Creating a fax server

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Windows 95 Professional
A Publication of The Cobb Group

Published March 1997

How much time could the people at your company save each day by sending faxes directly from their desks instead of waiting in line to use a busy fax machine? Unfortunately, buying every employee a personal fax machine would be very expensive, not to mention the cost of all those added phone lines.

But what if you could have the best of both worlds—the convenience of all your users being able to fax from their desks and the affordability of only one phone line? That's exactly what a Microsoft fax server can give you. If you're thinking such a valuable tool must be expensive, relax—all the software you need comes with Windows 95 and the server software doesn't require a dedicated machine.

In this article, we'll explain how to create and configure a Microsoft fax server

The first step in our technique is to create a fax server that functions as a queue for outgoing faxes. All network users will be able to send faxes to the queue, and the queue will use a modem to actually send the faxes to their intended recipients. The entire process is transparent to end users. As far as they're concerned, faxes are being sent directly from their PCs to the documents' final destinations.

We recommend setting up your fax server on a dedicated PC or a high-end computer that is in fairly light use. Of course, your needs will depend on the number of faxes you expect the server to handle. If your company has a small network and sends only a few faxes each day, you may be able to get by with running the fax server in the background of a workstation. With this approach, you just need to make sure the workstation's users know that they can never turn off the machine.

When you've selected a PC to use as your fax server, you can begin setting up the server software by double-clicking the Mail and Fax icon in Control Panel. Windows 95 will display the MS Exchange Settings Properties sheet. Now, click the Show Profiles button to open the Microsoft Exchange Profiles dialog box, shown in Figure A .


Figure A: Click the Show Profiles button on the Microsoft Exchange Settings Properties sheet to display this dialog box.

You can create an entirely new profile by clicking the Add button, but for the purpose of this article we'll edit the default profile. (If you choose to create a new profile, you'll need to return to the Microsoft Exchange Profiles dialog box and use the General tab's dropdown list to tell Exchange your startup preference.)

To begin, click the Properties button to open the MS Exchange Settings Properties sheet. Then, click the Add button, and you'll see the Add Service to Profile dialog box, shown in Figure B.

Figure B: . You can use this dialog box to enable Exchange to process faxes.

Figure B: . You can use this dialog box to enable Exchange to process faxes.

At this point, select Microsoft Fax from the Available information services list box and click OK. In the resulting dialog box, click Yes and you'll see the Microsoft Fax Properties dialog box, shown in Figure C. Now, fill in the fields on the User tab. Later, you'll have the option of incorporating this information in a cover sheet for faxes sent by this machine's user.


Figure C: This dialog box lets you customize the fax service.

Next, click the Modem tab and select the Let other people on the network use my modem to send faxes check box. At this point, you'll see the Select Drive dialog box. Simply select the drive the network fax service will use and click OK. The server drive must be on the local machine and typically should have plenty of spare room. Now, click the Properties button next to the share name and you'll see the NetFax dialog box. Assign a share name and give everyone on your network full access, as shown in Figure D. (If you grant just read-only access, no one will be able to submit fax jobs through the server.) To finish this step of the setup procedure, click OK and you'll return to the Microsoft Fax Properties sheet.


Figure D: Assign your modem a share name and give everyone full access.

Now, choose the desired modem from the Available fax modems list on the Modem tab, then click the Properties button next to it. Windows 95 will display the Fax Modem Properties sheet, which gives you the opportunity to customize your modem's behavior, as shown in Figure E. Click OK when you've finished making your selections.


Figure E: This dialog box lets you customize your modem's behavior.

You'll now see the Microsoft Fax Properties sheet, which we showed you earlier in Figure C. You've probably noticed the Message and Dialing tabs, which we won't cover in detail here since they aren't essential to our fax server technique. In short, these tabs allow you to customize additional server properties, such as the time you want to transmit a fax (which is useful if you're trying to keep your long-distance bill low), the content of a custom fax cover, and so on. When you've set all the preferences you want, click the OK button at the bottom of the Microsoft Fax Properties sheet and restart Exchange to finish configuring your fax server.


Creating a fax server can increase your company's productivity and save money on long-distance bills and new equipment purchases. In this article, we've explained how to create and configure a fax server.

The article entitled "Configuring a Microsoft 95 Fax Server" was originally published in Windows 95 Professional, March 1997. Copyright © 1997, The Cobb Group, 9420 Bunson Parkway, Louisville, KY 40220. All rights reserved. For subscription information, call the Cobb Group at 1-800-223-8720."

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