Fix Windows Fax and Scan fatal error using these 4 methods

by Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Windows & Software Expert
Madalina has been a Windows fan ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP computer. She is interested in all things technology, especially emerging technologies... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • If you are informed that Windows Fax and Scan are not finding your scanner, there may be an issue with your scanner's configuration.
  • This problem could have been caused by corrupted or outdated drivers, thus we will assist you in addressing this matter.
  • Sometimes a simple operation like disabling and re-enable Windows Fax and Scan will restore its functionality.
  • If you receive a fatal error notice while attempting to scan files, this article should be of use to you.
fatal error windows fax
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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 and click on the disk that contains the operating system.
  2. Click the View tab to
  3. Click “Show Hidden Files and Folders”show 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 the modem and the chipset drivers. If you don’t know how to do that, you can find all the information on the manufacturer’s site.

To automatically install the latest drivers on Windows 10, we recommend using a dedicated third-party tool that scans your device and finds the right drivers within seconds. With a simple click, you can set it to install the drivers and bring your OS to optimal condition.

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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 scanning.
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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