BOOT CAMP ARCHIVE 1999

  

 

BOOT CAMP 101

RECEIVING FAXES ON YOUR PC

A few weeks ago we looked at how to compose and send faxes from a Windows PC. Since then we've had a steady stream of enquiries asking for details of how to set up a PC to receive faxes. The good news is that it can be done and we'll show you how in a moment but it has to be said that PCs are not a very satisfactory substitute for a proper fax machine, at least as far as processing incoming faxes are concerned.

The reasons are simple. In order to receive a fax Windows and the fax software has to be running, with you in attendance to click the mouse buttons. Clearly that is not very convenient, unless you know in advance when a fax is coming. PCs and modems can be configured to automatically answer incoming calls but if you only have one telephone line and can't beat the PC to pick up the phone, non-fax callers will be treated to a blast of fax tone when they call. It is also possible to set some Windows PCs to wake up from sleep or hibernation mode to answer a fax call. However, it can take several seconds for the PC and software to initialise and this can lead to problems since some fax machines may give up if they don't get a more or less immediate response.

There's more, unlike outgoing faxes sent from a PC, which are usually word processor text files, incoming faxes are basically images. In order to turn a fax into a text file that can be opened in a word processor it has to be read by OCR software (see Jargon Filter) and only then if the fax is typewritten and crisply defined. Having faxes on screen and stored on a PC's hard disc drive can be an advantage but if you end up printing them out then you might as well be done with it and buy a fax machine. Prices start at less than £100, they are a lot easier to set up and use and much more reliable than a PC, they're cheaper to run, can be left on 24 hours a day and a lot of models can distinguish between voice and fax calls.

If that hasn't put you off the idea then here's how you do it. If you have a Windows 95 machine and you didn't follow or missed the procedure in the October 28th edition of Boot Camp the first step is to install Microsoft Fax. It is not usually loaded by default so make sure you have your Windows CD-ROM installation disc to hand and go to Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel. Select the Windows Set-up tab scroll down the list in the Components list and look for Microsoft Fax. Put a tick in the box, click OK and follow the instructions. Whilst you are in Add/Remove Programs make sure that Windows Messaging is also installed, (check the desktop to see if you have an Inbox icon) and Windows Imaging, if not install both items of software now.

Windows 98 PCs doesn't come with stand-alone fax software as standard but Microsoft Fax is hidden away on the installation CD-ROM. Load it into the drive and if it runs automatically click on 'Browse this CD' button. Otherwise open the disc from My Computer by double clicking on the drive icon. Next open the Tools folder then click and open Oldwin 95 > Message > Intnl and double click on the file wms.exe. Follow the installation instructions. When it has finished go back to the Intnl folder and install the file awfax.exe by double clicking on it.  When Windows restart don't forget to leave the Windows 98 disc in the drive, when the machine has finished booting the configuration wizard will start. Just fill in details when prompted to do so. You will be asked if you want Microsoft Fax to automatically answer incoming calls; unless you have a separate fax line or only expect to receive faxes whilst working on the PC select No (you can enable it later).

It's a good idea to test everything before you try using it in anger so arrange for a friend or colleague to send you a fax. To enable the fax utility double click on the Inbox icon on the desktop and this will open Windows Messaging, after a few seconds a small fax machine icon should appear in the System Tray and the PC is now ready. (Incidentally if you want to enable your modem's auto answer mode right click on the fax machine icon and select Modem Properties).

Left click on the Fax icon and a Fax Status dialogue box should appear on the screen with the word idle. When the phone rings and presuming it is your incoming text fax, click on the Answer Now button. You can answer the phone manually, if you hear a fax tone click the Answer button. If the set-up is successful the Fax Status dialogue box should show that that the connection has been made then display the page number and amount of data received. When the call is complete a new entry will appear in Windows Messaging Inbox. Double click on it and the Windows Imaging utility will open, displaying the contents of the received fax. From Windows Imaging you can edit, file or print the image, as the fancy takes you.

Next week – Create a calendar

 

JARGON FILTER

HIBERNATION MODE

The PC is 'asleep', with the disc drives dormant and Windows and running programs suspended but the processor is still active and the system can be revived in just a few seconds by pre-determined actions (mouse or keyboard activity, modem ring etc.)

OCR

Optical Character Recognition – software which converts an image into a text file by identifying patterns of alphanumeric characters  

SYSTEM TRAY

Area on the far right of the Windows Taskbar reserved for running applications, frequently used utilities and the desktop clock

 

TOP TIP

Does your Windows 98 desktop PC seem to be taking longer and longer to boot up? Here's a totally safe way to claw back several valuable seconds, and it's only seven mouse clicks away! Go to the Start menu and proceed thus: Settings > Control Panel > System, select the Performance tab, then the File System button and the Floppy Disc tab and deselect the item 'Search for new floppy disc drives each time your system starts'. The facility is meant for laptop machines, which use detachable external floppy drives. Since the drive on your desktop PC is permanently attached there is no need for Windows to look for a new one; this pointless activity wastes three or four seconds of boot-up time on some machines. Don't scoff, three seconds a day, say, 250 days a year comes to twelve and a half minutes a year, in only four and a bit years this simple tweak will have saved you almost one hour, use this time wisely!

Search PCTopTips 


Web

PCTopTips

Boot Camp Index

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

 

Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME

 

 

 

 

 

 Copyright 2006-2009 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.