Saturday, July 26, 2008

Geeky repair - Fax fix on WindowsXP

We had to send an international fax of a Microsoft Word document. I tried to use the File-Print and File-Send-Fax menu options and neither was kicking off connecting to the fax modem on the computer. I had a feeling that I was missing a faxing software, so I looked on the web for some freeware. When doing so, I figured, the fax services are not automatically enabled in Windows XP, and we had to first enable it for any fax software to work. The way to do this is as follows:
  1. Invoke Control Panel from Start menu, then go to Add/Remove Programs
  2. Click on Add WIndows Components on the left. That gives you a dialog with Fax Services check box.
  3. Tick the box by clicking it, and press Next. This should install the files necessary for fax services, and may ask for the Windows XP CD.
However, in my case it gave an error message that it is not able to find fxsapi file on ther CD (in the D:/i386 directory), though I could see it there. First, I tried downloading the fxsapi.dll file from the web and tried again. However, that only gives you another file missing - this time fxsclnt. That was not the fix, as you could take forever doing this for all fxs files it complains as missing. Browsing a bit more, I found the real fix was to clean up the system security log in %SYSTEMROOT% directory (which is usually (C:\Windows\System32\Security). The following link from Microsoft explains the procedure: Notice that it leads to this link for the actual fix:

The link I need to thank for identifying this fix:

Once I applied this fix, the fax services was installed. It also asked for the Microsoft Office software CD, but that went smooth, so finally the fax services started working (we never sent the fax after all this, but that was for another reason).

I was amazed and frustrated that something like this would require a complex unrelated security fix such as above. Let's just be happy other devices like TV, phones, DVD players are not as complex as a PC or Windows XP.

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