.
Limitations of Windows fax server
If you overwork on your fax server or if you just have too many people working on it, Windows fax server won't cut it. If you need 100 per cent reliability, you might look at other options. If you need heavy-duty management reports or tons of flexibility in customizing cover pages, again, you need to go stronger. For such applications, you have to spend huge sums of money.

If you're a small business organization with lesser than 25 workstations, then Windows fax server or Novell's fax server is suitable. NM

Mahesh Rathod can be reached at rathodmp@hotmail.com

 

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