Fix Windows Fax and Scan fatal error using these 4 methods

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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fatal error windows fax

Windows Fax and Scan is an integrated faxing and scanning application. If you have a computer that has a fax modem, you can send and receive faxes and you can also scan documents. If you don’t have a fax modem, you can email scanned documents and forward faxes as email attachments from your computer.

Windows Fax and Scan is included in Windows Vista Ultimate and as an optional component in Windows Vista Enterprise, as well as in all the versions of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Keep in mind that Windows Fax and Scan is not available on Vista Home or Vista Home Premium.

Fatal error when sending faxes on Windows 10

Sometimes Windows users encountered the “fatal error” while trying to use Windows Fax and Scan and they usually describe it like that: Windows Fax and Scan keeps showing “Fatal error” when trying to scan my documents.

For a fax transmission to succeed, there are some conditions: the fax line should not be busy, in order to transmit the fax there should be a dial tone. Moreover,  a fax device should answer the call and, of course,  a fatal error should not occur during the transmission of the fax.

What to do if Windows 10 Fax and Scan displays fatal errors

If you are also facing this problem and you are searching for a solution to fix this error, here are a few solutions that may help you fix your problem:

Method 1: Review the activity log

You can find further details and potential solutions. Here are the steps to follow in order to access the fax activity log:

  1. Open Windows Explorer > click the disk that contains the operating system
  2. Click the View tab
  3. Click Show Hidden Files and Foldersshow hidden files
  4. Close the dialog box
  5. In Windows Explorer, navigate to %systemdrive%ProgramDataMicrosoftWindows NTMSFaxActivityLog
  6. Check the file InboxLog.txt. Each row in InboxLog.txt is an incoming fax job
  7. In the row for a given failed incoming fax transmission, review the Status and Extended Status fields and you could find information about the failure.

Method 2: Update your drivers

Download and reinstall the latest device driver updates like modem and the chipset drivers. If you don’t know how to do that, you could find all the information on the manufacturer’s site. If you want to automatically install the drivers, you can find all the steps in this guide.

Method 3:  Re-enable Windows Fax and Scan from Windows Features

Some users said that disabling and then re-enabling Fax and Scan helped them fix fatal errors. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Click the Start button, Control Panel, and then Programs
  2. Turn Windows features on or offturn windows features on off
  3. To turn Windows Fax and Scan feature off, you need to:
    1. Expand Print and Document Services
    2. Uncheck Windows Fax and Scan
    3. Click OK and restart the computer
  4. To turn Windows Fax and Scan feature on:
    1. Select the check box next to Print and Document Services
    2. Check Windows Fax and Scan
    3. Hit OK and reboot your computer

Method 4: Verify that the fax server is correctly configured

There are two ways of sending a fax using the Windows Fax and Scan feature: you can use a fax device attached locally or use a fax server.

For using a fax server you need to use a computer running Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows Vista Business, or Windows Server 2008.

To confirm that the fax server is configured correctly and it can send faxes, you need to:

  1. Send a test fax.
  2. Be sure that the server is configured to send. Here are the exact steps to follow:
    1. Open Fax Service Manager >  hit Start
    2. Point to Administrative Tools > click Fax Service Manager
    3. In the left pane, right-click Fax > hit Properties
    4. On the General tab, confirm that the Disable transmission of outgoing faxes check box is cleared so that faxes can be sent.
  3. Confirm that the device is correctly configured:
    1. Open Fax Service Manager > click Start
    2. Go to Administrative Tools > Fax Service Manager.
    3. In the left panel, double-click Fax and then ouble-click Devices and Providers > click Devices.
    4. Confirm that there are devices listed under Devices.
    5. In the right pane, right-click the device and then do the following:
      1. Click Properties, and then confirm that the values for Description, Transmitting Subscriber Identification (TSID), and Called Subscriber Identification (CSID) are correct.
      2. Confirm that Send is enabled.
  4. Confirm that outgoing routing is configured correctly:
    1. Open Fax Service Manager > click Start
    2. Navigate to Administrative Tools > Fax Service Manager
    3. In the left pane, double-click Fax > go to Outgoing Routing
    4. In the left pane, click Groups, and then in the right pane, verify the device or devices listed.
    5. In the left pane, click Rules, and then in the right pane, verify that the country/region code and area code are correct, and that the rule is being applied to the correct device or routing group
  5. Confirm that the Fax service is running. You can manage the Fax service using Fax Service Manager or the Services snap-in. To confirm that the Fax service is running using Fax Service Manager you should follow the steps:
    1. Open Fax Service Manager > click Start
    2. Go to Administrative Tools
    3. Click Fax Service Manager
    4. In the right pane, right-click Fax, and then view the menu.
    5. Confirm that Start is grayed out and that Stop is active on the menu.

Remember that you cannot install or configure fax components unless you are a member of the Administrators group or you have been given the authority.

Hopefully, one of the four methods listed in this article helped you solve this annoying problem affecting Windows fax and scan.
Let us know in the comments section below if you managed to solve this fatal error and which of the solutions listed here worked in your case.


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