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The Windows Fax Server is a server role that allows administering, sending, and receiving faxes in an enterprise setting. It provides many of the same benefits we get using other centralized server functions, such as a print server.
Instead of having to install fax machines on client computers with the requisite management, monitoring, and troubleshooting, the Fax Server server role provides shared fax functionality. In this way, you configure the Windows Fax Server server role once and then point end users to the shared fax functionality.
The Fax Server server role includes:
- Fax Service Manager
- Windows Fax and Scan
- Fax printer
- Fax service
The Fax Service Manager is a Microsoft MMC snap-in that provides centralized administration for configuring your fax resources. The Windows Fax and Scan console enables sending faxes, adding accounts, and monitoring incoming faxes via the fax queue, the inbox, and the outbox.
Install Windows Fax Server
Microsoft documents six steps needed to configure and set up a fax server on Windows Server. These include:
- Install the Windows Fax Server server role.
- Install and share a fax printer.
- Add and remove fax devices.
- Configure fax devices to send and receive.
- Configure fax settings.
- Set up user accounts.
Install the Windows Fax Server server role
The Fax Server server role is easily added using Server Manager in Windows Server 2022.
When prompted, click Add Features to add the features required for the Fax Server server role.
Review the Fax Server information displayed during the role installation. Next, on the Select role services screen, select the role service to install for Print and Document Services.
Confirm the role installation options, and click Install. The Fax Server role, Print and Document Services, and RSAT components for Fax Services administration are added.
Install and share a fax printer
If you have not connected a fax device to your local Windows Server 2022 server, a local fax printer connection called Fax is automatically created. If you navigate to Devices and Printers, you will see it listed:
You will want to share the fax device with your users, so navigate to the Printer properties and share the printer.
Add and remove fax devices
The next step is to add and remove fax devices. To do that, open Windows Fax and Scan. Navigate to Tools > Fax Accounts.
Click Add in the Fax Accounts dialog box.
Select Connect to a fax modem.
Select a name for the modem, and choose how you want it to receive faxes.
The new fax modem is listed in the Fax Accounts dialog box.
If you open the Fax Service Manager, you should be able to refresh the Devices and see your newly added fax device.
Configure fax devices to send and receive
Now you can configure your fax devices to send and receive faxes. In Microsoft Fax Service Manager, right-click your fax device and select Properties. In the properties dialog box, you can select the transmission settings for the fax device.
Configure fax settings
You can configure many different fax settings, including incoming and outgoing routing, email delivery, etc. In particular, many will be interested in Incoming routing, as this directs the Fax Service service in what to do with incoming fax messages.
In the Incoming Methods configuration, you can decide how you want the fax messages to be routed, including:
- Route through email
- Store in a folder
If you enable Print, you will be directed to the Print Properties configuration, where you can select the physical printer attached to the server where you want the fax messages to be printed.
To deliver faxes to email, you need to configure the SMTP connection on the Receipts tab of the Fax Properties dialog box. Here, you can configure the from email address, SMTP server address, and any authentication configuration.
You can also decide the order in which fax messages are routed in the Incoming Routing > Global Methods configuration.
Set up user accounts
To access the fax server running in Windows Server 2022, you need a user account. However, instead of requiring a lot of administrative effort to create accounts, you can configure the Windows Server 2022 fax server to generate the fax user accounts automatically. If you choose, you can also manually create fax accounts by clearing the checkbox and creating user accounts for access.
The Windows Fax Server role still works well in Windows Server 2022 and is a role and functionality that Microsoft continues to carry forward. Although it doesn't offer all the features of a full-blown third-party solution, it is still good enough, especially for smaller environments.
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As shown, the process of setting up a fax server with Windows Server 2022 is relatively straightforward and mirrors the process required in previous releases of Windows Server.