Windows XP is well over a decade old. Nevertheless, as of December 2015, it’s still installed on 10.59% of all computers around the world. That means millions of people are still using Windows XP to this day.
Despite its age, Windows XP is an excellent operating system. If you’re trying to fax with Windows XP, then you’ll be happy to find that there are a number of different options available – including options that require only an internet connection and other options that allow you to connect a fax machine to your Windows XP PC.
There are three main ways to send a fax using Windows XP
- Sign up for an online fax service
- Connect a fax machine or multi-purpose printer to your Windows XP PC
- Use Windows XP software called Fax Console
Keep in mind that Windows XP has not been supported by Microsoft since April 8, 2014, and will no longer be updated. Accordingly, many fax machine manufacturers and software makers no longer update their old Windows XP software – so you may run into compatibility issues along the way.
If that doesn’t stop you, then keep reading!
Using the Built-in Fax Console Software
Windows XP can send, receive, track, and monitor faxes without the use of an internal fax machine.
Modern versions of Windows come with fax software pre-installed. Windows XP, however, does not automatically install this component during Windows setup. You’ll need to install a program called Fax Console to access the built-in faxing capabilities of Windows XP.
What you need to run Fax Console from a Windows XP computer:
- A computer running Windows XP
- Your Windows XP CD (not always required, but you may be prompted to insert it during installation if your computer doesn’t have the right data pre-loaded)
- A modem or fax board on your computer (most computers with telephone line connections already have this, as do most modern modems)
- An active phone line (VoIP won’t work because it will scramble your fax data)
- A document you want to send
How to Configure and Setup Fax Console
Fax Console isn’t pre-installed on Windows XP, but it’s available on your Windows XP CD. You may need that CD to install Fax Console (sometimes your computer has all the required data in its Windows XP data folder already). Here’s the step by step guide to installing that software:
Step 1) Insert your Windows XP CD into your computer
Step 2) Open a run command (go to Start then click Run)
Step 3) Copy and paste or type the following command in the Open box, then click OK: appwiz.cpl
Step 4) Your computer will eventually compile a list of all programs, and then you’ll see the Add or Remove Programs dialog box
Step 5) Under the Components list, click to select the Fax Services check box, and then click Next. Setup will install the fax services.
Step 6) If you see the Microsoft “Welcome to Windows XP” window open, click escape and ignore it
Step 7) Click Finish, then close the Add or Remove Programs dialog box
The fax component of Windows XP, Fax Console, has now been installed and you’re ready to use your Windows XP PC as a fax machine.
Before you do that, you’ll want to customize your faxing.
To do that, go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Communications > Fax > Fax Console.
If this is the first time you’re running the software, then you should see the Fax Configuration Wizard start up. At this point, you’ll need to type the area code or city code of your present location along with other information (tone or pulse telephone, exit codes for internal networks, carrier codes, etc.)
At the next page, you’ll be able to customize which information is displayed on your fax cover page. Click Next again to select your fax device (just choose the modem you want to use).
You can remove the computer’s ability to send faxes by unchecking the Enable Send box. By default, that option is selected.
If you want your computer to receive faxes as well as send them, then you’ll need to check the Enable Receive check box. By default, automatic answering is enabled if you have checked Enable Receive. That means your phone will automatically receive all incoming faxes. You can switch to Manual Answer mode if you don’t want to do this.
Other configuration options include changing your Transmitting Subscriber Identification (TSID) number and your Called Subscription Identification (CSID) number.
Once you’ve finished customizing all of the above preferences, you’re ready to use Fax Console to send and receive faxes through Windows XP.
How to Send and Receive Faxes Using Fax Console in Windows XP
The software is straightforward to use: if you can send and receive emails through Microsoft Outlook, then you won’t have any trouble using Fax Console. Here’s the step by step guide to sending and receiving faxes through Fax Console:
Step 1) Open Fax Console under All Programs > Accessories > Communications > Fax > Fax Console
Step 2) Click File > New Fax (also called Send a Fax in some versions)
There are a few other ways to access this menu as well.
