How to use Windows Fax and Scan

Last Update: August 9th, 2021

Windows Fax and Scan is a program included free with Microsoft Windows in every version from Vista to Windows 10. It can be used to turn a computer into a fax machine.

On this page we’ll explain how Windows Fax and Scan can be used as fax software. All examples are for Windows 10, however, the program is very similar in Windows Vista, 7, and 8. Windows XP has a program called “Fax Console” which has similar functions but a different interface.

What you’ll need to fax with Windows Fax and Scan

  • A computer running Windows Fax and Scan
  • A landline phone line (VoIP will not work)
  • A fax modem (either internal or external). If you don’t have one there are options for USB fax modems.
  • A phone cord (to connect the modem to the phone line)
  • A document to test the fax with

Things to know before installing

  • When using Windows Fax and Scan as a replacement for a fax machine, the computer will need to be always on and connected to the phone line to receive a fax.
  • If the computer restarts (for example with a system update) Windows Fax and Scan will have to reopen to resume fax machine operations.
  • Windows Fax and Scan will not be able to send and receive faxes over the internet. Any faxing ability is transmitted via the fax modem and the landline phone line.
  • There is no way to connect a cellular phone to act as the landline with Windows Fax and Scan.

Setup Step 1 – Install the fax modem

Install the fax modem to your computer. With most USB fax modems any software drivers will install as soon as the fax modem is connected.

Internal fax modem cards and some USB fax modems will need the software drivers manually installed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the drivers and any software.

Setup Step 2 – Connect the fax modem to the landline phone line

Use the phone cord to connect the fax modem to the landline phone line.

It helps if you have a regular landline phone to make sure the phone line is working first. To test the line connect a telephone, pick up the receiver and listen for a dial tone.

The phone line will have to be a regular traditional landline. VoIP or internet enabled phone lines will not work with fax.

Setup Step 3 – Configure Windows Fax and Scan

Windows fax and scan is quick to configure.

  1. Start the program through the start menu
  2. Click on “Tools” then “Fax Accounts”
  3. Select “Add” to have your fax modem installed
  4. Choose between automatic or manual answering of the phone line
  5. Go to “Tools” and “Fax Settings” to configure additional options, including changing the automatic or manual reception, changing the number of rings before automatic pick up, configure TSID and CSID information, and automatically save or print a fax the moment it arrives.

How to send a fax in Windows Fax and Scan

  1. Open Windows Fax and Scan
  2. On the toolbar that appears in the program, select “New Fax” – if this is the first time that a fax is being sent, you’ll be directed to the new fax wizard. This will allow you to set all the required settings to send a fax.
  3. Create your fax, and then click send to send it to the receiving fax machine.

How to receive a fax (automatically)


  1. Open Windows Fax and Scan
  2. At the bottom of the left pane, choose “Fax”
  3. Select “Tools” and then select “Fax Settings”.
  4. Select the “General” tab, then ensure the “Allow device to receive fax calls” button is checked under “Send / Receive Options”
  5. Select “Automatically Answer after ___ Rings”, set the number of rings you want the phone to ring before the fax service answers, then select “Ok”

How to receive a fax (manually)

If you want to have the manual option to answer with the fax service when the phone rings, you need to first have the Windows Fax and Scan program running.

  1. Open Windows Fax and Scan
  2. Click the Fax option at the bottom left pane
  3. From the toolbar, select “Receive a Fax Now”. This will allow the computer to receive the fax when the phone rings.