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How to fax with Windows XP using a prepaid calling card
(and drive yourself crazy in the process)

2016 Now OLD- who uses XP anymore?

Windows 7, 8 & 10 all have Windows fax & scan. Some of this still applies.

Why? How? We will answer these questions.

First - Why? In my case, I do not have long distance on my home phone. Why pay for a service that I have on my cell?

For years we used only cell phones. We needed to be able to send and receive faxes from home so we needed a phone line.

Next we needed a way to send and receive faxes. We could buy a fax machine, but there are 2 negatives. Original cost and wasted paper.

Original cost is not really a factor except why should I buy a fax machine to do what XP does? Note: only some versions of Vista do faxing. All versions of XP have it built in. To see a discussion of this and instructions to set up XP click here)

Wasted paper is a real expense. We receive so many junk faxes and a machine that prints them all really wastes paper. Using the computer allows a choice to not print them unless you decide to. In the fax console, choose Tools, Configure fax. One setting allows printing or not. While setting this up, just add you fax number in the TSID and CSID boxes. This is a government requirement. It is supposedly illegal to send an unidentified fax. The rest of the pages in the wizard are pretty straightforward. There are a number of choices but too many to cover here and everyone is different.

Second - How? Since we do not have long distance service, we bought an MCI prepay card from Costco. We tried to use it on the computer and it did not work so I decided to find out why.

I had used the Windows fax feature years ago using a calling card and it worked easily. You just configure the fax wizard to dial the calling card number, wait for a dial tone and then dial the number. No big deal right? Boy was I in for a surprise.

Now when you dial the access number, you are asked to punch 1 for English. (Guess what 2 gets you). Well OK, you can set the dialing rules to do this.

Then after punching 1, you are asked to enter the pin number. The wizard can do this too. Then you wait for the operator to check your status. Wizard can do also.

Then she asks another question requiring punching a number. Then you get to dial the actual number. Also in between each command you have to tell the wizard to "Wait for the stupid voice to stop". She then interrupts the call to tell you how many minutes you have available.

I spent 2 hours trying to send one fax and get the dialing rules to work. So I decided to post this so others may at least understand the process.

Here is the way mine worked. You may have to adjust yours for the specific card you use putting in your own pin # & dialing number, etc.

Start the fax Wizard by going to Start, Accessories, Communications, Fax and click Send a Fax

Click Next

Click Dialing rules.

You can fill in the rest when you actually send a fax

Click Edit

Make sure this is filled out with area code and select any other items that apply to your situation. (You can even set this to work from a business or hotel) Then select Calling Card tab

In the calling card tab you should look to see if your card is listed. The prepaid MCI was not so I had to select New.

Here you need to fill out your personal numbers. The MCI card did not have an account number so it was left blank. Enter the PIN #. Click Long Distance

This where it got tricky. First add the number to call on the card for access. Then click the Access Number button and you will see it add the first line.

Then click Wait for Prompt, select Wait for a voice message to complete. Then OK and and it will add the second line.

To determine the next lines, you must use your phone, dial the number and listen to the prompts. On my MCI card, the first question needing answering was English press 1, Spanish press 2. So my next line had to say Dial 1 since I No Habla Espanol. You get this with the Specify Digits button. Type in your number (1 or 2) and OK.

Select Wait for a voice message after each time the operator asks for a response. Then add a line to provide the answer. In my case the next line required entering the PIN #. So I selected the PIN button.

Then I was asked another question: 1 for US or 2 for international. I again used the Specify Digits button and the Wait command.

The final line is Destination Number which then displays Dial the area code and number. If all looks correct, click OK. Then click OK on each preceding screen and you are ready to try it.

To test it, open Word, type something to send to some fax number. Preferably a friend. After you have the document typed, click File/Print (Do not click the print icon in the toolbar. It will just print to the default printer)

In the Print dialog box, select the drop list and change the printer to Fax. That will start the fax wizard.

After you fill out the necessary info on each page and get to the send page, be ready to listen in on the call on an extension phone.

Go ahead and click Send and then listen in on the call to see how it works and if there are questions you did not answer.












































































If this is too much for you, just go buy a fax machine.

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