Ever since I began using Microsoft Small Business Server 2000, I was thrilled with all of the features included which were not found anywhere else by Microsoft. Many of the useful features required third-party add on tools. One such tool was the shared fax server.
Beginning with Microsoft Windows Server 2003, a shared fax server became a built in feature. However documentation on how to implement this new feature is sparse at best. This documentation is based on a Windows 2003 Server (all editions except Web), and Windows XP for your client.
- Collect the required resources you will need:
- A winfax modem or equivalent – I highly reccomend an external modem. From time to time modems can lock up and a restart of the fax is required. It’s much easier to restart an external modem, versus restarting an entire server
- Windows Server CD, or the i386 directory at least
- Windows XP CD, or the i386 directory at least
- Required administrator passwords
- Cables as necessary
- Install the fax hardware, specifically following the manufacture’s instructions. If you’re one to just figure it out, don’t on this one. Make sure you install the software/hardware in the correct order. I also highly recommend you use a hardware vendor which has Windows Server certified drivers
- Install the Microsoft Fax Service feature. This can be found under Control Pannel > Add/Remove Programs > Add/Remove Windows Components. During the installation you may be required to insert your Windows 2003 Server CD or locate your i386 directory. Whenever you use an i386 directory, make sure it matches the version you installed on your server (i.e. be careful when using an i386 directory from another server).
- Create a fax printer in the same way you add a new printer. This can be found under Control Pannel > Printer and Faxes. Click Install A Local Fax Printer, and follow the prompts.A new printer named Fax will be created instantly and the icon will look like a fax machine. Also be sure to share the fax just as you would another printer. In this instance, use the share name of fax.
- Now it’s time to configure each workstation. Install the Microsoft Fax Service feature. This can be found under Control Pannel > Add/Remove Programs > Add/Remove Windows Components. During the installation you may be required to insert your Windows XP CD or locate your i386 directory.
- The easiest way to add the fax is to go to Start > Run and enter the UNC path to your fax, such as \\server\fax. The process will automatically install the shared fax onto your computer
- You’re all done
To test your fax, open any document and print as usual only select the \\server\fax as your printer. You will be prompted to enter the destination information. The fax will send out and you’re all set.