From the Print Box:
Step 1) Go to the Print menu in your document (like by pressing Ctrl + P in Office software)
Step 2) Choose Fax from the Print Dialog Box, then enter all necessary information and press OK
From the Windows XP Control Panel:
Step 1) Open the Control Panel by going to Start > Control Panel
Step 2) Select “Printers and Other Hardware”
Step 3) Click “Printers and Faxes” and then “Send a Fax”
As you can see, there are a few different ways to access the built-in faxing features on Windows XP. After installing Fax Console, you’ll be able to fax over a connected phone line quite easily. Plus, it’s totally free.
Faxing through Windows XP Using a Connected Fax Machine
You can also connect a fax machine or printer to Windows XP to use it for faxing. That printer has to be a multi-purpose type (including copying, printing, scanning, and faxing capabilities).
Basically, this method involves faxing through your computer using an attached fax machine.
The specific way in which you do this varies between fax machines and printers. Some hardware comes with useful drivers and complete software suites for Windows XP. These software programs let you manage all your sent/received faxes from an easy UI.
What You Need
If you’re planning to connect your existing fax machine or printer to Windows XP for faxing, then you’ll need all of the following:
- A computer running Windows XP
- A fax machine or multi-function printer
- An active phone line (not VoIP)
- Documents you want to send
The main difference between this and the Fax Console method listed above is that you don’t need to directly connect the phone line to your PC, which means you don’t need a fax-enabled modem. The fax machine is your modem and faxing platform.
After you’ve connected your fax machine to your Windows XP PC, you can use the built-in software like Fax Console (we taught you how to install this above). Or, you can find software that may have been bundled with your fax machine or printer.
The specific way in which you send a fax will vary from software to software, but it all works in basically the same way: you open the software then click “New Fax” or “Send a Fax.” You send a fax just like you would send an email, typing in your recipient’s fax number where you would normally type an email address.
Online Faxing from Windows XP
The easiest way to fax from Windows XP is through online faxing. Online faxing requires nothing more than an internet connection.
That’s right: you don’t need a fax machine, active phone line, or modem with online faxing. If you have an internet connection and the ability to send an email, then you can use online faxing to send and receive faxes from your Windows XP computer.
How to Online Fax Through Windows XP
Sending and receiving faxes through online faxing is ridiculously easy. Here’s a step by step guide:
Step 1) Sign up for an online fax provider or take advantage of free online fax providers (available if you’re only going to send a handful of faxes and don’t need long-term faxing)
Step 2) Open your internet browser in Windows XP and navigate to your normal email inbox, or just open Microsoft Outlook if you use it
Step 3) Compose a new email. In the recipient field, you’re going to type your recipient’s fax number followed by the online address of your computer fax provider. If you’re using Nextiva, for example, then you’ll type in something like firstname.lastname@example.org, assuming your friend has the number 123-4567.
Step 4) Type your cover letter information into the body of the email. This will be faxed out and delivered prior to your main document (just like a normal faxed cover letter).
Step 5) Add attachments to your email that you wish to fax. Some online fax providers limit the number of attachments you can send in each fax, while others do not. If you’re using popular formats like PDF, DOC, or DOCX, then you should be okay for compatibility. If you’re using something outside of those three formats, then you’ll want to make sure your service supports that format.
Step 6) Once you’ve attached the documents you wish to fax and typed out the body of your email for the cover letter, you’re good to go! Click Send.
After you click Send, your email is sent to your electronic fax provider. That provider then converts the information into faxable format and sends it through the phone lines to your recipient’s fax machine.
There are many advantages to using online faxing. One of the biggest advantages is that the operating system or platform you’re using doesn’t really matter: as long as you can connect to the internet and send an email, you can enjoy online faxing on any Windows XP system.
Of course, online faxing also comes with other major benefits, like the ability to avoid high overhead costs on printing, paper, and ink. There’s also the convenience of accessing your online faxing account from anywhere.
These are the three easiest and most popular ways to send and receive faxes from a Windows XP computer.