Fax Sharing

To understand the improvements in the fax service for Windows Server 2003, you need to understand how faxing works in Windows 2000. Because faxing in Windows 2000 is extremely limited, it might be unfamiliar to some administrators, so we'll go over the basics here.

Faxing the Windows 2000 Way

Windows 2000 doesn't make faxing very easy. Basically, you first have to install a fax printer, configure the device, and learn to live with the operating system's limited faxing capabilities.

Installing Fax Printers

In Windows 2000, the fax service is installed by default. To enable faxing, you simply install a modem. After a modem is installed, a printer called Fax magically appears in the Printers control panel. You can install additional modems, but they do not show up as additional fax printers in the Printers control panel. Instead, they appear in the Fax Administration console as additional fax devices.

Fax Device Configuration and Routing Options

Each device in the Fax Administration console can be configured to receive incoming faxes, send outgoing faxes, or both. Devices configured as outgoing simply send the fax via the fax device; devices configured to receive incoming faxes require further configuration to designate what to do with the incoming faxes. The Received Faxes configuration options are as follows:

  • Print On? The fax gets printed to a local printer.

  • Save in Folder? The fax is stored locally in a specified directory on the server.

  • Send to Local Email Inbox Profile Name? The fax is sent to the inbox of a mail profile on the server.


To be able to send to a local email inbox, the fax service needs to be configured to log on as a user with administrative privileges. Additionally, a mail client must be installed and a MAPI profile must be configured for the user profile used by the fax service account.

You might have noticed in this description that everything is local: Incoming options are the local printer, local file, or local profile.


The biggest limitation of the Windows 2000 fax service is that it cannot be shared. This means that all outgoing faxes need to be sent from the server and all incoming faxes are stored locally on the server in some form. This is all well and good for a client machine, but generally you don't want to have to log on locally to your servers.

Faxing the Windows Server 2003 Way

Windows Server 2003 improves Windows' built-in faxing capabilities. It improves installation and offers the capability to share fax printers with network users, giving you an effective entry-level network fax solution.

Installing the Fax Service

The first clue that faxing in Windows Server 2003 is different from Windows 2000 is in the fax service itself. It is not installed by default. Installing a fax modem does not magically generate a fax printer in the Printers, now called Printers and Faxes, control panel applet. To enable faxing in Windows Server 2003, you need to install the fax service using Add/Remove Programs?Add/Remove Windows Components, just like any other service. After it's installed, a whole host of new features are available.

First, when a modem is installed, the fax printer appears in Printers and Faxes. Unlike Windows 2000, this fax printer queue can be shared out just like any other print share, enabling remote users to be able to print to it and thereby send outgoing faxes via the fax server.

Fax Device Configuration and Routing Options

The Fax Administration console, now called the Fax Service Management console, has been greatly improved. In addition to showing all the fax devices, it has several new configuration properties for controlling the behavior of faxes. For example, you can set different archival settings to maintain copies of sent or received faxes. You can also record incoming and outgoing events, as well as Activity Logging and Event Reporting. Activity Logging enables you to write incoming and outgoing activities to a special log, whereas Event Reporting controls the level of information written to the Windows Application Event Log.


The Fax Service Management console displays all fax devices installed on the server. However, if a new modem is installed, it does not show up as a device in the Fax Service Management console until the Fax Service is restarted.

The routing options for incoming faxes have also been extended. As shown in Figure 8.3, you can still print directly to a local printer or save to a local folder as before; however, the incoming email routing option enables routing to any email address via an SMTP server that you configure in the fax properties. You can also arrange multiple devices into device groups. Devices groups are just that?collections of devices that enable you to treat multiple devices as a single unit. Another new feature is the ability to designate rules; you can create rules to designate faxes destined for a certain region/country and area code to use specific fax devices (or groups of devices).

Figure 8.3. Routing incoming faxes via email.


The fax client, previously the fax queue application, has been replaced with the Fax Console. With the Fax Console, you can send and receive faxes, create cover letters, and so on. Another new console, the Fax Monitor, enables you to monitor the status of current faxes, and it can be configured to automatically pop up whenever a fax is sent or received.


Pre-Windows XP clients can also use the enhanced administration and faxing features of the Windows Server 2003 fax service by installing the fax client from \\servername\faxclient, which is physically located in \\%systemroot%\\SYSTEM32\clients\faxclient.